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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Chollas Park’

What’s up with the Chollas Creek wells?

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 27, 2011

Wes Danskin, USGS Project Chief for the San Diego Hydrogeology Project, shares this update from the Chollas Park Monitoring Well installed under contract with the City of San Diego to study groundwater in that area of the San Diego Formation aquifer (for a page collecting all the project updates as well as other groundwater news click this link).

WHAT WE FINALLY INSTALLED
Depth of well screen (SC) and sand are listed

Well #6: SC: 29.5′-49.5′; Sand: 16′-56′
Well #5: SC: 140′-160′; Sand: 180′-119.5′
Well #4: SC: 330′-350′; Sand: 310′-372′
Well #3: SC: 520′-540′; Sand: 432′-585′
Well #2: SC: 760′-780′; Sand: 739′-814′
Well #1: SC: 1040′-1060′, 980′-1000′, & 920′-940′ w/a 40′ sump; Sand: 887′-1100′

DEVELOPING THE WELL
The 6 piezometers at the site were developed, meaning the drilling fluid was removed. The process involves pumping air down each piezometer, which bubbles the water mixed with drilling fluid up and out. The aquifer then refills the piezometer with water, and the process continues until water-quality parameters (conductance, pH, and turbidity) stabilize, indicating that we are extracting only native water from the aquifer. The small amount of water in #5 means that it was not well developed. The low yield of #1 means that it took quite a while and some artful use of air, hose, and patience to get it developed. After winter rains next year, we will go back and see if we can develop and sample #5.

SAMPLING THE WELL
All piezometers have been sampled, except #5 which is dry, and #1, which is taking longer because of the low yield of the fractured bedrock. Sampling of #1 will be completed later this week. A broad range of water-quality constituents will be sampled including major and minor ions, trace elements, stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen and radioactive isotopes of hydrogen (tritium) and carbon (C-14), and volatile organics. By analyzing these data we can infer the source of the original recharge, when the recharge occurred, and whether human actions have affected the water. Because the general chemistry of water in the San Diego area like most basins is fairly similar, dependent on the rocks and derived sediment that the water is flowing through, we find it helpful to analyze trace elements and other minor constituents of water to determine of groundwater flow paths. It is rare for water districts or individuals to test for these constituents because they are commonly not viewed as a health or water-treatment hazard. Note, the radioactive isotopes are used for dating the time since recharge and are many, many times below a health hazard.

We also sampled a shallow well downslope from SDCP in order to compare our shallow piezometer data with it.

WATER TABLE
Water table appears to be at about 240 feet; Piezometers #5, #6 are both perched water tables.

PHOTO
Thought you might like to see samples of the water from each of the 5 piezometers we developed. You can tell #6 needs some more development; its a bit cloudy.

But we got great water out of #1, yeah! Getting water out of that fractured bedrock had me a bit worried for awhile.

–wes

 

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A brief talk about the USGS San Diego Hydrogeology Project

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 12, 2011

A few weeks ago I visited the site of the USGS monitoring well being drilled at Chollas Park. The well is part of the USGS San Diego Hydrogeology Project studying water quality, quantity, and flow characteristics in the San Diego Formation aquifer (click here for the story from the visit).

Here’s Project Chief Wes Danskin discussing the program with San Diego KGTV Channel 10 reporter Joe Little (apologies for the less-than-perfect camera work):

 

Also, here’s Joe Little’s report on 10 News.

 

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Chollas Park groundwater study: pictures tell the story

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 21, 2011

Here’s the latest from Wes Danskin’s log on the USGS groundwater study at San Diego Chollas Park (previous log entries on this study are here).

WHAT’S NEW
Done drilling, chose depths for wells (piezometers–pressure sensing wells), installed 2-inch PVC piezometers, and are developing of them as I write this. Decided to include photos of each activity so you don’t have to read all this, just view the photos.

CORING TELLS THE STORY
Hit bedrock (Santiago Peak volcanics at 877 feet). Core at 895 feet is shown below. Many fractures are present

PICKING THE DEPTHS OF PIEZOMETERS
Based on geophysical logs, drill cuttings, cores, pore water chemistry, geologic mapping, evolving concepts of groundwater flow, likely constraints to developing a water supply, defining the yuck factor of Chollas water, taking advantage of evaporating Chollas Lake water … one of the more difficult things I do. You definitely get your money’s worth from the Chief Scientist on the project (me).

Well #1: 1040′-1060′, 980′-1000′, & 920′-940′
Well #2: 760′-780′
Well #3: 520′-540′
Well #4: 330′-350′
Well #5: 140′-160′
Well #6: 30′-50′

DEVELOPING WELLS
Send air down the wells to force water and left-over drilling fluid up and out. In the photo you’ll see water being ejected from one of the wells.

As we extract water/drilling fluid, the aquifer replenishes the well water, which eventually ends up cleaning the well of our drilling effects. We monitor clarity of the water, pH, conductance, and temperature to known when we have removed drilling-related water and fluids and when we have native ground water. Great news is that the fractured well shown in the photo above makes water, not much, but makes water via those fractures.

NEXT STEPS
Sampling the wells for water quality.
Installing a vault to protect the wells.
Installing water-level monitoring equipment, and satellite link.
Putting the information on our website.

Whew, I’m exhausted; almost done.

–wes

 

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Site visit: USGS groundwater study at San Diego Chollas Park

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 7, 2011

Recently Wes Danskin, Project Chief for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) San Diego Hydrogeology Project, shared notes from his log (here and here) regarding installation of a monitoring well at Chollas Park that will be used as part of a study to learn about water quality, quantity, and flow characteristics in the San Diego Formation aquifer. Funding for the well comes from the City of San Diego.

Last Thursday I received an email from Danskin: “Stop by if you’d like, we’ll be on site for about another week completing the piezometer installation.” No need for a second invitation; the next morning I grabbed my camera and headed over to the project site.

The well is just west of Chollas Lake which itself is just west of the College Grove shopping center near the SR-94 freeway at College Avenue.

Several other visitors were already there, including a few members of the San Diego Association of Geologists (SDAG). 10News reporter Joe Little was there, preparing to interview Danskin for the evening news.

(all photos can be clicked for enlargement)

10News reporter Joe Little (left) prepares for the interview with Wes Danskin.

Wes animatedly talked about a new three-dimensional geologic map of the region that he’s been working on. No previous geologic studies in the San Diego/Tijuana area have produced such a map. According to the SDAG website (“Mapping the San Diego Underground”):

“A total of 91 wells, which showed stratigraphy older than Quaternary age, helped provide depth information to produce this 3D hydrogeologic framework model. This study relied on pre-existing GIS (geographic information systems) datasets including DEM (digital elevation model), surface geologic maps, drilling and e-logs, and literature references to wells or outcrops. Direct examination of USGS multi-depth wells provided the most reliable “ground truth” for geologic boundaries used in the model.”

Danskin explained there are three types of wells: 1) monitoring wells to identify water levels and quality and geology of the groundwater basin; 2) pilot production wells to determine the quantity of water flowing through the ground; 3) full scale production wells. For the San Diego study, the first two types are being used.

Continuing, Danskin said the San Diego Formation extends north-south from La Jolla to south of the border, and west-east from the ocean to the vicinity of the I-805 freeway. Groundwater has been extracted from the San Diego Formation for over 50 years. Sweetwater Authority has been distributing it to National City and Chula Vista.

“The important part about this well is that we’re actually able to get down into the hard rock,” said Danskin. “None of the other wells, with the exception of one near Qualcomm Stadium, were we able to identify this important part of the geologic story,” he said, noting that “the critical part of what we’re doing is defining how the geologic layers are arranged and that allows us to understand how the water moves through them.”

An interesting fact: using carbon dating they found that it could be up to 30,000 years since that groundwater was last in the atmosphere.

Little asked whether pumping and treating groundwater can be cost-effective. Danskin replied that Sweetwater Authority’s pumping of groundwater shows it is already cost-effective. It will gradually become even more competitive because the price of imported water continues to increase. It is becoming more attractive from a reliability point of view too, because we import up to 90% of our water from the Colorado River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and both of those sources are climatologically, environmentally, and politically at risk.

Danskin said chances are that most of the water in the Formation will be salty and require reverse osmosis treatment…not as salty as the ocean but it may contain the same salt level as V-8 juice. Still he has an optimistic outlook about the project finding a reliable groundwater flow. “It’s taken about ten years,” he said, “but things are finally starting to make sense.”

A typical tricone drill bit.

Numerous soil samples are taken at regular checkpoints as the drill goes deeper.

Danskin discussing the various well locations in San Diego.

 

Here’s video I shot while Danskin discussed the project:

 

See also Joe Little’s report on Channel 10 News:

 

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