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EGGI and Sustainable Engineering Interns investigate solutions to recurring water shortage at the Shoals Marine Laboratory

Emery & Garrett Groundwater Investigations. LLC (EGGI) personnel, Dan Tinkham, Mike O’Brian, and John Brooks, recently volunteered their hydrogeologic and geophysical expertise to support efforts to increase the available supply of groundwater resources at the Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) on Appledore Island,  Isle of Shoals, Maine.  The SML is a research and educational facility (University of New Hampshire and Cornell University) located an on approximately 98 acre island off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  This seasonal facility utilizes a 20-foot-deep “dug” well located within a small contributing watershed to supply the potable and non-potable water supply needs of the SML.  Despite the SMLs development of stringent water conservation measures, the groundwater level in the water supply well sometimes lowers enough by the end of the summer to prevent the continued use of the well, at which time reverse osmosis filtration equipment powered by a diesel generator must be used to process salt water from the ocean for potable use.   

Sustainability Engineering Interns (SEIs), Jonathan Brown, David Xiaohan Chen, Jillian Crowley, and Anna-Katharina Von Krauland continued a multi-year assessment (by previous SEIs) of options for developing sustainable, environmentally sound (“Green”) solutions for supplementing the available water resources derived from the existing water supply well.  The main objectives of the SEIs research included the following: 1) An evaluation of the hydraulic characteristics of the Well; 2) Determining if the Well was constructed entirely in unconsolidated sediments or whether it extends into the underlying bedrock aquifer; and 3) Evaluating the potential for developing an additional Well on the northern portion of Appledore Island.

Working closely with SML personnel Ross Hansen and Mike Rosen, EGGI provided guidance and field assistance to support the SEIs efforts to monitor water levels within the water supply well to evaluate the hydrology of the well, perform fracture-fabric and lineaments analyses to provide insights into the hydraulic characteristics of the fractured bedrock aquifers underlying the Island, and conduct magnetic, VLF, and electrical resistivity surveys to investigate the depth and extent of unconsolidated sediments proximal to the existing water supply well.  The results of these tasks showed that the Island’s water supply well is located within a relative narrow, north-east to north-northeast trough within the bedrock that is up to around 25 feet deep.  A potential new well site was identified using the models of the electrical resistivity data.  The SEIs recommended the installation and monitoring of a test well at this site to evaluate the depth of the sediments and assess whether the well site will provide a new source of groundwater that is hydraulically separate from the existing water supply well.   

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