MOE presents: provincial water monitoring networks

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Source: Solinst Canada Ltd.

Dave Rudolph – 'Emerging Needs for Temporal and Spatial Data Precision'
Dave Rudolph, with the University of Waterloo, started the symposium off with a very thought provoking presentation on the value of data. Dave used case studies to illustrate how different factors impact the quantity and quality of water resources, and how a small change can affect these conditions quickly and drastically. Overall, his presentation reinforced the need for more precise and increased data in order to accurately predict the impacts on water resources and ensure sustainable management in the long term.
 
    
Murray Einarson – 'High Resolution Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring'
The symposium continued with a presentation by Murray Einarson, Principal Hydrogeologist with AMEC Geomatrix. The presentation was a great follow-up to the previous, as it presented methods to obtain the valuable data required, particularly in groundwater assessments. In his presentation Murray provided an overview of the types and scales of measurements that are important during subsurface assessments, new approaches and technologies for high resolution investigations, and methods to depict site conceptual models constructed using high resolution subsurface data.
 
    
Brennan McMahon - “Advances in Environmental Drilling Technologies”
Day One ended with a guest speaker from Boart Longyear. Brennan McMohan, who was called in from the field only two hours previous, provided a great presentation! Brennan focused on the use of sonic drilling technology for environmental applications, involving soil samples and groundwater monitoring. Brennan discussed the advantages gained through sonic drilling, talked about the costs involved and showed that this technology is quick and effective in a wide variety of applications, including site investigations and remediation efforts.

Ed Harvey – 'Of Salt and Sand – The story of Two of Nebraska's Most Unique Groundwater Dependant Ecosystem'
Day Two began with an interesting presentation by Ed Harvey with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Ed presented ongoing research from two of Nebraska’s most unique groundwater dependent ecosystems - Eastern Saline Wetlands and Sandhills fens. Due to the composition of the groundwater that feeds these two ecosystems, the species found in these environments are not normally present in these regions of Nebraska. Rare and fragile plant and insect species rely on these 'island ecosystems' for their survival, creating a unique relationship.
 
    
Deborah Conrod, Pradeep Kumar Goel, Dajana Grgic – 'Designing Provincial-Scale Water Monitoring Networks to Meet Future Needs'
The symposium continued with a presentation from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The presentation focused on the province-wide water monitoring networks currently being overseen by the Ministry. They discussed how these networks currently support numerous activities leading to informed resource management decisions, and how future improvements may allow these networks to act as tools in recognizing 'climate change' signals on water resources.
 
    
Jim Butler, University of Kansas – 'New Approaches for Exploiting Water-Level Responses to Fluctuations in Barometric Pressure'
The last guest speaker at the symposium was Jim Butler from the University of Kansas. Jim discussed how barometric efficiency has long been utilized to characterize the short-term response of a well to changes in barometric pressure. Further, he talked about recent methods that have been developed to assess the longer-term response, allowing valuable insights about site hydrostratigraphy to be gained through a program of passive monitoring of water levels and barometric pressure.

“Emerging Needs for Temporal and Spatial Data Precision”
The sustainable management and long-term development of water resources requires an integrated understanding of both the surface water and groundwater systems, and how these systems are dynamically influenced by climate variability. Provincial authorities across Canada and specifically in Ontario, have been developing a legislative framework designed to guide the protection and allocation of the integrated water resources at a watershed scale. A key component in the regional assessment of water resources has been the employment of advanced numerical modeling tools to assist in the quantification of water balances throughout target watersheds and in evaluating the risk to the resource from the cumulative influence of surface sources of contamination. These advanced models require an unprecedented diversity and density of physical data related to integrated hydrologic processes in order to provide a reasonable degree of certainty in the simulation results. As such, there is an expanding requirement for data collection equipment and integrated monitoring networks that can provide this level of information at the regional field scale. The emerging realization of the critical role extreme hydrologic events play in the annual hydrologic cycle and in controlling contaminant risk to water supplies has also increased the need for dense temporal data to evaluate transient aspects of the hydrologic cycle, again at the watershed scale. These issues will be explored in this presentation with illustrative examples from actual field sites. An approach to integrated hydrologic monitoring will also be discussed along with the consideration of remaining challenges.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. David L. Rudolph, Ph. D., P. Eng. Dr. Rudolph is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo specializing in physical hydrogeology and groundwater protection and management. He is a geological engineer graduating from the University of Manitoba and received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo in Hydrogeology. His specific areas of research activity include field investigation and numerical modeling related to groundwater flow and contaminant transport with a special interest in fractured sediment and unsaturated porous media.
Dr. Rudolph has worked extensively in the development and application of field data
collection techniques for application to groundwater resource management problems and unsaturated zone flow and transport investigations. He also participates with municipal authorities both nationally and internationally in the development of groundwater protection and management strategies.

Murray Einarson, AMEC Geomatrix
“High Resolution Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring”
Much has been learned about the behavior of subsurface contaminants in the last three decades of laboratory and field research. Yet, site assessments performed at commercial sites in North America often still follow traditional site assessment practices established in the early 1980s. Those assessment practices, which were founded on early conceptual models of what subsurface contamination was thought to be like, often yield ambiguous data sets that prolong site characterization activities and delay corrective action and site closure decisions. In addition, traditional monitoring of in situ remediation often fails to provide conclusive evidence that the remediation is working as planned, further delaying regulatory decision-making and site closure.

Recently, new technologies have been developed that allow site investigators to perform rapid, high-resolution site assessments that provide unprecedented clarity regarding the nature, extent, and migration of contaminants in the subsurface, and the effectiveness of in situ remediation. Increasingly, these technologies, which include high-resolution geophysical methods, cone penetrometer testing (CPT), driven direct push (DP) chemical sensors, high-resolution vertical groundwater profilers, and multilevel groundwater monitoring systems, are being applied in new configurations, e.g., advanced or installed along transects orthogonal to the groundwater flow direction, that have been shown to be particularly effective at many contaminated sites. These advanced assessments can also provide estimates of contaminant mass flux and mass discharge, which are important parameters for evaluating potential impacts to downgradient supply wells and surface water bodies.

In this presentation, the speaker will present an overview of the types and scales of measurements that are important during subsurface assessments, new approaches and technologies for high resolutions assessments, and methods to depict site conceptual models constructed using high resolution subsurface data.

Biographical Sketch:
Murray D. Einarson is a Principal Hydrogeologist with AMEC Geomatrix in Oakland, California. His work focuses on the fate and transport of dissolved solutes, and innovative, low-cost technologies for environmental site characterization and in situ remediation. Ph: (510) 663-4172; email: murray.einarson@amec.com

Brennan McMahon, Boart Longyear
“Advances in Environmental Drilling Technologies”
Boart Longyear delivers expert drilling services solutions for a wide variety of applications and a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of products to customers around the world.

Boart’s Environmental and Infrastructure (E&I) drilling business continues to expand its presence and capabilities to serve customers in the following industries:

  • Environmental: drilling to support site investigation and remediation of contamination of both soil and groundwater;
  • Water: drilling in support of groundwater exploration and development
    including the construction of monitoring and water wells;
  • Geotechnical: subsurface investigative drilling for new construction and the repair and remediation of existing infrastructure systems; and
  • Geo-construction: drilling for a variety of civil engineering and infrastructure construction projects.

This presentation will focus on the use of sonic drilling technology for environmental applications involving soil samples and groundwater monitoring.

Biographical Sketch
Brennan McMahon has been with Boart Longyear for three (3) years. Brennan has over 15 years drilling experience in a variety of geological formations in local and international locations. He is the key personnel for start-ups and strategic planning and development. Developed and implemented initiatives and processes that increased revenues, productivity and profits. A professional and effective leader focused on people, quality and results.

Ed Harvey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
“Of Salt and Sand - The Story of Two of Nebraska’s Most Unique Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems”
This talk will present ongoing research from two of Nebraska’s most unique groundwater dependent ecosystems - Eastern Saline Wetlands and Sandhills fens. Eastern Saline Wetlands exist within the discharge zone of an extensive regional flow system and are sustained by highly saline water up-welling from deep formations. These wetlands support plant life more commonly found in coastal wetlands, and they are home to an endangered sub-species of Tiger Beetle. Sandhills wetlands exist at the culminating discharge point of both shallow and intermediate flow systems and have very low total dissolved solid and nutrient loads. Induced by evapotransporation in this very arid region, up-flowing groundwater sustains rare and fragile plant communities found more commonly in boreal regions of the northern United States and Canada. Both wetlands survive as “island ecosystems”, totally dependent on groundwater for their survival.

Biographical Sketch
Dr. F. Edwin (Ed) Harvey is Associate Director, and Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) School of Natural Resources (SNR). Dr. Harvey received his PhD from the University of Waterloo (96), MS from Purdue University (90), and BS from Olivet Nazarene University (86). He also attended Indiana University’s Geologic Field Mapping Camp (87). His research interests include groundwater dependent ecosystems, groundwater-surface water interaction, regional groundwater flow, and the use of water chemistry and environmental isotopes in hydrology. He teaches courses in hydrology, isotope hydrology, and groundwater chemistry and contamination. Dr. Harvey received the Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students from the UNL Teaching Council and Parents Association, and was nominated for the Darrell W. Nelson Excellence in Graduate Student Advising Award. He has authored over 100 papers, reports, and abstracts, and has received over 4 million dollars in grant funding. He has served as advisor, or committee member for 3 PhD, 20 MS, and 8 BS students and has mentored 40 undergraduate Morrill Scholars. He has served as an Associate Editor for Ground Water (00-08) and the Hydrogeology Journal (02-07) and the Geological Society of America (GSA) Hydrogeology Division (HD)’s newsletter The Hydrogeologist (01-08). He served as the Technical Program Chair for the 2009 GSA Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, is the GSAHD Management Board 1st Vice-Chair, received the GSAHD Distinguished Service Award in 2008, and was named a GSA Fellow in 2006.

Designing Provincial-Scale Water Monitoring Networks to Meet Future Needs”
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment currently implements two provincial-scale water monitoring networks in partnership with the Conservation Authorities and participating Municipalities.

These networks involve monitoring ambient (baseline) stream water quality conditions at about 400 stations and groundwater levels and chemistry conditions at about 470 sites.

These networks provide a framework in which special projects can be undertaken.

The networks are designed to generate data to support a number of activities including: source water protection planning, water allocation, setting water quality standards, recognition of emerging issues, trends, and correlations, understanding relationships between precipitation and groundwater levels, and provides linkages between groundwater chemistry monitoring and the health sector. Integrated monitoring designs provide for a better understanding of the components that make up the hydrologic cycle and allow for informed resource management decisions to be made. The Ministry of Environment and Conservation Ontario are currently assessing the Provincial Groundwater and Provincial Stream Water Monitoring Networks (under a Canada-Ontario Agreement funded project), for their ability to act as tools to recognize “climate change” signals on the water resources and to assist in adaptation. This assessment has included developing a methodology to identify gaps and potential enhancements of the networks to meet future needs in water resource management. A report on findings is scheduled for Spring 2010.

Biographical Sketches:
Deborah Conrod, MSc. P.Geo. Deborah is currently the Supervisor for the Provincial Stream Water and Groundwater Monitoring Networks at the Ontario Ministry of Environment. She has a MSc. degree from the University of Toronto in Geology and has worked as a geologist in the private sector and for the province. For the past 17 years she has worked in the field of hydrogeology at the Ontario Ministry of Environment in a number of capacities including 5 years as Senior Hydrogeologist /Group Leader for the Central Region and 7 years in the Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch.

Pradeep Goel, PhD. Pradeep Kumar Goel is a Senior Surface Water Scientist with the Ministry of Environment (MOE), involved in nutrient management research. He has been the acting coordinator of Provincial Stream Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN) program for the past two years. He is also Adjunct Professor in School of Engineering at University of Guelph. With a Ph.D. from McGill University in Bioresources Engineering and an NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at University of Guelph, Dr. Goel also has more than twenty years of experience in hydrology and contaminant movement at the watershed level in Canada and abroad. He was the MOE group leader responsible for the development of technical guidance material for Surface Water Vulnerability Assessment and he was a member of the MOE Source Water Implementation Group. Dr. Goel has published and presented over fifty papers.

Dajana Grgic is currently the Coordinator for the Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network Program at the Ontario Ministry of Environment. She has a BSc. degree in Water Resources Engineering and has been working with the MOE since 1995. Dajana also has more than fifteen years of experience in stormwater and groundwater management as well as Information Management in Canada and abroad. Recently, Dajana was successful in obtaining OPS funds for the Innovation Project – Continuous Groundwater Quality Monitoring and is a Co-Chair for the PGMN/PWQMN Programs Climate Change Assessment Project. Dajana has authored and presented a number of publications.

“New Approaches for Exploiting Water-Level Responses to Fluctuations in Barometric Pressure”
Barometric efficiency has long been utilized to characterize the short-term response of a well to changes in barometric pressure. Recently, methods have been developed to assess the longer-term response, allowing valuable insights about site hydrostratigraphy to be gained through a program of passive monitoring of water levels and barometric pressure.

Biographical Sketch:
Jim Butler is a Senior Scientist and the Chief of the Geohydrology Section of the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas. He was the 2009 recipient of the Pioneers in Groundwater Award of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the 2007 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer of the National Ground Water Association.

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