How can we determine where groundwater is seeping into rivers and bays? Knowing seep locations can help with selecting sampling locations, identifying contaminant sources, determining whether contamination is historic or on-going, and designing remediation.
Historically, methods for locating seeps have been limited. Due to cost, sampling can only be done at a few locations. This means we cannot have confidence that all seeps have been located. Infrared imaging (thermography) collects an image of temperature differences at the surface of the water, but not at the sediment where seeps occur. If seeps are cold, the water may not rise to the surface where it can be seen; if seeps are warm (or less saline than surface water), the water may spread broadly across the surface, making it impossible to pinpoint sources.