- routine groundwater monitoring;
- bore construction design and drilling supervision;
- pumping tests;
- baseline assessments;
- bore assessments;
- bore condition assessments;
- landholder bore census; and
- spring surveys.
Routine Groundwater Monitoring
Routine groundwater monitoring generally includes:
- monitoring of groundwater levels and (piezometric) pressures;
- installing and downloading automated pressure transducer dataloggers;
- purging and measurement of field water quality parameters such as pH and electrical conductivity (EC); and
- collection of representative water samples for laboratory analysis.
Collecting representative groundwater samples is in theory a relatively simple process; that is, stagnant water in the bore casing is removed and a sample of fresh groundwater collected for analysis. However, in practice we have found there are many things that can affect the process, including:
- inadequate and / or incorrect purging and not removing stagnant, turbid or stratified saline / fresh water in the bore;
- selecting the wrong analytical method and level of detection, or not testing for all required analytes;
- not preserving samples appropriately and not meeting holding times;
- poorly managed data;
- cross contaminating samples; and
- too many or too few sampling events of incorrect locations.
As consultants, we regularly review groundwater monitoring data and are acutely aware of the failings that occur during the process. We do not take this task lightly, and pride ourselves on our ability to deliver reliable groundwater data at a competitive cost.
Baseline condition assessments
- groundwater level;
- water quality and usage;
- bore construction, lithology and aquifers; and
- existing pumping infrastructure.
Conducting ‘baseline assessments’ is legislated in Queensland and it is a process we are intimately familiar with. We are well aware that reliable baseline data is critical for both landholders and resource companies, and therefore ensure the highest standards when conducting this work. We routinely conduct baseline assessments on behalf of our clients in the petroleum sector during both the exploration and production phases of projects.
We also conduct ‘bore census’ or ‘hydro census’ of agricultural properties that surround major projects. Whilst this process is currently not required by legislation, it is undertaken for many major projects including mining, quarrying and tunnels. The processes are essentially the same as the baseline assessment and require collection of information from each bore to characterise groundwater conditions prior to development. We provide a comprehensive census service for a given project area and assist our clients in ‘make good’ arrangements.
Queensland legislation also requires the petroleum industry conduct ‘bore assessments’ to determine if petroleum or coal seam gas extraction activities have impaired the capacity of neighbouring water bores.
Numerical modelling is used to determine which bores have the potential to be impaired by future activities. These bores are then comprehensively tested to determine bore yield and water quality. This can include removing bore pumps and conducting pumping tests. Similar to ‘baseline assessments’, we are keenly aware that this information is critical to protect both the landholder and petroleum or coal seam gas producer and must be of the highest quality.
Groundwater dependent ecosystems
Determining the presence of groundwater dependent ecosystems is a multidisciplinary challenge and we typically work with environmental scientists and ecologists to determine where groundwater dependent ecosystems may be present. We use a variety of tools for this task including satellite imagery, water table measurements and hydrochemistry to determine where ecosystems may depend on groundwater.