Hydrogeological Investigations – An Integral Part of Successful Environmental Projects
What is Hydrogeology?
Hydrogeology (geohydrology) is the study of groundwater. Groundwater can get in the soil in many ways, flowing in various directions into the subsurface through aquifers. On its way under the surface, groundwater goes through the ground and rocks, affecting how people get and maintain potable water supplies and how they use the soil. Hydrogeology studies these interactions, helping us understand where and why groundwater occurs.
The Purpose of Hydrogeological Investigations
Environmental experts apply hydrogeological investigation for multiple purposes. The following uses are the most common:
The Design and Construction of Drinking Water Supplies. Hydrogeological investigation helps identify groundwater flow patterns, enabling the design and construction of safe potable water supplies. Applying groundwater simulations, hydrological monitoring, and hydrostratigraphy, a hydrogeological inspection can detect the presence of aquifer systems, helping transform them into drinking water supplies.
The Establishment of Irrigation Systems. The construction of efficient irrigation systems is a precondition for sustainable agricultural growth in water-rich regions susceptible to drastic weather changes. Irrigation helps revegetate dry soils during times of low rainfall. Hydrogeological investigations are the principal tool for identifying groundwater patterns that enable the economical use of irrigation schemes.
Determination of Sanitary Protection Zones. Defining sanitary protection zones requires a coordinated hydrogeological, hydrogeochemical, and topological approach. Hydrogeological investigation enables determining hydraulic conductivity, groundwater well parameters, and aquifer type. These parameters allow hydrology specialists to identify hydrological resource areas and determine residence time and groundwater recharge altitude. That helps prepare specific policies for sanitary protection management.
The Groundwater Cleanup Schemes Planning. Groundwater cleanup consists of various techniques. The most common are bioremediation, carbon adsorption, air stripping, and the physical removal of contaminated substances. Each of these techniques relies on the results of the hydrogeological investigation because groundwater cleanup is impossible without prior field reconnaissance, hydrogeological mapping of terrain, hydrochemical analysis, etc.
Construction of Groundwater Reservoirs. Groundwater reservoirs are one of the most efficient ways of collecting and utilizing natural resources. Building groundwater reservoirs requires prior site and hydrogeological investigation. That includes identifying the dam location, stability of the valley sides inspection, determining the sedimentation rate, the quality of water analysis, etc. In addition to topographical conditions, groundwater reservoirs depend on hydrogeological efficiency, too. Environmental experts must determine the amount of water leakage (depending on the depth of the water table), the permeability of soil layers, and the geological conditions of the site, among other contributing factors.
Design and Construction of Dewatering Schemes for Construction Purposes. Construction dewatering is a necessary prerequisite for safe and efficient foundation construction activity. Hydrogeological investigation helps construction drainage efforts, enabling the identification, evaluation, and proper treatment of groundwater problems.
Hydrogeological Investigation Methods
In performing groundwater investigations, hydrologists and environmental experts use various methods. Below are the most frequent:
Available documentation review.
Hydrogeological mapping of terrain.
Preparation of hydrogeological maps.
Groundwater routing (marking) test.
Water temperature measurement.
The water table measurement.
Groundwater direction determination.
Drafting maps of vulnerability, hazard, and risk of groundwater contamination;
Drilling of exploratory and abstraction boreholes.
Development of exploitation water wells.
Geomorphological field analysis.
Photogeological detection of terrain using remote detection.
Borehole cores mapping.
Data processing and reporting on the hydrogeological investigations.
Development reserves of groundwater studies, etc.
Why Do Hydrogeological Investigations Matter?
Environmental consultants use hydrogeological investigations attempting to solve some of the biggest global challenges, such as environmental protection, reliable water supply, climate change, and food and energy sustainability. Hydrogeological experts work shoulder-to-shoulder with local, state, and federal regulators, policymakers, agronomists, economists, and individuals, trying to produce sustainable and lasting solutions for future generations.
Environmental Experts with a Mission
An Illinois-based environmental consulting company, Hanis Consulting specializes in environmental due diligence, site investigation (including hydrogeological investigation), soil and groundwater remediation, litigation support, and fractional management.
In conducting hydrogeological investigations, we always go the extra mile. Our dedication to solving vital environmental problems differentiates us from the competition. At Hanis Consulting, we are not just contractors – our mission is to help policymakers and individuals by tackling crucial global challenges with confidence and expertise.
We are available for clients in Chicago and Milwaukee areas. Reach out today to schedule your appointment.