State of the art of (1) The distinction of well ageing types and their extension; (2.1) Monitoring and diagnosis; (2.2) Maintenance; (3.1) Well design and construction and (3.2) Operation


The overall project WellMa, which stands for well management, aims at the optimization of the operation and maintenance of drinking water abstraction wells. For this purpose, in addition to a statistical analyses of well data (report D 1.2) and first field investigations to compare various diagnosis methods (report D 1.3), a review of literature during the preparatory phase WellMa1 should answer the following questions: (1) Which processes affecting the well performance and conditions can occur? (2) Which correlation exists between well ageing and well characteristics? (3) How can such well ageing be recognized at an early stage? (4) What is the state of the practice to restore a good performance and condition? (5) What can be done during well design and construction to prevent well ageing? (6) How can well operation be adjusted to slow-down well ageing processes? Based on textbooks, standards and professional articles published in large number since the middle of the nineties, the state of the art was gathered and compared to current practice at BWB and Veolia to identify possibilities for improvement and specify the need for further investigations to be proposed for WellMa2. 1) Three well ageing types involving different processes could be identified. These are chemical, biological and physical clogging. They are closely linked to the characteristics of the exploited aquifer, such as the physical properties of the formation or the chemical composition of the groundwater. 2) The evaluation of these site-specific aquifer characteristics, the impacts from well design and the observed effects on the well performance and condition and their development with time of operation should be used to specify the individual ageing potential for each well site. 3) The early recognition of well ageing implies the need to monitor wells (1) regularly and (2) with comparable methods. As suitable indicators, the development of water levels and discharge rates to calculate the specific drawdown and specific capacity, the pump surveillance and the visible condition of the well interior could be identified. 4) Both, the assessment of the ageing potential and the monitoring of a reference value describing the state of the well lead to the specification of maintenance requirements. Generally, three strategies could be identified, ranging from sheer operation, over reactive maintenance to regular condition assessment and preventive treatment. Concerning the choice of maintenance method, key criteria must always be the well design, its state of construction, the well ageing type and location. Up to now, patterns linking well characteristics and the success of maintenance could not be identified. Thus, maintenance relies on practical experience and the willingness to discuss limitations and disadvantages of methods as open as the advantages on side of the rehabilitation companies. 5) For well design and construction, the technical standards were summarized, describing the necessary steps for proper dimensioning, drilling, choice of materials and final well development. Not only the avoidance of nonconformities and the careful evaluation of the advantages, but also the restrictions of different well design alternatives, e.g. for the accessibility of rehabilitation, assure an optimal well ageing prevention and well operation. 6) Furthermore, well operation could be identified as a key element and critical factor codetermining the lifetime, but at the same time the economic efficiency of a well. It is always a compromise between demand, technical possibilities and economic considerations, for which reason general standards or technical guidance are not available so far. They need to be developed individually considering present well ageing processes and the quantification of impacts. Comparing the state of the art with current practice at BWB and Veolia, room for improvement could primarily be identified for monitoring and subsequent data processing for both, operational parameters (to assess well performance and condition), and maintenance (to evaluate the success of applied treatments). Based on the recommendations derived on this state of the art review, within WellMa2 the effects of measures for preventing and treating well ageing shall be quantified so that the benefits can be assessed for future optimized well management.

Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin gGmbH
Schwarzmüller, H.
Schwarzmüller, H.
Head of Department “Groundwater”