Well-E: Environmental group acquires new well drilling tools

Well-E: Environmental group acquires new well drilling tools

  • Environment

Our Environmental Group has a strong track record in delivering research and consulting services on groundwater quantity and quality. In particular, the team focuses on nutrient transport and transformations occurring on agricultural land – from the unsaturated zone, into the groundwater zone, and subsequently into surface water bodies. Our clients comprise central and local government as well as public and private companies.

Recently, the group’s technical capability has received a major boost through investment in a Geoprobe® drill mast and skid steer loader combo. During operation, the drill is mounted on a skid steer loader that operates on hydraulics. This “Well-installation Equipment” combination is affectionately dubbed ‘Well-E’ as it bears a strong resemblance to the robot starring in Disney’s 2008 WALL-E movie.

The Well-E system is helping us to investigate and learn about the subsurface environment through installing shallow groundwater monitoring wells. These can be installed faster and more accurately at appropriate depths. The system also allows for retrieval of intact earth cores that are approximately 1 m long with diameters up to 84 mm. Extracting core samples allows different soil horizons and underlying sediment layers to be documented and sampled for lab analyses. This is particularly useful for identifying where denitrification occurs in the subsurface. At sites where large gravels and hard rock are absent, Well-E can core boreholes and install groundwater monitoring wells to depths of up to 10 m below ground surface.

The addition of Well-E is providing our team with greater flexibility to carry out comprehensive site investigations with ease. For example, Well-E has been valuable in site investigations at Reporoa Basin, research work that forms part of Lincoln Agritech’s MBIE-funded ‘Groundwater Assimilative Capacity’ research programme; and in an applied research project with Taranaki Regional Council on assessing shallow groundwater redox conditions. In the future, landowners keen to determine the effects of land use activities on the quality of their shallow groundwater will also directly benefit from our team’s expanded capability.

If you would like to learn more about Lincoln Agritech’s Environmental Group, their research, and consulting services, contact Blair Miller, Group Manager, Environmental, on blair.miller@lincolnagritech.co.nz.