Groundwater Wells—Tips on Improving Performance

Early Detection Can Reduce Operational and Maintenance Costs

Once a groundwater well has been drilled, generally little to no maintenance work is performed. Yes, the well pump may be pulled at regular intervals for inspection, maintenance, or replacement, but those inspections usually do not include the well itself. There are many small things an owner can do to better understand how their wells work, such as monitoring the well’s performance to determine if anything needs to be done to maximize efficiency. By recording the static water level, pumping water level, and pumping rate monthly or bi-weekly, changes in these rates can be compared. Whenever a change of greater than 10-15% is seen in any of these readings, it may be an indicator that maintenance work should be performed.

So what’s the benefit of early detection? If an owner is able to detect declining pumping capacity early, it is possible the well can be treated in-situ, saving thousands of dollars. Customized treatment plans that address the water quality and the characteristics that have been logged (as explained above) can be developed for any well. Typically, early detection also reduces the amount of treatment required and increases the overall success rate of the treatment. Without early detection, the aquifer can become fouled at depths that aren’t reachable by traditional treatment methods. The cost becomes significantly higher and the success rate of the treatment typically declines. As the success rate of the treatments declines, treatments are required more often and eventually the well becomes unusable.

Declining static water levels are often an indicator of a distressed aquifer. By understanding the rate of decline, the owner may be able to adjust operations to reduce the aquifer impact and extend the life of the well. In this situation, an operational assessment should be completed to evaluate the existing operational procedures, water demands, available storage, and pumping equipment efficiencies in order to establish a plan that will provide the necessary water, reduce aquifer impact, and increase operational efficiencies.

Taking the time to record a few very basic well parameters and watching for changes in the data can help well owners reduce operational and maintenance costs and extend the life of their wells. For more information or ideas to improve efficiencies with your utility, contact Sarah Nunn, PE at 920.393.4169.

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