Kahlin Wacker1, Gaylon S. Campbell1 and Leonardo Daniel Rivera2, (1)Decagon Devices, Inc., Pullman, WA (2)METER, Pullman, WA
Traditional methods for determining field saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs) based on infiltration measurements require numerous factors to correct for three-dimensional flow. Analysis for determining Kfs employs numerically determined shape factors for ring radius, depth of ring insertion, ponding depth, and soil hydraulic properties. The correction factor for soil hydraulic properties are typically pulled from a table based on soil capillary length. Significant error can occur in the calculation of Kfs when the correction factor is large and infiltration is low. Using a dual-head infiltration measurement and methods proposed by Reynolds and Elrick (1990) for analysis of steady flow from a ponded infiltration in a single ring, we can reduce the error by eliminating the need to use soil capillary length as a correction factor in analysis. With any infiltration study, this method will require constant monitoring and user intervention to change the water levels and can take hours to complete a single measurement. There is also a lag time between changing the different water levels, especially in low conductivity soils. An automated infiltrometer capable of producing variable hydraulic head conditions without actually varying the water depth has been developed in our lab. The infiltrometer has been used successfully to determine Kfs under field conditions and shows great promise to be an easier to use accurate tool for measuring Kfs. Reducing the amount of monitoring needed would allow a person to run multiple infiltrometers at one time getting a better quantification of spatial variability.