Hydrogeochemical Computer Modeling of Proposed Artificial Recharge of the Upper Santa Fe Group Aquifer, Albuquerque, New Mexico


Recently, the City of Albuquerque began investigating the feasibility of artificial recharge of its underlying upper Santa Fe aquifer. This paper concerns recharge via injection wells. Proposed recharge fluids are (1) treated effluent from the Albuquerque wastewater treatment facility and (2) Rio Grande surface water. This study used the hydrogeochemical model PHREEQE to simulate subsurface injection. As a basis for comparison, simulations were also performed with data from the successful El Paso artificial recharge project. The results suggest that subsurface injection of Albuquerque treated effluent will be successful and that subsurface infiltration of Rio Grande surface waters will probably be successful. The simulations predict no significant adverse impact on water quality as a result of artificial recharge. However, other factors that may affect potability, such as trace-metal distributiory ion exchange, bacteriological content, and the presence of potential pollutants, are not considered by the model. Site-specific pilot testing and kinetics-based computer modeling are recommended to oredict the useful life of recharge facilities. Equilibrium-based models, as used in this study, can only predict whether recharge is likely to be successful. They cannot determine the potential life of a recharge facility.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Aquifer; Artificial Recharge; Computer Modelling; Groundwater Recharge; Hydrogeochemistry; Injection Well; Santa Fe Group; Simulation Modelling; Subsurface Injection; USA, New Mexico, Albuquerque; Groundwater-Artificial Recharge; Modelling-Computer

Geographic Coverage

New Mexico

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 1995 New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 1995