Water Well Journal

September 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/715953

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Page 22 of 81

(COVER STORY) N o matter what size of wells you drill, if you're mud rotary drilling, you're used to dealing with bentonite drilling spoils. If you're lucky like David Traut, MGWC, CVCLD, of Mark J. Traut Wells Inc. in Waite Parke, Minnesota, you live in a state where disposing of the spoils isn't highly regulated. Or, you work on smaller projects with fewer spoils. But if you're like Augie Guardino of Guardino Well Drilling Inc. in Morgan Hill, California, and work in a state with tight disposal regulations, you know what a hassle it can be. "There is no simple solution," Guardino admits. Bentonite clays hold onto liquids like a sponge and stay in a liquid state for a long time—making it difficult to dispose. Dumping it in a liquid form into a landfill can plug up a landfill's leachate collection system, and trucks going in and out of the landfill can also get stuck in it. If dumped in a river or a lake, it can muddy it up and cause problems for wildlife. It can stick to a fish's gills, for exam- ple, and make it difficult for them to get air. That has prompted some states—like California—to set stricter disposal regulations. "It's mostly just an unsightly mess," says George Dugan of CETCO in Dayton, Texas. "But I think we're going to be see- ing more and more of it in the future." Other drilling industries have responded to disposal chal- lenges by switching to drilling methods with fewer spoils. Air drilling, for example, produces less mess. Drilling foams are easy to eliminate with a defoamer. In the foundation drilling industry, some choose synthetic slurries over mineral slurries because at the end of the job they can break the slurry down into clear water and dry solids. "Cal Trans won't allow bentonite slurry for drill tests, bridges, or piers because of the disposal issues with it," Dugan says. "They require synthetic slurry." The Texas Department of Transportation only allows min- eral slurry—for now. They may switch to requiring synthetic slurries instead, Dugan says. A Solid Choice A Solid Choice When disposing of drilling spoils gets tough, When disposing of drilling spoils gets tough, solidification could be your best option. solidification could be your best option. By Jennifer Strawn By Jennifer Strawn Solidified drilling spoils shrink after job with exposure to sun and wind. All photos courtesy George M. Dugan of CETCO. WWJ September 2016 19 Twitter @WaterWellJournl SOLIDIFICATION continues on page 20

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