Water Well Journal

December 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/752472

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 86

S tuart A. Smith, CGWP, and Allen E. Comeskey, CPG, are partners at Ground Water Science, an Ohio firm pro- viding hydrogeology, well and drain maintenance, and rehabilitation planning and training since 1986. The firm has offices in Poland, Ohio, and Bluffton, Ohio, but Smith and Comeskey travel to projects across the country. In doing so, they see all types of ground formations and water wells. Smith was the education program coordinator and research associate for the National Ground Water Association early in his career. He wrote multiple books for NGWA in that time, includ- ing Manual of Hydraulic Fracturing for Well Stimulation and Geologic Studies, published in 1989. NGWA decided to update the book with Smith and Comeskey taking on the project. The combined effort is a new text titled An Introduction to Water Well Hydrofracturing: A Form of Well Development and Cleaning. It dis- cusses how hydrofracturing is now an established method for well develop- ment and transmissivity enhancement, goes over its use for large-scale public water supplies, has a chapter on state regulations, and details safety and sanitation for the jobs. Water Well Journal sat down re- cently with the authors to discuss the book and the hydrofracturing market. Water Well Journal: What do you want readers to take away from reading this revision? Allen E. Comeskey: Water well hydrofracturing is a viable option for enhancing production from wells. It now has many decades of practical deployment and is not an experimental or fringe technology. Stuart A. Smith: Ditto. WWJ: What are the major advancements and changes since the first book was published? Allen: Its use appears to be more widespread, even interna- tionally. And of course, the technology becomes refined to increase the profitability of contractors. Stuart: For the hydrofracturing practice in crystalline rock— the typical domestic well in hard rock New England, Wiscon- sin, or the Pacific Northwest—the use of gels, fluids, and proppants is almost entirely abandoned. Experience has led to local refinements. The methods used in initial well develop- ment can also be used in well rehabilitation, either directly with the packer method or using the high-pressure pumps with jetting tools. WWJ: You say domestic water well hydrofracturing is commercially established along with large-scale public water systems also using hydrofracturing to enhance supply. What is the state of water well hydrofracturing and what does its future look like? Allen: It now occupies the position of an established, accep- ted, and reliable technology. Earning this favorable status corresponds with our present situation where water is in increasing demand and places to establish new wellfields increasingly difficult to acquire. Maintaining or enhancing the capacity of old or new wells becomes a priority. I would expect it to be considered more frequently in the future. Stuart: It could have wider application in rock situations where it is now rare, for example in carbonates. The volume would be much higher, more like the Wyoming case histories in Chapter 4 of our book. On the other hand, other tools, in- cluding gas-pulse and very high-pressure jetting, have been developed, and at the same time a better study of how to use older tools such as the double surge block. There is just more variety, with hydrofracturing a part of the tool kit. WWJ: Some get hydrofracturing mixed up with hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. What are some of the major misconceptions of water well hydrofracturing? Allen: A water well hydrofracturing job doesn't carry the risks, either real or imagined, of widespread pollution of water supplies with toxic chemicals. The scale difference alone re- sults in very minimal impacts in the vicinity of the well and the fluids are all potable water based. Stuart: The dire misconceptions people have about high- volume high-pressure (HVHP) hydraulic fracturing used in oil field development may lead people to have doubts about water well hydrofracturing with its minor risks. The risks, such as they are, are very different, Allen notes. Contractors hardly use anything but water in initial development. Affect- WATER WELL JOURNAL Q&A ALLEN E. COMESKEY, CPG STUART A. SMITH, CGWP Authors of An Introduction to Water Well Hydrofracturing: A Form of Well Development and Cleaning Stuart A. Smith, CGWP Allen E. Comeskey, CPG Sit in on Groundwater Week 2016 Water Well Hydrofracturing Workshop Want to learn more? If you're going to Groundwater Week 2016, sit in on the workshop titled "Hydrofracking: Groundwater, Not Oil and Gas" from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on December 6. It will show how hydrofracturing is a commercially established practice for producing domestic water well systems as well as public water systems looking to enhance their supply. waterwelljournal.com 28 December 2016 WWJ

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Water Well Journal - December 2016