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Amendments Made to Well Construction and Maintenance

By Colliers Engineering & Design

NJDEP Approves New Well Monitoring Alternative

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) made amendments to the Well Construction and Maintenance; Sealing of Abandoned Wells regulations, which became effective March 1. The changes revise well-driller license classes, introduce new licenses, approve new technology, expand the applicability of site-wide permits, and create cost-saving opportunities for our clients.

Perhaps the most significant change is how wells can be monitored. As environmental conditions and liability protections are concerns while developing land, monitoring wells often are a necessity to ensure the groundwater is not contaminated.

Amendment Takeaways

The amendments offer the opportunity to replace conventional monitoring wells with new “environmental wells” that are installed in cased boreholes (Category 3 wells) and uncased boreholes (Category 4 wells) to depths as great as 30 feet.  The new wells are installed using a direct push technology, such as GeoProbe®, which is the environmentally friendly alternative. Instead of manning the conventional bulky drilling rig, the direct push technology creates a small hole in the ground that can be converted into a monitoring well. Not only does this process generate less soil cuttings to be disposed of, but it’s a much quicker process than its alternative, making it a cost saving measure for our clients.

Traditionally, to install a monitoring well, drilling companies will use large rigs that drill into the earth creating a surplus of soil, which needs to be disposed of. Because this method wasn’t deemed environmentally friendly and is often intrusive to on-going property operations, the amendments offer new techniques that prove to be both environmentally and financially beneficial.

Additionally, the regulations introduce three new licenses, including a new Environmental Resource and Geotechnical License (ERG). The importance of the ERG license is twofold:

  • the license category is very broad which makes matching licensees with projects easier and more efficient; and
  • the license is directly compatible with the continually developing direct-push technologies and applicability to both environmental and geotechnical investigations.

The other new driller license categories are for Vertical Closed Loop Geothermal wells (Category 5 wells), and Elevator Boreholes (Category 7 wells).

In the event remediation is required, it is helpful knowing that site-wide permits are allowed for bioremediation and chemical oxidation injection wells, soil vapor extraction, and air sparging.

Finally, with the addition of new licenses it creates job and growth opportunities in respective fields.

To view the amendments in their entirety, click here.

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