Thursday, March 2, 2017

EP Aquifer Test Activities and Timeline

The Electro Purification (EP) aquifer test began in October and will likely finish in the coming weeks.  EP contractors, District staff, and the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) staff are coordinating testing activities and monitoring efforts. Aquifer tests are an essential part of the District's permitting process.  The Board and staff rely heavily on results of these tests to inform permit volumes and conditions.

Synopsis of aquifer test activities:
EP converted the Odell 1 well into a Lower Glen Rose monitor well.  They have developed and pumped Bridges 2 and Bridges 1 for 5 and 7 days, respectively.  Most recently, Odell 2 was developed and tested for 5 days.  During development of Odell 2, EP contractors experienced technical difficulties that delayed the start of the test; however, the pump phase is complete and water level recovery is being recorded.  During all tests, water level and water quality data were collected.  Provisional District water-level data from the deep Cow Creek monitor wells show a measurable response to the pumping.  The measurable response is what is needed to allow calculations of aquifer parameters such as transmissivity and storage.

Currently, the EP contractors requested and received approval to re-test Bridges 2.  After the test was complete, the EP contractors discovered that the original pump assembly installation was not placed properly.  The well will not be developed again, but crews will reinstall the pump assembly and begin pumping in the upcoming weeks.  Water levels are continuously being recorded.

What happens next:
Once the testing is complete and water levels have recovered, both the District staff and EP contractors will compile and check all data collected over the duration of the aquifer test.  Once compiled, organized, and checked, the District will share data with surrounding GCDs and EP contractors.  EP contractors will go through the same process.  After all data is available, EP contractors will analyze the data and propose a permit volume based on those analyses, explained through their Hydrogeologic Report.  The Hydrogeological Report is required with submittal of a production permit application to support a requested permit volume.  When a production permit application is submitted by EP to the District, District staff will review and vet the contractor's Hydrogeologic Report, model effects of the requested volume, and determine whether the requested volume may have potential to cause unreasonable impacts to surrounding wells.  The staff's findings will be presented to the Board to inform the permit desision.

To make the aquifer test more transparent to the groundwater community, the District (with EP's support) posts updates on the EP Aquifer Test Spotlight page.

Barton Springs Hackathon

The Barton Springs Hackathon is a one-day, hands-on, technical workshop focused on unlocking hydrologic data in central Texas for public consumption.  The District has teamed up with the Texas Advanced Computing Center to host the first Barton Springs Hackathon!  With support from the Hill Country Alliance, the Hackathon will be a fun day to learn, teach, and help make data more accessible.

Here’s where you can help –  we need everybody from coders to scientists to educators that can unlock the information collected from a large network of monitoring sites and help well owners and central Texas residents understand the groundwater system that feeds Barton Springs. Join a project team and lend your expertise to the challenge!
Read more here!