Assessing Onsite Water Monitoring Wells
Onsite water monitoring wells allow fuel station owners and government agencies to read the level of the water table and monitor groundwater conditions. This helps detect contamination in the groundwater caused by a leak in an underground fuel storage tank. Monitoring wells are installed next to the underground storage tank to provide an accurate assessment of the groundwater conditions directly underneath and around the storage tank.
How Does an Onsite Monitoring Well Work?
Monitoring wells serve two important functions at a fuel station: water table measurement and groundwater condition assessment.
Measuring the Water Table Depth
A water table measurement is taken by measuring the distance between a point marked at the top of the well and the depth at which groundwater begins. This boundary line between groundwater and unsaturated soil is known as the water table. The elevation of the well’s location, which should be recorded at the time of installation, must also be taken into consideration in order to arrive at an accurate water table elevation. Comparing the water table’s elevation to the monitoring well’s elevation also allows one to estimate the flow direction of the groundwater beneath the fuel station.
Inspecting Groundwater Conditions
Monitoring wells are also used to evaluate the condition of groundwater. Water samples can be taken from the well and analysed to determine the presence of any physical or chemical pollutants. Fuel can easily leak from a storage tank and quickly contaminate the surrounding groundwater, so it is especially important for fuel stations to perform regular tests. If regular groundwater samples are taken, fuel leaks can be caught and addressed immediately before they cause serious harm.
What’s at Stake?
Even when installed correctly, underground storage tanks are susceptible to leaks and with many steel tanks still being used in Australia, any tank over 20 years old can have issues. It doesn’t take much to cause a dire situation, just a few hundred litres of fuel is enough to contaminate underground water. Even a pin-sized hole in a fuel storage tank is capable of causing contamination.
An unnoticed leak is devastating from a business standpoint as well. Ampol just paid out $200,000 to environmental groups after a fuel leak at one of their petrol stations polluted the area’s groundwater.
Thankfully, this type of disaster is preventable. Using an onsite monitoring well to regularly assess groundwater conditions lowers the risk of a storage tank leak going unnoticed and untreated.
ServoPro has partnered with Neo Consulting who provide cost effective services and solutions for monitoring groundwater at your petrol station. Contact us to find out more.