A Teachable Moment: Geological Sciences Now Has a Monitoring Well Field!

[Upper left: Students examining core samples; Lower left: Students braving the cold to participate in hands-on learning; Right: a well being drilled]

We did it! We had a successful drilling day with great thanks to Michael Ainsworth and Kaitlyn Weider and staff at HRP Associates in Farmington, Mark Schock and staff at Glacier Drilling in Durham, Seth Molofsky at the Environmental Professionals of Connecticut (EPOC), and Jim Grupp at CCSU Facilities. We also thank Jim Mulrooney and Dean Malhas for providing coffee, pastries and lunch for the day.

Five 20-foot-deep monitoring wells were put in on campus near Copernicus Hall. With a pre-existing well, that makes a six-monitoring-well field. Dr. Oyewumi is thrilled that he will now be able to teach students work-force ready skills such as determining groundwater flow, pumping tests, aquifer characterization, and water chemistry.

Drilling day started at 7 am when Katie arrived to set up the safety perimeter around the drill sites. By 8 am, the driller was there and had started the first hole. About four feet down, the drill started making a really bad sound and virtually stopped. This was not good. It turned out to be a couple of chucks of steel that we had no idea as to the origin of. Jim Grupp said that it was not a pipe (good) and gave the go-ahead to continue to drill. After that, all went smoothly and by 4:30, five wells were drilled, cleaned, lined, and capped. Mark Schock even brought in a smaller rig called a Geoprobe that basically drilled 5 feet in about one minute to show how it was done.

From 8 am to noon, Field Methods class observed the drilling and sampling process. Katie and Mike explained every step. Mark even took time out from the drilling to explain the entire drilling process. The students learned an incredible amount. We look forward to incorporating this well field into our Hydrogeology and Environmental Geochemistry as well as Field Methods and introductory labs.

Again we thank all involved for donating their time and effort for all of the planning involved and especially on drilling day. Thanks to EPOC for contributing $3000 to the cost of the drilling. For an extended photo gallery as well as a complete list of “thank yous,” please see our Department website: http://www.ccsu.edu/geolsci/wellField.html


– Mark Evans




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