Title: Improvement of Water Quality Through a Cooperative Well Plugging Program
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 Material Information
Title: Improvement of Water Quality Through a Cooperative Well Plugging Program
Alternate Title: Munch, Douglas A. Improvement of Water Quality Through a Cooperative Well Plugging Program. St. Johns River Water Management District, Water Resources Department, Palatka, Florida, 1978. Project Number 2001801. (Information Circular No. 2)
Physical Description: 20p.
Language: English
Creator: Munch, Douglas A. ( Author )
Publication Date: 1978
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
General Note: Box 5, Folder 16 ( QUALITY OF WATER IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (QWIP) ), Item 2
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00052710
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
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Information Circular No. 2


.IPROVEMENT OF WATER QUALITY
nr-

THROUGH A COOPERATIVE WELL PLUGGING PROGRAM


















By

"-: Douglas A. Munch






Water Resources Department

St. Johns River Water Management District

,": Palatka, Florida

1978



Project Nuriber 2001801




J


















STABLE OF CONTENTS




Page
SINTRODUCTION . ...... . . . 1
Location . . . . . . 1
Problem . . . . . .... 3
Purpose and Objective . . . ...... 6

INTER-AGENCY COOPERATION .. . . . ....... 7
Planning . . . . . . 7
Program Responsibilities .. . .......... 7

WELL PLUGGING .. . . .............. 8
Previous Work . . . ........ 8
"Plugging Procedures . . . . .. 10

RESULTS ..................................... 11

SUMMARY .................................. 16

APPENDIX A . . . . . . . 18



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. INTRODUCTION

A serious concern for the quality of water used for agricultural irrigation

in the State of Florida has developed in the past few years. In the late 1960's

and early 1970's, the practice of plugging artesian wells on a cost-sharing basis

was provided by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS)

through the funding of the Federal Government. This cost-sharing program began

in the southern portion of the state, and now in certain counties in the St. Johns
"W; River Water Management District (SJRI-'MD) monies have been allocated by the ASCS

for this program. In most of the cost-sharing programs offered by the ASCS, the

technical expertise was provided by the agricultural engineers of the Soil Con-

servation Service (SCS), but in the case of well plugging programs, expertise

was provided by the Department of Natural Resources. Since the implementation

of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, responsibility for providing well plugging

expertise has been delegated to the water management districts.

The plugging of these irrigation wells is specifically to restore the

hydrologic conditions which existed before the well was constructed and also to

eliminate the exchange of water between aquifers. Since this program was ini-

tiated in 1976, several deep irrigation wells have been plugged by methods pro-

vided by District staff in cooperation with the ASCS. The wells which have been

"corrected to date represent only a fraction of those which could benefit from

this program. Data that have been collected illustrates that this procedure

offers a practical method for controlling water quality problems in deep wells.

I. Location

The agricultural community of Hastings, located in southwestern St. Johns

" County within the St. Johns River Water Management District (Figure 1), is the

largest producer of cabbage and potatoes in the southeastern United States.

Approximately 6,400 acres of land are irrigated by artesian wells in the Floridan



1











ST. JOHNS RIVER
WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
MILES
o ?7 -a "
KILOMETERS

LEGEND
mnI DISTRICT BOUNDARY
N A SS AU t Fernandina -COUNTY OUNDA
GEORGIA B e a c n





S/Ko uE "- L.. HASTINGS
SAE Jacksonville AGRICULTURAL
MacClonny
...... L AREA


U UN1IONN I C
/ CL A Y
Green S T
f "tBRAD FORD Cove St. Augustine
Springs 0 H N S


A C H U A
SPalatka
Gainesvil.l J D PUTNAM M"

S:-T .. Bunnell

L. \ \FLAG LE R


I '
SA R O N Daytona
Beach
Ocala

..r \ V VOLUS IA
0 j^ DeLand




Santord r--S
SUMMER SE M 0 L E
LAKE Tltusvl *


^^q I ^
!I .LA.-,N.G E



cr L












1l [ N DIAN
j --.. v ero Beach


. i KEF ,C. E







Figure 1. Location Map of the Hastings Agricultural Area


2









aquifer during the fall and winter months when insufficient amounts of rainfall

cannot meet the demands of the winter vegetables.

Problem

"All of the wells used for irrigation derive their water from the Floridan

aquifer. The Floridan aquifer consists of a series of porous Eocene limestone

formations (Figure 2) overlain in most areas by a semi-permeable clay unit known


AGE FORMATION THICKNESS DESCRIPTION

LU 0 to
Z 2 --.:" .--;100 ft Sand, Clay, and
"LU CLASTICS
S0 0 to Mixtures of the Two
S2 30m



3 to
LU
z - HAWTHORN 180 ft Clay, with Sand, Sandy Clay
SI FORMATION 1 to and Sandy Limestone
2 55 m









I I I75 m
90 to
1I I 2501ft Soft, Pure Limestone
GROUP 30 to






S150 to
"" '/ AVON PARK 250 ft Alternating Limestone and
Dolomite Beds with some
u LIMESTONE 45 to Disseminated Peat and
S75 m some Thin Peat Beds











Disseminated Peat and
E 120 t Distinct Peat Beds

II I





Figure 2. Generalized Geologic Column, Hastings Area
S/4
/- / / / 150 m
:IZi I ZIZ Z 1
I / 1 / 1_ /]ZL
p" ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I ZIZ Z ZI i______________











as the Hawthorn Formation. Due to the nature of the confining clay unit, the

"Floridan aquifer is under artesian pressure which, under natural conditions,

allows many wells to freely flow above land surface. For the purpose of dis-

cussion, the Floridan aquifer is divided into two parts, the upper Floridan which

consists of the Ocala Group and the lower Floridan which consists of the Avon

Park, Lake City, and Oldsmar formations.

"C, An index used for the determination of salt contamination is the concen-

tration of chloride ions in the water. Irrigation water exceeding 1,000 parts

per million (ppm) in chloride concentration is damaging to vegetable crops.

The chloride content of water produced in the Hastings area (Figure 3) from the

upper Floridan ranges from 250-900 ppm. Typically, water derived from the deeper

zone exceeds 1,000 ppm and has been as high as 3,600 ppm in chloride concentra-

tion during low artesian levels.

Many of the irrigation wells located near the areas of denser crop culti-

vation become salt contaminated in two ways. A majority of the wells pre-

sently being used were drilled early in the agricultural history of the area.

..At that time, excessively deep wells were constructed to acquire greater quanti-

ties of natural artesian flow. By the late 1950's, water levels had steadily

"declined, and artesian flow from the wells could not supply the large quantities

of water needed for the increased irrigated acreage of the area. Various types

of power driven pumps were then installed on the wells to provide more water.

,, As the pumping duration and intensity increased, so did the salt content of the

water. In time these deeper wells become direct conduits for the upward migra-

tion of saltier water. Many acres of vegetables were ruined, and consequently,

these wells were either abandoned or used only when absolutely necessary.

The other mechanism which allows for the contamination of irrigation wells

is the process of salt water coning. This process involves overpumping of an


1 4












..=:'::::~::'' '='='=' -I:::'-:::: :::: ::~~~ii16~- \A ST JOT JHNS RIVERP
...... WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
MILES
. ... .......
....... ..... ------ :l'i~';i;;:_
:~ LEGEND


......CHLORIDE CONTENT
... ...

S 251--- 500..PPM
.......1O50 PPM








AF'



... ......




--- ------
I~e I,,.

































..........- -- - -- -
% ....... .......................... G R E A T E R T H A N 10(:::~







""*A I i i i i ; ': ;, } 2
Figr 3. pSoigteClrd Cocnrto ofte-pe-ord---f
.. rn March 1975
... .. ..
................i~j

............ iii~~~ i~i~~ :::: ::::
...........:i::~i~::~~~~::
::s ~~::~~~::~f::~::~i:~f (~:: ;s;:--::X::;.::r;::: 1*: 5"r. P )
r::-::~~t.. :5~~tl......... ::::::
.... ......; :: :: ::



..............-..-.
.. .....==~=..='.. .'''....'=;'''
~~ i~:::B:~~:~~:'':;i:~::i~~L '~i_;251 50 PL



............. :...&::~;:::::::
...........C'. .=r==; ''


ILL-- :':':'''.............''.....=r..,.... ~;



pow.''III 5t.;











irrigation well during times of low artesian water levels, and thus inducing the

coning of salt contaminated water directly beheath the well (Figure 4). Slowly

the contaminated water migrates upward through the porous limestone aquifer until

i--- the general area that the well derives its water from is completely contaminated.

Purpose and Objective

The purpose of this program is to accomplish water management goals in






,pu _I GROUND SURFACE







.: -.T '- 3










-.' -. .... .. .". "" "-'-- : """ "-HAW TH O R N FM .
.. ,.... ;. _,.- UNCONNNSOLIDATED
FLO AND AQ
.. CLAYS
"". 3 ," ; I ..... ....... ... 4 ...* .





HAWTHORN FM.
CONFINING UNIT
--FLORIDAN AQUIFER




't; ... .. .. . ; : i : r R O C K A Q U I E R .















Figure 4. Generalized Diagram of Salt Water Coning Beneath
a Pumping Well
S6T
I.:.. HAWTHORN FM.


-.- OF-

Figu-d FLRIA AQUIFERze -iga fSl atrCmn ee
a P'-qin ~l










hydrologically stressed areas through cooperation with other agencies. The ob-

jective is to upgrade ground water quality through methods of well rehabilitation

which prevent contamination of the fresh water layers of the Floridan aquifer

from deep wells which penetrate the saline zones below.

S'INTER-AGENCY COOPERATION

Planning

The initial outline and goals of the program were established after a

Series of workshops were held with local ASCS and SCS personnel in July 1976.

The Water Resources Department of the SJRWM was made responsible for outlining

a the program and procedures. The program focuses on the partial plugging of

irrigation wells to alleviate the interchange of water between aquifers. The

cost-sharing program will also apply if, after inspection, full plugging of a

well is recommended. Wells to be considered for the program could be abandoned
I-
P wells or currently used wells. To date, this program has been confined to the

counties of Putnam, Flagler, and St. Johns in order to establish criteria and
precedents for other counties within the District.

Program Responsibilities

The method for integrating the individual activities of the cooperating

agencies into a working program employ the following steps:
1. Upon receipt of a referral, the SCS District conservationist will notify

""" the appropriate water management district in writing. He will advise the

water management district of the name of the landowner, a general descrip-

tion of the location, and the date of availability of the well in suffi-

cient detail to enable a staff member of the water management district to

inspect the well.

"2. The water management district representative will geophysicalrv log the

well, then develop plans and specifications for plugging the well and

give a copy to the SCS District conservationist for delivery to the land-

owner.
7









3. The SCS District conservationist will complete the need and practicability

finding certification on the Agricultural Conservation Program (ACP) referral

form.

4. The landowner will arrange for work to be done under the supervision of the

water management district representative, and will notify him by phone when

the work is completed.

5. The water management district representative will then inspect the well and

"state, in writing, to the SCS District conservationist that the well has or

has not been plugged according to plans and specifications.

"6. The SCS District conservationist will then so certify on the ACP-247 form

which authorizes reimbursement of funds to the owner.

WELL PLLGGING

i. Previous Work

Early attempts to grout irrigation wells in this area consisted of merely

"i pumping large quantities of neat cement down the well until either the driller

exhausted his supply of cement or the well was completely filled to the top.

At that time there was no possible way to determine any of the well character-

.,: istics except for total depth. Many wells could not be satisfactorily grouted

due to the large voids and cavities in the porous Floridan aquifer limestone

".. which could absorb tremendous quantities of cement. These early plugging

attempts were rarely successful.

In 1976 the Southwest Florida Water Management District initiated a quality

of water improvement program. Through this program, plugging techniques and a

device to shut off the flow of contaminated waters from aquifers were developed.

"These procedures assure proper placement of the plug and require less cement to

construct the plug within the cavities of the well. With confidence in this type

of plugging technique, the staff of the St. Johns River Water tManagement District

promoted these ideas to the local agricultural agencies.


8








Plugging Procedures

Once a request for plugging has .----

been received by the District from the ,t:TE;R--:R- -fT Te- .

ASCS agent, arrangements are made with UNCO'NSOLIDATED
7. -AND
the owner to have the well made avail- .-.. c .,.. ..

i- able for geophysical logging. Through- -- :'-- :

- the sophisticated electronics of the --- wH AwORN F,,N
CONFINING UNIT
FLORIDAN AQUIFER
geophysical logger, important well -.

characteristics can be determined. RC -

Figures 5 and 6 are typical examples of
OCALA GROUP
I the problem wells encountered during

the early stages of this program and
F RESH WATER-SALT WATER INTERFACE
S the possible placement of the plugs

Figure 5. This case exemplifies a
homogeneous aquifer in which the con-
struction of the well, being too deep,
GROUND SURFACE would cause salt water contamination.

7NC7NSOLIDE il Indicates area to be plugged
UNCONSOLIDATED
-~ SANGS
AND
S CLAYS
i .for correction. Well depth, amount of
-HAWTHORN ,F -- casing, flow zones, and water quality
-* .. CONFINING UNIT -
-FLORIDAN AUIFER -
;,-.- - - --_ of the various aquifers encountered are
SMAWHMORN Fu
N^^C J ROCK AQUIFER
_-__ taken into consideration when plugging

o OCAA L-SGROUP specifications are drawn up for each

individual well by the District geolo-

" ^^^^7-^^^,_i^_______ gists. This information is shown in

S--Figure 7. Specifications for the plug-
r ;'-:: r '. : ; *- -;--:' | ^ : FLORIDAN OAQUIFECR
SONEging, which include the location of the
---------^'r ---=--T--:- plug, the length and diameter of the
Figure 6. Well construction invol-
ving direct connection to the saline plug, and the amount of cement needed
zone. Partial plugging should be done
- to avoid contamination by the saline are derived from the interpretations of
zone, eliminating the exchange of water
"between aquifers. the geophysical data.

-:,- Indicates area to be plugged 9
S."













0 0
F44 00 r(



ou





S o
,4 0 ;








SE0




- g '-------------^ ^ "^^ ^ ^------
C i
>4 U



'S 0




o
I I 0










U U cu
0 0.-- ---
< 00





o C




0 > 0

i H








o
co
-CN









(N< > 4> 0













vo ,- o 6 -4
0* O u 0 0 0-
r-4 o4 < < 4 0







9 0 o 6m0E4E-














%.0__I I I I I I_
r-4 a
00
4 H I 4-iF-
S- E-0 E
I0H < 4





U (U


0 U rZ o 4 r






0 r1



U *-
Q P^r
J- --'~-------------------------

51









__ These specifications are promptly sent back to the ASCS, and arrangements are

made by the well owner for a water well drilling contractor to perform the

work.

The plug is made to specifications using burlap material. This material

is inexpensive and easy to work with, and when placed within the well and filled

with cement, it conforms to the sides of the open borehole creating an effective

seal.

"At the well site, drilling equipment is set up over the existing well. The

burlap plug is then placed around the outside of the first length of hollow

drill stem (Figure 8). As the drill stem is lowered down the well, the burlap

is carefully fed down the hole making sure the drill rod does not rotate, with

the subsequent addition of more drill rod (Figure 9). Once the prescribed

length of plug has been fed down the well, it is attached in a manner which

will allow the drill stem to be pulled back out of the well without tearing the

"burlap. The plug is set into its proper place by the use of additional drill

rod and is now ready to be filled with cement.

The quantity of Portland Type II or Type III cement needed to fill and ex-

pand the plug is carefully mixed in a calibrated hopper (Figures 10 and 11).

After the grout has been mixed thoroughly, it is then pumped from the hopper

and down the hollow drill stem (Figure 12) by an auxiliary mud pump mounted on

the drill rig until the hopper has been completely emptied. As this process

occurs, the burlap plug expands and conforms to the sides of the open borehole.

The drill stem is then removed leaving an effective seal between the contamin-

ated and fresh water zones of the Floridan aquifer.
-t RESULTS

In order to appraise the effectiveness of the plugging operation, water

samples are taken from the well prior to and after the grouting. Sampling is

usually continued for several months thereafter followed by periodic checks

for the purpose of evaluating long term effects.

11



















6114






































..h am i~P ,dY-.-" ~ tL~~,bl~h:ur:










" ": i r











I 1
3-s


















A,












































FA. D











































d12
i :'7












..j .,
"a "~'; ". . s
ss~i- 01 :



I.Pd .,.,f.,.

.. ,c .~ . ..... .
~77









4k,,






















Figure 10. The Plugging Operation Involving the Geophysical Logging Van
and the Drilling Equi-pment
,, ,i' ,i': . .




9-: P, ~




r ,,- .~t .~ .f2.
'ArF


























Fiur ih i f n t a t p te




own th Well
~j~* f~~-i-: J ; P~; 1 .13










Figures 13 and 14 show the data collected from two irrigation wells that

have been plugged. Figure 13 illustrates the decrease in chloride concentration

of the water resulting from the plugging of the lower contaminated zone. Data

from the extended water sampling of this well over the past year shows the chloride

content has not exceeded 820 parts per million. Again, Figure 14 portrays similar



CEMENT SLURRY PUMPED
S- DOWN THE STEM UNDER
DRILL STEM FROM RIG, PRESSURE

LAND SURFACE


C3 C-6
. .. ^V :*, : ^- .. *. ....i .. i J -: --


:.i: -;: ,: ..- .. UNCONSOLIDATED


;-.-. :OVERBURDEN
FW E :WELL CASING /,



HAWTHORN fm.



..
CLAYS AND LS.








- OCALA LS.






r7-.
mm _BURLAP SACK I A.'















Figure 12. Generalized Cross Section Showing the
| CEMENT SLURRY _


Ty' 'i'i^-^ T1-


i I | .:-




Figure 12. Generalized Cross Section Showing the

Placement of the Plug Within the Aquifer




14











"CHLORIDE CONCENTRATION IN PARTS PER MILLION
D CD CD 0 0 CD0 0 0 0 0
0 o o 0 o 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
"O 0 0 0 0 C\J ( 'O CO 0 C\J ') '.0 CO
o C % 0 CO r- r- r- r- r- C\ C\ C\J
It I I I t I I I I I I I I II i I I I I !

.. ..................... ;.,, .,.., ............................................................. 4
.Apri 1 ....... ... .... ... ... ..



,_ 1976 ,,,.,.1950

Dec. 740


1977 W.fter


_AFebte rr6 Plugging
Feb. 650..... .......










-..Mar..... 590

1977 WELL no. SJ-147


Figure 13. Chloride Data Collected from Well SJ-147; chloride concen-
tration of this well before plugging attained 2800 ppm








"CHLORIDE CONCENTRATION IN PARTS PER MILLION

0 0 O 0 O O 0 O 0 r- < C- )
............ of t..wl al h u h..... ......... LOUd 0



























0 '- C 0J C) X1 i 10N CO C" -- '-- i-
"I- I I I I I I I I I I I
pow_..... .. .....6........




































11
SNov -12.90
1976 1






.............
...... .... .
1976 -c;,. =at~f~F~;:i~3~ol~i~ fnne







"=-',, du~,,"t Octber 197

~2~~~l~l~ i:~15i









data from another irrigation well rehabilitated through this program. Several

years prior to the establishment of the program, this well was unsuccessfully

plugged at the owner's expense. Since the well continued to produce contaminated

water, it was abandoned and capped. The owner made application to the St. Johns

County ASCS in October 1976 for corrective plugging. The well was inspected

by the District, and recommendations were followed by plugging in November. The

well is now being actively used for irrigation purposes.

SUMMARY

The Floridan aquifer at the Hastings area of southwestern St. Johns County

is comprised of thick Eocene limestone formations. During the fall and winter

months, artesian water from this aquifer supply irrigation needs for the culti-

vation of cabbage and potatoes.
Water with less than 1,000 ppm chloride is supplied from wells penetrating

only the upper portion of the Floridan aquifer. Those wells which penetrate

both the lower and upper zones of the aquifer typically pump water exceeding

the salt tolerance of the plants. These salty wells also act as direct conduits

for the contamination of the upper fresh zone of the Floridan aquifer.

This program initiated with the Soil Conservation Service and the Agricul-

tural Stabilization and Conservation Service has shown that water resource man-

agement programs can be accomplished in cooperation with concerned agencies.

Chloride data obtained from the wells which have been plugged substantiates

that this well rehabilitation methodology provides an answer to water resource

and subsequent economic problems. The use of the fabricated plug insures proper

placement of the grout, decreases the amount of grout required, and provides an
alternative to the construction of a new well. In general, chloride concentra-

tions decreased substantially in those wells which were plugged according to

program specifications. When these wells were monitored on a monthly schedule,

chloride concentrations remained fairly stable even through times of increased

irrigation demands.

16










The plugging operation provides a method of improving regional water

- quality conditions by preventing salt contamination in individual wells. Irri-

gation wells which continue to allow the inter-aquifer exchange of contaminated

.. water will have a detrimental effect on those wells that have been plugged. In

order to accomplish any regional improvement of the resource in this area, all

such wells must be plugged to the proper specifications. The continuation of

this program will accomplish this regional improvement, and agriculturalists

.. are urged to take advantage of this program.







































17









SAPPENDLX A

RECORD OF CHLORIDE CONCENTRATION IN PARTS PER MILLION
FROM PLUGGED WELLS


Date SJ-265 SJ-147 SJ-378 SJ-214 SJ-146 SJ-177

4/75 2800*

4/76 1360*
O- 8/76 720

9/76 720 Well collapse
due to casing
"11/76 1290* 1950* 970 not seated
into limestone
12/76 760 740 840 aquifer.

1/77 660 580 760

.- 2/77 1070 650 790

3/77 670 590 670

"4/77 1120 820 960

5/77 700

6/77 820 900

7/77 620 850

9/77 780

"10/77 1090

11/77 870 725 790 1700* 1700*

1/78 710 580 670 -- --

2/78 790 -- --

3/78 560 660 670 340 1100



-, *Concentration of chloride before plugging.





18





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