Providing credible water resource solutions: Working with Nature's Science

News @ earth-water Concepts inc.

Rick Gagné, President of earth-water Concepts inc., is nominated for membership to the expert panel on the hydraulic fracturing review in Nova Scotia.
The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" as it is often referred to, was invented in 1947 and commercialized in 1949. Since then, the technology has been used to stimulate production from over 2,500,000 oil and gas wells with only a few incidents. However, recent advances in horizontal drilling and other technologies combined with hydraulic fracturing, have allowed drilling to take place for what were previously non-economic gas resources (source gas, also known as shale gas). See more.
This industrial type of activity, which may now occur in areas where previously developed resources may have been depleted, or in areas where before there may have never been oil and gas exploration, has caused some people to voice their concerns. We can now find a growing number of related written and video commentaries in the news and on the Internet, all with varying levels of accuracy about the underlying petroleum geology, hydraulic fracturing, and human and environmental issues. This has resulted in growing levels of confusion and emotion among the public where the science and technology may not always be correctly understood. Consequently, some jurisdictions have imposed outright moratoriums on shale gas development, while others have decided to study the matter with some having temporary moratoriums in place until study results become available.

Having taken what is probably the lead on the matter, the US Environmental Protection Agency (whose decisions may have affects worldwide) has launched a study on the effects of shale gas development and the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources (click here to learn more), the results of which are expected in early 2014. A number of similar studies have been launched by some of the US states and by some Canadian provinces. The Province of Nova Scotia began such a similar study in 2011.

In late August 2013, the Province of Nova Scotia dropped the study started in 2011 and instead commissioned an independent review of the effects of hydraulic fracturing, which is to be headed by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler. It is to include public consultations, creation of a panel of experts, and will run well into 2014 (click here to learn more).

The Maritime Petroleum Association has nominated Rick Gagne, President of earth-water Concepts inc., to be a member on the expert panel for the Wheeler review, for which selections are to be made in early 2014. Rick was nominated on the basis of his knowledge of Nova Scotia's geology, his knowledge of the groundwater resources in the province, his past experience as an oil and gas exploration and development geologist, and his ability and preference to seek and reach unbiased opinions that are based solely on sound scientific facts.

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earth-water Concepts. inc is retained to explore for a municipal groundwater source for Neil's Harbour, NS.
The County of Victoria has retained the services of earth-water Concepts inc. to explore for and help develop a new groundwater source to replace an existing surface water supply for the Village of Neil's Harbour in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. See more.
Efforts were made by others to develop a groundwater supply in roughly the same area in 1993-94, but those efforts were apparently unsuccessful and the existing surface water supply was constructed. However, due to the cost to treat surface drinking water per the latest Federal and Provincial requirements, the County of Victoria is considering replacing the surface water supply with a groundwater source, which is likely to need less costly treatment, if any.

We have identified several possible exploration drilling locations based on desktop reviews of the area geology and location of assumed fractures defined from topographic lineaments. The groundwater exploration area is on the north-east edge of the Cape Breton Highland's Aspy Terrane, and is underlain by the Black Brook granitic suite (it encompasses the bulk of the area but produces high uranium gamma counts in aerial surveys and was subject to uranium exploration in the past) and the much less expansive (but likely to contain less uranium) Neil's Harbour Gneiss, that is located mostly along the very edge of the ocean.

The challenge will be to obtain water in quantities that are large enough to meet the community's water demands plus provide for a contingency backup supply, that is both low enough in uranium to avoid or reduce the need for costly treatment, and which is far enough away from the ocean and the community to avoid possible salt-water encroachment and potential human affects on water quality.

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We launch our new Web Site to celebrate 12 years in business!
earth-water Concepts inc. was incorporated twelve years ago, and it's principal started in private practice twenty years ago in 1993. See more.
We have designed our new Web site in a way that we hope you will find informative and will give you similar browsing experiences whether you are visiting us from your mobile devise or your desktop computer. Should you find this is not so, or should you find any broken links, or if you would like recommend how you think we might be able to improve your browsing experience while visiting our Web site, please contact us to let us know.

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Other industry news

17 California communities running low on water...
Several recent news articles have been describing what can unfortunately happen when communities develop in locations where their growth can exceed nature's ability to sustain them. This is why we advocate the use of proper drought and contingency supply planning in our water resources assessment and development projects. Spending a little more up front to learn about nature's limitations and how to work with them, can in the long-term pay large dividends that easily offset initial research costs. Click here to read the latest article.

Surface water and groundwater are closely related...
Study looks at groundwater transport flows and effects on estuaries in the Mississippi River Delta.
A new study, “Pathways and processes associated with the transport of groundwater in deltaic systems,” led by Alex Kolker, Ph.D., suggests that additional fresh water from the Mississippi River is introduced into its estuaries as submarine groundwater discharge through sandy paleochannels buried beneath the muddy delta surface. These findings may have important implications for the ecology of the estuaries adjacent to the Mississippi River, which may also be the case for other rivers of the world. Much like rivers, submarine groundwater delivers fresh water, nutrients, and metals to coastal waters. However, it is often invisible, as the water seeps through permeable sediments rather than moving through channels on the surface, and submarine groundwater was found to be a major source of fresh water into the bay. Click here to read the full article.

Widely Used Index May Have Overestimated Drought

Scientists have used sophisticated instruments and computer models to predict the nature of droughts for decades. With the threat of climate change looming large, the majority of these models have steadily predicted an increasingly frequent and severe global drought cycle. But a recent study from a team of researchers at Princeton University and the Australian National University suggests that one of these widely used tools;the Palmer Drought Severity Index, developed in the 1960's, may be incorrect. Click here to read the full article.

USGS Fears Land Sinking Due to Overpumped Groundwater in California
The Fresno Bee in Fresno, California, reports due to so much groundwater being pumped from the San Joaquin Valley it's causing a massive swath of Merced County's surface to sink at an alarming rate, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The story states parts of Merced near El Nido have dropped more than 21 inches in just two years. And researchers warn the deepening sinkhole now is spreading across 1200 square miles. Click here to read the full article.

Minnesota DNR Groundwater Study Increases Worries for Future of Wells
The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reports a Department of Natural Resources plan to limit the increasing use of limited groundwater has local officials concerned that approvals for new wells may be harder to secure. Anoka County recently asked the DNR to update local officials on its efforts to set up pilot groundwater management areas, including one in the northeast metro covering Ramsey and Washington counties and part of Anoka County. The DNR is seeing signs that groundwater levels are dropping in some areas near White Bear Lake and that may be affecting the declining water level there and at a few other lakes in northern Washington County. Click here to read the full article.