Polishing Your Groundwater Modeling Skills

November 14-16 2014


This course is designed to provide significant detail on practical ground-water flow modeling concepts and techniques. It will explore development of conceptual models for complex sites or regions, how to convert these conceptual models to appropriate ground-water flow models, and how to apply supplemental MODFLOW modules to effectively solve such problems. This course takes the user beyond topics covered in introductory modeling courses and beyond courses that teach the mechanics of applying various pre- and post-processing software. It revolves around a series of realistic problem sets that highlight practical aspects of ground-water flow modeling. These exercises serve as a basis for comparing alternative approaches to solving various types of problems.

This course has been taught previously on twelve occasions. Reviews for the course have been excellent, with attendees commenting most frequently on the experience of the instructors, which enables them to cite actual applications and the pros and cons of particular modeling techniques.

Registration begins at 7:30 AM on November 14 and the class begins at 8:00 AM. Course sessions are from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

Participants should bring their own laptop computer with the Windows XP or later operating system.



This three-day short course will present approaches and modeling tools for solving commonly encountered advanced ground-water flow problems. Topics will include:

  • Determining an appropriate model grid design
  • Converting field data to model input
  • Selecting the number of model layers
  • Utilizing CAD/GIS technology in developing models
  • Deciding when to use transient models
  • Alternatives for boundary conditions
  • Use of third type boundaries (river, drain, or ghb)
  • Supplemental third type boundaries (stream flow routing, lake stage)
  • Representing aquifer pinch-outs
  • Calibration techniques
  • Methods of displaying calibration results
  • Dealing with uncertainty
  • Approaches for simulating dewatering systems
  • Alternatives for simulating barrier walls
  • Calculating and utilizing a detailed water budget analysis
  • Determining capture zones
  • Common pitfalls in applying and displaying results of particle tracking simulations
  • Designing optimal extraction strategies

The course schedule follows that of a typical ground-water modeling study, starting with conceptual model development and grid design, proceeding to calibration, and culminating in prediction and sensitivity analysis.

Problem sets that require conceptual model development and "hands-on" computer work are an integral part of the course. Small groups are formed for solution of the problems. After each exercise, one group presents its approach and solution, and the instructors and other groups offer comments. This affords a unique opportunity for all participants to consider multiple approaches to solve each problem.

The course setting allows participants to explore approaches to their own specific modeling projects. This format allows participants to obtain feedback from the instructors and the rest of the class.

To aid in setting up some of the problems, a graphics-based preprocessor (GW Vistas) is utilized. Alternatives for graphics-based preprocessing and post-processing are also discussed.

A draft copy of "A manual of instructional problems for the U.S.G.S. MODFLOW model, volume 2" is supplied to participants. The manual contains 15 documented problems of an advanced nature, some of which are discussed during the class. A comprehensive set of notes containing copies of lecture materials and problem sets is also supplied.



This course is intended for practicing geohydrologists, engineers, and ground-water professionals who wish to build upon existing modeling capabilities. Prospective attendees may:

  • have had prior training in groundwater modeling through college or shortcourses but wish to learn more about practical applications,
  • be getting re-involved in groundwater modeling and need a refresher and introduction to the latest modeling techniques,
  • wish to know how the multitude of new packages and recent updates to MODFLOW can be used effectively,
  • be filling the role of the sole modeler in an office or company, but desire some advice and guidance to ensure that the most effective procedures are being used.
  • be getting involved in progressively more complicated modeling problems and desire some guidance from experienced modelers.

This course provides insight into nuances and multiple approaches to solving realistic field problems using the popular MODFLOW model and accompanying tools, such as MODPATH, ZONEBUDGET, and others. It is assumed that the participant understands the principles of ground-water modeling and the basic structure of MODFLOW data sets.



''Covered broad range of topics in a logical sequence and at the appropriate level of detail.'' Marcus Trotta, PES Environmental, Inc.

''Experience of instructors and their practical approaches grounded in theory were the most significant strengths of the program.'' William Fryer, GeoTrans, Inc.

''The opportunity to ask questions of and interact with the instructors, who are highly knowledgably in the subject area was great.'' William Greer, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

''The Instructors are very knowledgeable and clear and the variety of topics was superb"  


The instructors for this course have taught both introductory and advanced courses in the application of MODFLOW for many years.

Peter F. Andersen is Vice President and Principal Engineer of Tetra Tech GEO in charge of the Atlanta, Georgia, office. He has conducted numerous ground-water investigations including simulation of saltwater intrusion in Florida, contaminant transport at the Lipari Landfill, New Jersey, and analysis of local and regional flow systems at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina. He developed a manual for the U.S. EPA of 20 instructional problems for the MODFLOW model and has recently developed a follow-up manual. Mr. Andersen has an M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University.

Robert M. Greenwald is a Principal Hydrogeologist at Tetra Tech GEO in charge of the Freehold, New Jersey, office. He has coded, tested, and documented an optimization module for MODFLOW (MODMAN) for ground-water management applications and has developed interface software for models based on commercial GIS and CAD software. He has applied ground-water models at numerous RCRA and CERCLA sites. Mr. Greenwald has an M.S. in Applied Hydrogeology from Stanford University.



The course will be held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.

All Visitor parking areas will have a pay and display parking meter. When arriving on campus for the first time, look for a parking meter, find a space in that location, pay the meter and display the receipt on your dash. You will find brochures at each of our parking meters that can also help guide you around the campus.



The fee for the short course is $1195 by 4PM Mountain Daylight Time, November 1, 2014 ($1395 after November 1).  You will be invoiced for the tuition balance. The fee covers instruction, course notes, refreshments, and continuing education units. Lodging and meals are not covered. Payment in full must be received prior to the beginning of the course. The registration fee may be paid by check, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover or purchase order (US Only). A maximum of 20 applicants will be able to attend the course due to space limitations.

If cancellation is made before November 1, 2014, tuition will be refunded except for a $100 deposit. Cancellations made after that date will forfeit a $150 processing fee in addition to the $100 deposit. In case of cancellation, the right to course material is forfeited. Substitutions are permitted at any time prior to the start of the course. Please be advised that if the program is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, Colorado School of Mines will return all course fees, but will not be liable for any other expenses incurred by the prospective attendees.

To register click here.



The Colorado School of Mines is located in Golden, which is 20 minutes west of Denver, 1 hour west of the Denver International Airport and can be reached by taxi, airport shuttle or rental car. It is strongly recommended that for events held on the CSM campus, attendees select accommodations within .5 miles of the campus if a rental car or personal transportation will not be available, as taxi service and public transportation from other areas may involve significant delays and costs. Lodging is available in Golden, within walking distance of the campus.

Denver Shuttle Service from Denver Airport

To get to SuperShuttle when you land, take the train from the Concourse to the Terminal. Pick up your luggage and proceed to the SuperShuttle counter located on Level 5/Baggage Claim, adjacent to the water feature in the center of the terminal. Counter staff will issue tickets and give directions to the van loading areas. For information, call 1-800-BLUEVAN. Their ticket counters are closed between 12am and 6am. If you arrive between these hours, please use the courtesy phone located at the ticket counter to notify dispatch of your arrival. Please contact a shuttle provider directly for more information on fees and destinations served. Shuttles pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 3, outside doors 505-507 (east side) and 510-512 (west side).

Super Shuttle International Denver

Phone: (800) 525-3177

Web site: www.supershuttle.com

Rental Cars

All Rental car companies at DIA are located on airport property but are away from the main terminal. Each rental company provides a courtesy shuttle to and from Jeppesen Terminal from their locations. All courtesy shuttles pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 4, outside doors 505-513 (east side) and 504-512 (west side). If you are arriving in Denver, please follow the overhead signage for the appropriate pick-up location, or check-in at your company's counter in the center of the Terminal.
For more information, please visit at http://www.flydenver.com/rentalcars


Taxis are readily available and service within the eight counties that make up the Denver metro area. Some companies may also provide service to other destinations within the state of Colorado. Check with your cab company of choice (or directly with your driver at the airport) for more information on fares and destinations served. Fares to Golden area are based on the taxi’s meter and it costs about $70-85 plus the $3.75 airport access fee. Taxis pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 1, outside doors 507-511 (east side) and 506-510 (west side).



    Proceeding every short course, each attendee has the opportunity to submit a Short Course Evalution.  Here are a few of the responses that the IGWMC has received from previous Polishing Your Groundwater Modeling Skills courses:

  • “The short course was well organized and had great instructors—very technical but practical.”

  • “Good mix of format such as lecture, exercises, group presentation and discussion.”

  • “The instructors, being enthusiastic, experienced, and knowledgeable, made a friendly environment for asking questions and exploring them.”

  • “This course completely met my expectations:  it gave me a practical background for understanding how to set up good models and for communicating with other modelers.  I feel better prepared to implement the theory from my degree into reality!”

  • “I enjoyed emphasis on conceptual modeling skills (linking hydrology to modeling).”

  • “The instructors did a great job of presenting the material.  Working in small groups was helpful.”

  • “This is a great course for refreshing skills in groundwater modeling.”

  • “The balance of lecture to interactive use of software and the group discussions on practical applications was beneficial.”