Ready for Transfer

Arsenic-Reducing, Drought-Resistant Wells

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Laboratory:U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) New England Water Science Center

Technology: Safe, directional, drought-resistant dug well (SDDW), a newly designed shallow well that helps lower arsenic levels in water

Opportunity:The USGS is looking for a partner to further the commercialization of this technology through a license or a collaborative agreement.

Details:In New England, about 20 percent of the total population obtain water from their own private well. But this water often contains high levels of naturally occurring contaminants, such as arsenic, that could increase therisk for cancer and other health issues. Treatments that reduce exposure to arsenic are often expensive, andmany people do not treat, treat incorrectly, or do not maintain their treatment systems. The quality of water from the seldom-used shallow glacial aquifers that overlie the commonly used bedrock aquifer can provide a reliable, arsenic-free water supply. However, traditionally designed dug wells constructed in these sediments often yield little water and are susceptible to bacterial contamination. The SDDW is designed to solve these problems by providing high water yields without high arsenic levels and removingpathways for contamination.

The new USGS well design uses a trench filled with crushed stone, constructed in glacial sediment, in which a potable-water grade PVC well casing with horizontal collectors isinstalled. The constructed aquifer is capped by an impermeable geotextile fabric and covered with low-permeability materials to prevent bacterial contamination. The large volume of water that can collect in the constructed aquifer, along with the large vertical area through which groundwater can flow into the well, provides a much greater well yield than traditional dug wells, while maintaining sanitary conditions. The shallow groundwater, which is generally well-oxygenated and slightly acidic, inhibits arsenic mobility and provides clean water to the well.

Potential Applications: The SDDW is ideal for users who have problematic drilled bedrock wells or existing dug wells. Although developed with New England in mind, this design could be used on many glacial and non-glacial surficial aquifer deposits across the United States andinternationally.

Contact:Benjamin Henry, USGS Technology Transfer Specialist

For more about collaborations with the USGS, visit the agency's opportunities page.