Straddle Packer Testing For Hydraulically Characterizing Rock Boreholes

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Patryk Quinn at Symposium 2013

While completing his Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo, Patryk designed packer testing equipment to be used for conducting hydraulic tests in fractured rock, for contaminant transport studies.

He was the first of the speakers to mention that the goal of his research is to “understand the existing contaminant distribution and predict future contaminant behavior”.

Using a straddle packer setup, he was able to perform four types of hydraulic tests in the same discrete borehole interval:

  • Constant Head Step Tests
  • Slug Tests
  • Pumping Tests
  • Recovery Tests

Patryk was able to perform all of these tests without having to remove the packers from the well. With the equipment, he was able to record the pressure above, within, and below the discrete interval to monitor the packer seals during the tests. For all of these tests and results, Patryk stressed the importance of determining which fractures are actually conveying water.

He repeated each test multiple times in each discrete-zone using varying pressures and flow rates. By repeating the tests, he found that he could obtain more accurate calculations of T values (transmissivity), fracture apertures, and average linear groundwater velocity.

Patryk noted that Darcy’s Law is not only for use in porous subsurface media calculations, but that it can also be used for determining average linear groundwater velocity for fractured media.

With each test, he assessed the non-ideal effects that occurred, such as non-Darcian flow and fracture dilation/contraction, and compared the results of each test to get the most representative T values.


Patryk QuinnABOUT THE SPEAKER – Patryk Quinn, PhD
University of Guelph


Pat Quinn has a Bachelors degree in biology/chemistry from Illinois State University and a Masters degree in civil and environmental engineering from California Polytechnic State University.

After working for a few years at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Hazardous Waste Program, he returned to school and completed a PhD in Contaminant Hydrogeology at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Beth Parker and John Cherry in September 2009, during which he designed packer testing equipment used to conduct hydraulic tests in fractured rock. He refined the equipment and test procedures for conducting hydraulic tests during a post-doc at the University of Guelph, and published papers on his PhD research.

He is currently a Professional Engineer working as a senior research scientist in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph in the G360 Research Group. His area of interest is focused on conducting hydraulic tests using straddle packers and FLUTe profiling in fractured rock environments, and analyzing data from both single hole and cross hole tests to obtain representative values of transmissivity, specific storage, and hydraulic aperture.