From typhoid analysis to water supply planning, a look at the first 120 years of the ISWS Center for Groundwater Science

George S. Roadcap

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Illinois State Water Survey was created in 1895 to conduct water quality studies of the state's water supplies. Most of the samples collected in the early years were from private wells in areas where typhoid and diphtheria cases had been prevalent. In the 1910s the Survey expanded to inspecting and assisting municipalities with the first comprehensive summary of water quality and well records published in a 711-page report by Habermeyer in 1925. Analysis of well tests began prior to 1916 which morphed into more complex aquifer testing over the next 100 years as new data collection and analysis techniques were developed. Regional water supply studies and potentiometric surface mapping began in the late 1940s for areas around Chicago, Peoria, Champaign, and Rockford. The 1950s the Survey further developed methods for a variety of groundwater topic, such as artificial recharge, specific capacity analyses, and gravel pack specifications. The era of groundwater modeling began in the 1960s with construction of electric analog models. This was followed by use of computers via punch cards with the development of computer codes such as PLASM by Prickett and Lonnquist. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Survey conducted a numerous groundwater contamination studies including the establishment of widely-adapted methods of sampling wells. Significant advancements in data collection, water quality assessments and flow modeling continued through the 1990s and the 2000s. The Survey has had a long history of data collection and database development that includes information on private wells, public water systems, water use, water quality, groundwater levels, and aquifer properties. A recent focus of the Center for Groundwater Science is on water supply planning and the availability of water out to 2060.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAbstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 2016


  • ISWS

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