Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 337
Fall, 2007

Course Syllabus

Please note: The online version of this syllabus will be updated several times per week as we move through the semester.  Please check back frequently for updates.

Course Description:  Introduction to the theory and principles of ground water flow as well as streamflow.  Topics include the hydrologic equation, evapotranspiration, well drilling and testing, porosity and permeability, Darcy's law, confined and unconfined aquifers, flow nets, geology of ground water occurrence, water table maps, geophysical exploration methods, well logs, streamflow, and hydrographs (4 credit hours).  (From the NEIU catalog.)

Instructor Contact Information

Outline of Topics

Course Requirements

 Evaluation and Grading

Homework Assignments

What should you bring to this course?
Course Outcomes and Objectives (What will you take from this course?)

Working in Teams
Hints for Solving 
Quantitative Problems

Ground water modeling software (Graphic Groundwater, written by Dr. Steve Esling at Southern Illinois University)

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Sanders              Office: S-142
Phone:      773/442-6051                        Fax: 773/442-5710 (put my name on the cover sheet or I will not get the fax)                    
L-Sanders {at}

Office Hours:   Tuesday 10:00-10:45 a.m., 3:45-5:00 pm, 8:10-8:30 pm
                          Thursday 10:00-10:45 a.m., 3:45-5:00 pm, 7:20-8:00 pm, 
                          and by appointment.

Course Prerequisites:
Physical Geology (ESCI 211)
and either College Algebra (MATH 104) or Precalculus Mathematics (MATH 106)
    C.W. Fetter, Applied Hydrogeology, 4th edition, 2001
Course Website:
Earth Science Department Website:

Outline of Topics

v Reading assignments listed here are for the Fetter textbook.
v Click on the date to see a list of objectives for that class period.  These will be updated at least twice weekly, just before or after each class.

AUG 28  Course overview.  Rain barrels and stormwater management.  Read: Chapter 1. AUG 30  Solving quantitative problems.  Uncertainty.  Read: p. 24-47, 55-57.
SEP   4  Homework #1 is due.  Water levels in wells. SEP   6  Water budgets and the hydrologic equation.Water flow: lab explorations.  
SEP 11  Water flow: lab explorations, continued. SEP 13  Properties of porous materials: porosity, effective porosity, specific yield, specific retention. Read: p. 68-90.
SEP 18  Water levels in wells.  Measuring hydraulic properties of sediments: porosity, effective porosity, specific yield, and specific retention.    Read: p. 90-93. SEP 20  Homework #2 is due.   Water table, vadose zone, capillary fringe, phreatic zone.  Student presentations.
SEP 25  Hydraulic head, pressure head, elevation head.  Flow nets.  Hydraulic conductivity and permeability.  Read: p. 113-147.   
SEP 27  Hydrostratigraphy: aquifers and aquitards.  Hydraulic conductivity, permeability, permeameters.  Read: p. 90-95.
OCT   2  Homework #3 is due.  Aquifers and aquitards.  Hydraulic gradient. OCT 4  EXAM #1.  Get the review sheet here!
OCT   9  The NEIU Darcy tube.  Flow nets.  Piezometers.    OCT 11  Flow nets.  Identifying boundaries to flow systems.  Read: p. 100-108, Chapter 4 (esp. pages 132-138).
OCT 16  Making and interpreting water level maps.  Hydrostratigraphy.  Hydrogeologic cross sections and maps.   Read: Chapter 7 and p. 297-300. OCT 18  Finding well boring data for Illinois.  Plotting well locations.  
OCT 23  Work on your hydrogeologic cross section (Homework #4). OCT 25  Homework #4 is due.  Using geologic maps. 
OCT 30   Conceptual models; ground water modeling.  Read: p. 132-138 and Chapter 13.   Designing grids for numerical models.  Download Dr. Steven Esling's Graphic Groundwater here.  NOV 1 Stresses on aquifers: pumping, recharge, discharge. 
NOV   6  Ground water modeling: particle tracking, capture zones/recharge areas.   Evaluating a model.  Read: Chapter 13. 
NOV 8  Evaluating models; sensitivity analyses.
NOV 13  Regional ground water flow and ground water models.  Read: Chapter 7.
NOV 15 Modeling project paper is due.  EXAM #2
NOV 20  Ground Water Contamination and Remediation. NOV 22   THANKSGIVING--no class.
NOV 27  Ground Water Contamination and Remediation, contd.  Capstone project: introduction.  Find Plume Busters here.
NOV 29  Capstone project, continued.  Find Plume Busters here.
DEC  4   Capstone project, continued.  Consulting reports.
DEC 6 Capstone project, continued.  Reading research papers.
DEC 11  "Exam", 6:00-7:50 pm.  Capstone project papers due.  

Course Requirements

Attendance at all lecture and lab sessions is expected.  Please bring the following to class every day:
    § Your textbook and notebook.
    § A scientific calculator, pencil, eraser, ruler, and a colored pencil (optional)--any color is fine.
    § Optional: when we work with topographic maps, you might find it convenient to use a map scale, or engineer's scale.  These three-sided rulers make measuring distances on topo maps much easier.  If you buy one, be sure to get an engineer's scale (divided into tenths and then subdivided) and not an architect's scale (divided into halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, and so on).

E-Mail: Students must maintain a valid e-mail account (either through NEIU or an e-mail service) and must pick up messages at least every 2-3 days.

Exams and Quizzes: Two exams will be given; dates are shown on the outline of topics.  Quizzes given will be announced in advance.

Homework:  Some homework and labs will be completed and handed in by teams.  Assignments and due dates will be posted on the course outline and on the homework page.  Each paper handed in should list only the names of the students who participated in producing the final product.  Team members should first outline the solutions to problems on their own, and then should work together to complete the solutions.  Only one grade will be assigned per team.  When solving quantitative problems, be sure to use the hints linked to this syllabus.

Modeling Project: In the project, which we will work on in teams for several weeks, you will construct, test, and use a numerical ground water model that will allow you to delineate a wellhead protection area of a community water supply well in Illinois.  Several homework assignments will deal directly with this project.  The final product of this project will be a report describing the geologic and hydrogeologic setting, the ground water model, and the five-year recharge area for the well(s) in the study.

Capstone Project: In the capstone project, you will act as a consultant in an online simulation of a site with ground water contamination.  You will be given a budget and timeline and will design a remediation program to clean up the aquifer.  Your grade will be based on the degree of remediation you achieve and how well you stick to the budget and schedule.  The final product will include a cover letter and consulting report.
Assessments: Students must participate in all assessment activities ("green sheets").   I want to learn how well certain concepts are getting across and how the class is feeling about the material and the course as we go along.  At the end of each class period, you will assess this, usually anonymously.  On these green sheets, assessment questions will help me find out how well the day's outcomes were achieved.  This may be done in the form of an ungraded quiz-type question, a concept map, or survey-type questions.  This information will help me to determine the extent to which the course is meeting its goals.  To provide me with the most information so that I can make the course better, I ask that you give me your most thoughtful, honest feedback-- the more, the better.

Academic integrity:  The NEIU policy on academic integrity will be strictly enforced.  A site from the University of Indiana explains and gives examples of plagiarism and provides helpful tips on how to avoid it.

Flexibility: This outline will change as the semester evolves.  Please allow for flexibility in topics and assignments.  Check frequently for updates!

Evaluation and Grading

Evaluation: 2 exams, weighted equally: 30%
Homework and other assignments: 40%
Modeling project paper: 10%
Capstone project: 20%

No extra credit will be given.
Grading scale: 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, <60% =F

Missing Work

A score of zero points will be assigned for any missing work.
Homework assignments may be turned in late only if approved by the instructor before the original due date/time.  Late assignments must be submitted within one week of the original due date/time.
Missed exams may be made up only if approved by the instructor before the class takes the exam.   Missed exams must be made up within one week of the original date/time.
Missed quizzes cannot be made up.
Missed labs may be made up only if they do not involve a physical laboratory set-up, and only if approved by the instructor in advance of the original due date/time. 

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

© 2007 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated December 6, 2007.