This paper describes preliminary interpretation of in-situ pressure and flow measurements of the Salado Formation at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The WIPP facility is located 660 m underground in the Salado, a bedded salt deposit. Shut-in pressure tests were conducted prior to, and subsequent to, the mining of a circular drift in order to evaluate excavation effects on pore pressure, permeability, and host rock heterogeneity. Borehole deformation was measured during these tests and used to correct for changes in the test region volume due to salt creep effects.
Preliminary pre-excavation results indicate that the flow properties of this layered host rock are heterogeneous. Resulting pore pressures range from 1 to 14 MPa and permeabilities range from below measurable to about 1 nanodarcy. Normalized borehole diameter change rates were between -4 and 63 microstrains/day.
Shut-in pressures and borehole diameters in all test boreholes were affected by the excavation of Room Q coincident with the advances of the boring machine. Preliminary results from post-excavation test results show decreased pore pressures compared to pre-excavation values.