How to develop a groundwater monitoring plan?
A groundwater monitoring plan sets out details of location and frequency in which groundwater should be monitored around a specific location of concern. For example in the instance of a landfill site the groundwater monitoring plan would map out the best locations, depth and specific details surrounding the depth and procedures needed for drilling the boreholes, maintaining the groundwater monitoring sites and the action plan if contamination is found within the surrounding groundwater.
Mapping out the area
The first process is to map out the area and understand how and where the groundwater flows. This will help to identify exactly what bodies of water need to be tested and if there are any major streams or large bodies of water that need to be protected. Aquifers should be mapped out and the direction of the water flow should be observed. The more in depth knowledge gained about the area during this process will help to effectively plan the best sites for monitoring groundwater quality.
Planning the borehole sites
Once the area has been detailed out then the sites of the boreholes should be planned. They need to be able to capture each aquifer or body of water that could be impacted by the industrial process in question, they may need to be spread out over several acres of land or contained in a single small location. There needs to be enough boreholes to capture data on small amounts of contamination that could be transferred into the local waterways.
Details of borehole construction
The groundwater monitoring plan needs to detail out exactly how each of the bore holes will be made. This should include the materials needed for construction, the depth of the boreholes and the design of the bore hole. This information should include details of how the borehole will be used to effectively monitor the groundwater below and any concerns that need to be taken into account.
Groundwater monitoring log
As part of the groundwater monitoring process a log should be taken which details out every data point that should be recorded as part of the monitoring process. This information should be written down in the groundwater monitoring plan so all parties are aware of the process. Details of exactly what measurements and information should be recorded is essential. This could include date, time, weather conditions, actions required, samples taken and more detailed information about the exact results of the sampling process. What is measured during the sampling process will depend on the equipment used to gather the data. At QED we have a number of groundwater monitoring and sampling devices which are able to determine the quality and suitability of the water.
Any data points of particular interest should be detailed out in the groundwater monitoring plan with information on the accepted levels. Information should also be provided on trends to look out for that may be an indication of a concerning level of contaminant. Or trends that are to be expected and are not a concern, for example fluctuating levels of groundwater might be expected depending on the weather conditions.
Maintenance of monitoring wells
Within the groundwater monitoring plan it should be clear exactly how the monitoring wells are going to be maintained. The plan should detail out any equipment needed to maintain the wells, how regularly the wells need to be checked and what the process is for checking the well for any issues. Every time the well is checked details of the results and the process undertaken should be recorded and kept on file.
A groundwater monitoring plan should include a detailed action plan which specifies exactly what action should be taken if the results show an issue with the groundwater sample. In the first instance the sample should be repeated to check for any errors and to verify that the findings are correct. After the initial confirmation the plan needs to detail out exactly what needs to be done to identify the extent of the issue, contain the problem and provide a plan of action to remediate the area. Remediation is the process of cleaning the groundwater of any contamination and preventing it from spreading and infecting other water supplies.