Water Well Journal

April 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/655200

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Page 24 of 67

T he nature of well design and con- struction continues to change. Extending drought conditions, lingering effects of the recession, and a growing concern with produced water quality have resulted in the industry looking beyond the traditional "25-year well." In fact, many communities are requesting a target lifespan of 50 to 75 years for new wells. This is in addition to a growing focus on materials selection and increased scrutiny to minimize footprints, reduce spoils, and improve construction water management. The word "development" is one fre- quently used to describe the final stages of new well construction, a maintenance activity, or a rehabilitative effort on an existing well. The word under-defines both the activity and the importance of this process, though. Well development occurs towards the end of well construction, a time when the budget is often spent and the cus- tomer is eager to see the project com- pleted. In some cases, individuals tasked with oversight of the project may not understand the importance of develop- ment, or development is thrown lump sum to a subcontractor tasked with set- ting the pump. Well development is not a secondary issue; it is a key element that sets the stage for the well, defining whether it will be a problem child or an asset. As such, it could be argued development is the most important process of complet- ing a new well, while remaining the least emphasized and funded. Development of Efficiency Perhaps most important, develop- ment is an abbreviated term signifi- cantly diminishing the understanding of what this critical process actually is. The process is more accurately developing efficiency. All wells are constructed in such a manner that none of them begin as a highly efficient subsurface hydrau- lic structure (i.e., wells are highly inefficient to begin with). As such, the final process of well installation is the "development of efficiency"—and involves all the steps necessary to increase the efficiency of the well to what might be considered an acceptable standard. The consequences of inadequate development are a well producing less water for an equivalent input of energy when compared to an efficient well, and producing far more energy (e.g., elec- tricity, diesel fuel) than an efficient well. Even a small impact in energy costs can WELL DEVELOPMENT IS EFFICIENCY DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT continues on page 24 (Above photo) Redevelopment of a deep sandstone well. Photo courtesy of Brian Snelten, PG, of Layne Christensen Co., Aurora, Illinois. Often overlooked, well development is critical and can determine if a well system will be a burden or an asset. By Christopher S. Johnson, PG, CHg, and Michael Schnieders, PG, PH-GW WWJ April 2016 23 Twitter @WaterWellJournl

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