Groundwater Sampling at Service Stations – The Search for Contamination

Nigel Drought - Thiess Pty Ltd , 30 October, 2014

The continual expansion of Hydrography from its traditional form to include groundwater, meteorology and an ever-growing number of parameters in between has challenged the industry to develop and adapt at an equally rapid rate. The spinoff to this of course is that greater opportunities are presenting themselves for the Hydrographic community to share our expertise and knowledge.

A natural pairing of our site remediation experience with our extensive groundwater monitoring history in the government and private sectors has and seen us move into commencing groundwater monitoring and sampling for the petroleum industry. Due to State legislation and EPA requirements all underground petroleum storage facilities are required to have a groundwater monitoring and sampling regime in place to detect any potential contamination.

Thiess Environmental Monitoring acquired the environmental monitoring contract for a national service station chain towards the end of 2013. This has seen Thiess Environmental Monitoring use a number of innovations to ensure the program produced the highest quality of data whilst managing resources successfully. The first step of the program involved the scheduling of the runs, which was completed using mapping software that calculated the most effective order of completing the sites. The field work aspect encompasses retrieving the water level of each bore on site while testing for the presence of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL), which is a form of hydrocarbon contaminant. Passive sampling techniques including hydrasleeves are then used to obtain bottled samples to be analysed at the approved Laboratory. All of the gauging details, observations and photos are entered onto a specifically designed iPhone or Android application which immediately syncs the data to a central database. This instant data syncing then allows for the reporting staff to begin work on the data validation and site reporting immediately while the field staff are still collecting data in the field.

The development of this monitoring program has not only confirmed the growing landscape of the Hydrographic industry but also the ways we can embrace technology to find smarter, more capable ways of monitoring and collecting data.