Treat Your Groundwater Monitoring Network as an Asset

December 9, 2019

According to the U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1344, the United States uses 79.6 billion gallons per day of fresh groundwater for public supply, private supply, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and other purposes.  This blog is intended for businesses that must meet groundwater monitoring regulatory compliance according to EPA and state mandates, which are becoming increasingly stringent.

Have you had a regulatory compliance issue due to the condition of your groundwater monitoring wells or adequacy of your monitoring network? Are you confident compliance issues won’t arise in the future? Groundwater monitoring networks—including wells and dedicated sampling equipment—are often:

  • Ignored until a problem arises
  • A source of unplanned, unbudgeted expenses
  • Viewed as a necessary evil
  • A money sink that seems to grow every year

What if you managed your groundwater monitoring network like your other equipment assets? By taking a systematic asset management approach to maintaining your groundwater monitoring network you can:

  • Limit or avoid unplanned expenses
  • Avoid regulatory compliance issues
  • Maintain asset value
  • Reduce monitoring costs

Not concerned? Consider the likely results of the “if it ain’t really broke, don’t fix it” approach:

Regulatory Non-Compliance: Failure to comply with state and federal monitoring well regulations may result in a notice of non-compliance, fines, or legal action.

Repair and Maintenance Costs: Ignoring minor repairs and maintenance can lead to significant well repair or replacement costs. Simple repairs like lock replacement or ground surface seal repair are quick and low cost. Don’t let these minor items put you at risk for notification of non-compliance due to neglect. Other repairs such as protective casing or near-surface well casing repair may cost more but are a fraction of the cost of replacing a well that becomes unstable due to neglect.

Well Replacement Costs: Abandoning and replacing a single well that can no longer be repaired can cost $3,000 to $10,000+ depending on the depth and construction of the well.
As with many assets, you save time and money in the long run by addressing problems before they arise. So what does monitoring well asset management look like? It doesn’t have to be complicated, costly, or time-consuming. We recommend starting with a simple inventory following these basic steps:

1. Identify needed repairs and replacements of existing wells
2. Develop a plan to repair, replace, or abandon wells as needed
3. Identify deficiencies in the coverage of your well networks

Schedule inventory Steps 1-3 yearly. Download SCS Engineers’ useful well inspection checklist to record monitoring well conditions, identify well maintenance needs and identify the regulatory status of each well. Your trained staff or your environmental consultant can perform the yearly well inventory.

Contact SCS at service@scsengineers.com for a groundwater expert near you.

 


 

Tom Karwoski

About the Authors: Tom Karwoski, PG, has 30 years of experience as a hydrogeologist and project manager. He has designed and managed investigations and remediations at existing and proposed landfills; and industrial, Superfund, military, and petroleum sites. Mr. Karwoski was a hydrogeologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources prior to becoming an environmental consultant.

 

Meghan Blodgett

Meghan Blodgett, PG is a project professional with over eight years of experience in the environmental consulting field, including soil, groundwater, and soil vapor investigation and remediation; brownfield redevelopment; and solid waste landfill development. She is experienced in planning and performing soil and groundwater contamination investigations, monitoring well design and installation, hydraulic aquifer testing, and soil and groundwater sampling.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:05 am
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