First Advisor

Scott Wells

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil Engineering




Groundwater flow -- Oregon -- Multnomah County, Hydrogeology -- Oregon -- Multnomah County, Sanitary landfills -- Leaching -- Oregon -- Multnomah County



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, xvii, 130 p.)


Determination of the vertical and horizontal groundwater hydraulic gradient within a landfill is the first step in determining the potential of groundwater contamination from the landfill leachate. The length of a study and the frequency at which measurements are recorded can greatly affect the description of the local groundwater environment. A more comprehensive analysis can be preformed for longer periods of study and greater measurement frequency. The intent of this study was to install a continuous groundwater level monitoring system around the st. Johns Landfill for a minimum study length of one year. This would allow a more thorough study of the seasonal character and behavior of the groundwater system beneath the landfill than in previous studies. Particular interest was paid to groundwater level changes resulting from seasonal weather changes. Additional attention was paid to other forcing mechanisms which could be perturbing groundwater levels, and variations in the geochemical groundwater constituents. Included throughout this report is a literature review of various studies pertinent to the analysis of groundwater level variations. Seasonal variations in vertical groundwater hydraulic gradients were reviewed and time averaged vertical seepage rates were estimated. Areal plots of groundwater levels were used to view expected horizontal groundwater hydraulic gradients during seasonal maximum and minimum groundwater levels. A computer model was developed to study the effects temporal variations in slough water levels had on groundwater seepage rates through the perimeter dike separating the landfill from the sloughs. The modeling provided an estimate of the average horizontal leachate seepage rate into the sloughs. Comparison plots of monitoring well groundwater levels were used to analyze potential swash zones beneath the landfill and potential effects of lowered water levels in Bybee Lake. Spectral analysis techniques were imployed to determine the dominant frequencies observed in the groundwater levels, allowing determination of the type of forcing mechanism driving the fluctuations. Geochemical groundwater constituents were statistically analyzed to determine the significance of observed trends in the data: areal plots of chloride concentrations and electrical conductivity were made to view constituent distributions within the underlying aquifers. Estimated vertical and horizontal groundwater seepage rates into the local waters showed that horizontal leachate seepage is insignificant compared to vertical leachate seepage. Groundwater level comparison plots indicated no significant swashing beneath the landfill occurred. The statistical studies on groundwater forcing mechanisms indicated that either the slough or the Columbia River water levels could be perturbing groundwater levels. Trend analyses on the geochemical groundwater constituents indicated significant, positive trends in chloride concentrations, and undeterminable trends in electrical conductivity.


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