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Oil & Gas Training
and Competency Development
Competency Management system SLB NEXT

Fundamentals of Groundwater Contamination

This course will provide participants with a basic knowledge of groundwater flow in the subsurface, as well as basic concepts of water quality and groundwater contamination. Participants will learn about groundwater occurrence and importance; aquifer types and groundwater flow dynamics from recharge to discharge; quantifying groundwater flow and estimating groundwater reserves; determining aquifer parameters, water well design principles and basics of well hydraulics; scope and use of groundwater models for practical purposes; natural groundwater quality and principles of contaminant transport and common remediation techniques.

Day 1

Definition of Terms and Principles of Groundwater Flow in the subsurface:

  • Water Cycle; importance of groundwater; water scarcity
  • Water occurrence in the subsurface: saturated and unsaturated (vadose) zones: definitions and water movement
    • circulation media: porous, fractured, karstic environments and significance to water flow
    • aquifers, aquitards, aquicludes and aquifuges
    • unconfined, confined, leaky-confined aquifers; perched groundwater
  • Definition of aquifer hydraulic parameters: permeability, hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity, storage terms, porosities, hydraulic gradients
  • Groundwater flow regime:
    • regional to local flow systems, driving forces; active versus ‘fossil’ groundwater
    • Surface Water – Groundwater Interaction: rivers, springs, wetlands, seepage paces
    • Water Budgets and recharge estimate
  • Water well design concepts and capture zone concepts (drawdown, radius of influence, steady state versus transient behavior).
  • Summary and discussion
Day 2

Quantifying groundwater flows

  • Measuring groundwater elevations: definition of water heads, pressure head and elevation heads, basic design of monitoring wells/piezometers
  • Flow Direction: Potentiometric maps and flow nets; effects of anisotropy and heterogeneities on flow patterns
  • Effects of pumping on flow field and typical hydrological impacts: reduction of river base flows, flows to wetlands, well interference
  • Groundwater behavior in near shore environments: tidal oscillations, saltwater intrusion, density driven flow
  • Groundwater flow quantification: Darcy’s Law, 3-D groundwater flow equation, typical simplifications used in groundwater hydrology and pumping test analysis
  • Example calculations of groundwater flows and seepage velocity
  • Summary and discussion
Day 3

Water Quality and Monitoring

  • Natural groundwater quality:
    • major ions and graphical representation methods (Stiff, Piper, Schoeller and other hydrochemistry graphs)
  • Typical natural contaminants:
    • Arsenic, Iron/manganese, dissolved radioactive elements, salinity, saltwater intrusion
  • - Industrial contamination:
    • sources, typical compounds, contamination plumes and typical remediation techniques, importance of prevention versus remediation
    • Fate and transport of contaminants in groundwater
    • Common remediation techniques
  • Groundwater Monitoring:
    • groundwater monitoring network objectives and design principles for flow and contamination assessment problems
    • monitoring wells design and materials; single versus multi-level wells: why and when
    • pressure transducers and remote transmission systems, data correction for barometric changes
  • Summary and discussion
Day 4

Aquifer Tests and Simulating Groundwater Flow using Models

  • Determining Aquifer Parameters: Pumping Tests and Slug Tests
    • Aquifer and pumping tests procedure and common interpretation techniques (Theis, Hantush, Neumann, etc). Basic principles of well hydraulics. Head losses and well interference.
    • Slug Tests: quickly determining Hydraulic Conductivities
    • Exercise: example of aquifer test interpretation using AquiferTest.
    • Discussion: groundwater resource evaluation and sustainable yield
  • Practical exercise: using models to understand and illustrate groundwater flow:
  • Introduction: types of models, input parameters, use, advantages and disadvantages
  • laboratory exercise to allow students to understand the impacts of pumping a well on the groundwater flow field, and using models to simulate common remediation systems.
  • Summary and discussion
Learning activity mix

Environmental engineers, geologists, Managers, HSE Staff, Operation and Maintenance engineers and technicians.

Groundwater Flow

  • Water Cycle
  • Water occurrence in the subsurface
  • Aquifer hydraulic parameters
  • Groundwater flow regime:
  • Water well design

G&G, Engineering or Sciences degree

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