Monitoring wells are typically installed as part of environmental assessments or remediation projects. They are also used to monitor groundwater resources for drinking water supplies, irrigation, or industrial use.
The installation of monitoring wells involves drilling a borehole into the ground, which is typically lined with PVC or stainless-steel casing to prevent contamination. The well is then completed with a screen and gravel pack to allow water to enter the well while keeping out sediment.
Once the monitoring well is installed a series of measurements are taken to monitor the water level, quality, and movement. Land surveyors play a critical role in this process by providing accurate and precise measurements of the well location, elevations, and depth. This information is used to establish a baseline for water levels and to monitor changes over time.
Types of Monitoring Wells
There are several types of monitoring wells, each designed for a specific purpose:
- Piezometers: Piezometers are used to measure water levels in the ground. They consist of a small diameter pipe with a screened intake near the bottom, which allows water to flow into the pipe while filtering out sediment and debris.
- Multi-Level Wells: Multi-level wells are designed to measure water levels and water quality at multiple depths in the ground. They are equipped with several screens at different depths and can collect samples from each level.
- Extraction Wells: Extraction wells are used to pump groundwater from the ground for water supply or remediation purposes. They are typically larger than piezometers and multi-level wells and may have additional components such as pumps and treatment systems.
When is a Monitoring Well Survey Needed?
A monitoring well survey is typically needed when there is a concern about the quality or quantity of ground water in a particular area, or when there is a need to comply with regulatory requirements related to ground water management, such as:
- Environmental Site Assessment: Monitoring well surveys are commonly conducted as part of environmental site assessments to evaluate the presence and extent of groundwater contamination. They help determine the quality of groundwater and identify any potential risks to human health and the environment.
- Groundwater Resource Management: Monitoring well surveys are essential for managing and monitoring groundwater resources. They provide valuable data on groundwater levels, flow rates, and quality, which help in making informed decisions regarding water allocation, well field management, and sustainable groundwater use.
- Construction and Development Projects: Prior to the construction of buildings, infrastructure projects, or industrial facilities, monitoring well surveys may be necessary to assess the existing groundwater and establish baseline data for future comparisons.
- Remediation and Clean-Up Efforts: When contamination is discovered in soil or groundwater, monitoring well surveys are often conducted to track the effectiveness of remediation efforts. Regular monitoring of groundwater quality and levels helps determine if the clean-up measures are successful or if further actions are required.
- Regulatory Compliance: Regulatory agencies may require monitoring well surveys as part of compliance with environmental regulations. Industries or facilities that have the potential to impact groundwater quality, such as landfills, chemical storage sites, or industrial facilities, may be required to install monitoring wells and regularly monitor the ground water conditions.
- Water Supply Studies: Monitoring well surveys are conducted in water supply studies to assess the availability and sustainability of groundwater resources. They provide valuable data on aquifer characteristics, recharge rates, and groundwater levels, aiding in the planning and management of water supply systems.
Benefits of a Monitoring Well Survey:
- Accurate Location of Monitoring Wells: A land surveyor can accurately locate monitoring wells, which is essential for monitoring groundwater levels and water quality. Surveying can ensure that the well is placed in the right location and at the right depth.
- Compliance with Regulations: In many jurisdictions, monitoring wells are subject to regulations, and a land surveyor can help ensure that the well is installed and maintained in compliance with those regulations. This can prevent costly fines and other legal problems.
- Identification of Potential Hazards: A land surveyor can identify potential hazards that may affect the monitoring well, such as nearby infrastructure, underground utilities, or geological features. This information can be used to avoid potential problems and ensure the safety of the well and its surroundings.
- Quality Control: A land surveyor can provide quality control during the installation and construction of the monitoring well. This can ensure that the well is built to the required specifications and that the surrounding area is not affected by the installation.
- Site Planning: A land surveyor can provide site planning services for the monitoring well, considering factors such as soil types, topography, and groundwater flow. This can help ensure that the well is in an optimal location for monitoring purposes.
- Documentation: A land surveyor can provide detailed documentation of the monitoring well installation and location, which can be useful for future reference and in the event of legal disputes.
- Monitoring Well Maintenance: A land surveyor can provide ongoing maintenance services for the monitoring well, ensuring that it remains in good condition and continues to function effectively.
- Groundwater Modeling: A land surveyor can use the data collected for the monitoring well to create groundwater models, which can be used to predict groundwater flow and other hydrological processes. This information can be invaluable for environmental planning and management.
- Expertise in Geodetic Science: Land surveyors are trained in geodetic science, which includes the measurement and analysis of the earth’s shape and gravitational field. This expertise can be essential for accurately locating monitoring wells and interpreting monitoring data.
- Cost Savings: Hiring a land surveyor for monitoring well survey services can result in cost savings in the long run. By ensuring that the monitoring well is located and constructed correctly from the outset, the risk of costly repairs, maintenance, and legal problems can be minimized.
There are several methods used in monitoring well surveys, including:
- Direct Push: Direct push drilling is a technique that involves pushing a hallow rod into the ground and injecting water or air to loosen the soil. This creates a small hole that can be used to install a monitoring well or collect soil samples.
- Auger Drilling: Auger drilling is a method that used a rotating helical screw to remove soil from the ground. This technique is typically used for shallow monitoring wells in soil or sand.
- Rotary Drilling: Rotary drilling is a method that uses a drill bit to penetrate rock formations. This technique is typically used for deeper monitoring wells in bedrock formations.
- Sonic Drilling: Sonic drilling is a method that uses high-frequency vibrations to loosen soil and rock formations. This technique is often used in hard rock formations where traditional drilling methods are less effective.
MFS Engineers & Surveyors Monitoring Well Surveys
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Contact us today to learn more about our well monitoring survey services.