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Regional Groundwater Monitoring Network Implementation: NAOS Region

Design and Implementation


Presented by: Jon Fennell, Ph.D., P.Geol. P.Geo.

The journey

1999 Water Act Water for Life Strategy Rosenburg International Forum W4L Renewal W4L Action Plan GW management frameworks NAOS Regional Monitoring

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Why is this being done?

Assess the current state of GW resources within the study area (and address public concerns) Define / refine baseline and range of natural variability Provide a means to detect and assess changes to GW resources from future development activities or natural events

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Guiding principles

Cumulative effects analysis (& verification of EIA results) Pollution prevention / avoidance Reversal of trends
Concentration

Time

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Evaluate

Modelling

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Evaluate

Modelling

Monitoring

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Respond

Modelling

Management

Monitoring

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Integrate

Modelling

Management

Monitoring

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Inventory & gap analysis System dynamics


Supply Demand Internal/external forcings

The process

Risk analysis Adaptive management


GW vulnerability SW sensitivity

Cumulative impact assessment Management strategies

Performance monitoring
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Study area

~18,000 km2

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General Flow Patterns & Rates


Recharge Recharge Discharge
Interval Groundwater flow velocity (m/y) Till Surficial sands and buried channels <1 <1 to 140

Recharge

Clearwater Grand Rapids McMurray oilsands Basal McMurray Waterways Prairie Evaporite

<1 to 7 13 <1 to 2 <1 to 35 <1 -<1 to 3

Recharge
Discharge

Recharge

Methy

Modified from Andriashek & Atkinson 2007


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Inputs
Natural:
Discharge of water from saline bedrock formations (Devonian, Basal McMurray, Wabiskaw) Leaching of hydrocarbons & salts from exposed bedrock (e.g., McMurray, Clearwater) Discharge of organics & associated trace elements from muskeg waters (e.g., NAs, DOC, trace elements) Leaching of rafted oilsands & marine shale in surficial deposits

Anthropogenic:
Seepage from mine structures (tailings ponds, pit backfill, overburden storage areas, reclamation landforms) Operational upsets (very localized) Effects from mine dewatering, water disposal, water use (regional effects) Heat from in-situ operations (localized) Municipal waste water & urban runoff Other up-stream releases (e.g. pulp mills; agricultural runoff)

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Posted leases & active operations

Active mine Active in situ

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Step 1

Initial review (initiated


Summer 2007)

1,478 monitoring wells reviewed (over 132,000


data records)

Highly variable, baseline groundwater quality conditions identified Proposed locations for further long-term monitoring selected based on risk mapping
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Natural variability

Aquifer interval Surficial sands Buried channels Basal McMurray AMU1 Basal McMurray AMU2 Basal McMurray AMU3 Basal McMurray AMU4

Statistics Range Count Range Count Range Count Range Count Range Count Range Count Range Count

TDS (mg/L) 62 3,740 127 109 1,150 24 182 470 12 511 3,973 71 4,351 23,300 39 36500 278340 17 614 337,600 13

NH3 (mg/L) 0.1 2.0 53 0.1 2.0 8 0.8 1 0.9 1.2 2 2 10 7 6 23 2 ---

NAs (mg/L) <1 7 65 <1 9 18 <1 6.3 5 3 32 25 12 24 7 7 1 57 2

Methy Fm.

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Focusing efforts
(vulnerability mapping)

Depth to water

Recharge/ discharge

Aquifer media Rating

High

Low Low Low

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High

High High

Low

Soil type

Topography
(%slope)

Infiltration potential
(overburden thickness)

Conductivity
(hydraulic)

High Low

Low

High Low High Low High

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Source area identification

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Overall risk

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Network development

Provide good regional coverage to establish baseline quality conditions in key aquifers Assess long-term quality trends Assess potential cumulative effects of natural and anthropogenic inputs Differentiate between natural versus humaninfluences

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Existing infrastructure Groundwater Observation Well Network (GOWN)


AENV-operated 16 wells actively monitored at 5 sites within the AOS region

Alberta Geological Survey Wells (AGS)


13 wells at 3 sites within the AOS region AGS ownership transferred to AENV for use in AOS network

Operator Wells:
Approximately 9 operators within the Fort McMurray area have representatives on the AOS network Agreements made to have wells and/or associated data used to support network

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Spatial distribution

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Compilation of historical data


Historical datasets for the GOWN, AGS and Operators monitoring wells Well lithology and completion details Temporal groundwater surface elevations Historical water quality results

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Reconnaissance
(air & on-the-ground) Verification of location and existence of 27 select GOWN and AGS sites throughout the project study area Determine potential access routes to each site Review of well condition & initial testing

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Well prioritization
Selection based on:
Completion interval Spatial distribution of wells in study area Accessibility of well location Well condition

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Current deployment
40 wells / 13 locations:
SS = Surficial Sands (10 wells) BCH = Buried Channel/Valley (5 wells) GR = Grand Rapids Fm (1 well) CWR = Clearwater Fm (4 wells) BAS = Basal McMurray Fm (12 wells) PBM = Prairie Evaporite, Beaverhill Lake or Methy (8 wells) GRA = Granite Wash Fm (1 well)

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Sampling program

22 wells sampled for:


Field parameters (pH, EC, temp.) General indicators Dissolved hydrocarbons and phenols Dissolved metals and trace elements Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Stable & radiogenic isotopes

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Instrumentation
40 wells equipped with P transducers + data loggers Water levels and temperatures every 12 hrs Wells with historical data utilized to extend record

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Well summary sheets

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Groundwater levels
(Surficial deposits)
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GOWN 01-74 (SS)


319.0

GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.)

Shell PW-63 (BCH)


259
GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.) 318.5

258

318.0

317.5

257 1977

1979

1981

1983

1985

1987

1989

1991
317.0 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991

510.0

GOWN 13-27 (BCH)


509.8 GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.)

509.6
342

509.4

GOWN 16-22 (SS)


GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.) 341

509.2

509.0 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991

340

339

338 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991

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Groundwater levels
(Basal McMurray)
300

223

GOWN 06-61(BAS) GOWN 01-76 (BAS)


GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.)
295

290

GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.)

222

285

221

280

275

220
270 1977

Active dewatering occurring


1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008

219 1977

1979

1981

1983

1985

1987

1989

1991

510.0

GOWN 13-30(BAS)
GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.)
509.8

284.0

GOWN 16-24 (BAS)


283.8 GW Surface Elev. (m.a.s.l.)
1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991

509.6

283.6

509.4

509.2

283.4

509.0 1977

283.2

283.0 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991

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Groundwater quality trends


(TDS in surficial deposits)

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Stable & radiogenic isotopes

Analysed for: 18O 2H 13C-DIC (for age correction)


14C

activity (PMC)

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Oxygen & Deuterium

Modern precip.
470

LM

): Edm L(

2H

=7

.6

18 O

-1

330 1100
g

620 340

670

in Mix

1600

Older waters (glaciogenic)

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Groundwater ages

BAS: 8086 yr BP
TDS: 330 mg/L

BCH: 3485 yr BP
TDS: 340 mg/L

BAS: 16,996 yr BP
TDS: 1,600 mg/L

BCH: 4853 yr BP
TDS: 1,100 mg/L

BCH: 5033 yr BP
TDS: 620 mg/L

SS: 4972 yr BP
TDS: 470 mg/L

BCH: 4618 yr BP
TDS: 670 mg/L

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Differentiation & fingerprinting


6.0 Wells 5.0 PE SW SS BA LS

Industrial waters

Flouride (mg/L)

4.0

3.0

Natural bedrock waters Natural surficial waters

2.0

1.0

0.0 0 1 10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000

Chloride (mg/L)

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Next steps
Continue monitoring, evaluation and reporting (2010) Implement GW management framework - defined goals, targets & thresholds (2010/11) Develop GW working group to adminster network & communicate results (2010/11) Respond to events per the regional investigation plan (as needed) Expand network to include additional locations
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Threshold level (risk-based)

Concentration (mg/L)

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Target level
rea si n gt ren d

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UCL

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Range of natural variability

Inc

LCL

0
1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004

Thank you

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