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RULE §330.421Monitor Well Construction Specifications

(a) Monitoring well construction. Monitoring well construction shall provide for maintenance of the integrity of the bore hole, collection of representative groundwater samples from the water-bearing zone(s) of concern, and prevention of migration of groundwater and surface water within the bore hole. The following specifications must be used for the installation of groundwater monitoring wells at municipal solid waste landfills. Equivalent alternatives to these specifications may be used if prior written approval is obtained in advance from the executive director.

  (1) Drilling.

    (A) Monitoring wells must be drilled by a Texas-licensed driller who is qualified to drill and install monitoring wells. The installation and development shall be supervised by a licensed professional geoscientist or engineer who is familiar with the geology of the area.

    (B) The well shall be drilled by a method that will allow installation of the casing, screen, etc., and that will not introduce contaminants into the borehole or casing. Drilling techniques used for boring shall take into account the materials to be drilled, depth to groundwater, total depth of the hole, adequate soil sampling, and other such factors that affect the selection of the drilling method. If any fluids are necessary in drilling or installation, then clean, treated city water shall be used; other fluids must be approved in writing by the executive director before use. If city water is used, a current chemical analysis of the city water shall be provided with the monitor-well report.

    (C) The diameter of the boring shall be at least four inches larger than the diameter of the casing. When the boring is in hard rock, a smaller annulus may be approved by the executive director.

    (D) A log of the boring shall be made by or under the supervision of a licensed professional geoscientist or engineer who is familiar with the geology of the area, and shall be sealed, signed, and dated by the licensed professional.

  (2) Casing, screen, filter pack, and seals.

    (A) The well casing shall be: two to four inches in diameter; National Science Foundation-certified polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Schedule 40 or 80 pipe, flush-thread, screw joint (no glue or solvents); polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE, such as Teflon) tape or O-rings in the joints; no collar couplings. The top of the casing shall be at least two feet above ground level. Where high levels of volatile organic compounds or corrosive compounds are anticipated, stainless steel or PTFE casing and screen may be used, subject to approval by the executive director. Four-inch diameter casing is recommended because it allows larger volume samples to be obtained and provides easier access for development, pumps, and repairs. The casing shall be cleaned and packaged at the place of manufacture; the packaging shall include a PVC wrapping on each section of casing to keep it from being contaminated prior to installation. The casing shall be free of ink, labels, or other markings. The casing (and screen) shall be centered in the hole to allow installation of a good filter pack and annular seal. Centralizers are recommended on wells over six meters (20 feet) in length, but may not be needed if the wells are installed through hollow-stem augers. The top of the casing shall be protected by a threaded or slip-on top cap or by a sealing cap or screw-plug seal inserted into the top of the casing. The cap shall be vented to prevent buildup of methane or other gases and shall be designed to prevent moisture from entering the well.

    (B) The screen shall be compatible with the casing and should generally be of the same material. The screen shall not involve the use of any glues or solvents for construction. A wire-wound screen is recommended to provide maximum inflow area. Field-cut slots are not permitted for well screen. Filter cloth shall not be used. A blank-pipe sediment trap, typically one to two feet, should be installed below the screen. A bottom cap is typically placed on the bottom of the sediment trap. The sediment trap shall not extend through the lower confining layer of the water-bearing zone being tested. Screen sterilization methods are the same as those for casing. Selection of the size of the screen opening should be done by a person experienced with such work and shall include consideration of the distribution of particle sizes both in the water-bearing zone and in the filter pack surrounding the screen. The screen opening shall not be larger than the smallest fraction of the filter pack.

    (C) The filter pack, placed between the screen and the well bore, shall consist of prepackaged, inert, clean silica sand or glass beads; it shall extend from one to four feet above the top of the screen. Open stockpile sources of sand or gravel are not permitted. The filter pack usually has a 30% finer grain size that is about four to ten times larger than the 30% finer grain size of the water-bearing zone; the filter pack should have a uniformity coefficient less than 2.5. The filter pack should be placed with a tremie pipe to ensure that the material completely surrounds the screen and casing without bridging. The tremie pipe shall be steam cleaned prior to the first well and before each subsequent well.

    (D) The annular seal shall be placed on top of the filter pack and shall be at least two feet thick. It should be placed in the zone of saturation to maintain hydration. The seal should be composed of coarse-grain sodium bentonite, coarse-grit sodium bentonite, or bentonite grout. Special care should be taken to ensure that fine material or grout does not plug the underlying filter pack. Placement of a few inches of prepackaged clean fine sand on top of the filter pack will help to prevent migration of the annular seal material into the filter pack. The seal should be placed on top of the filter pack with a steam-cleaned tremie pipe to ensure good distribution and should be tamped with a steam-cleaned rod to determine that the seal is thick enough. The bentonite shall be hydrated with clean water prior to any further activities on the well and left to stand until hydration is complete (eight to 12 hours, depending on the grain size of the bentonite). If a bentonite-grout (without cement) casing seal is used in the well bore, then it may replace the annular seal described in this paragraph.

    (E) A casing seal shall be placed on top of the annular seal to prevent fluids and contaminants from entering the borehole from the surface. The casing seal shall consist of a commercial bentonite grout or a cement-bentonite mixture. Drilling spoil, cuttings, or other native materials are not permitted for use as a casing seal. Quick-setting cements are not permitted for use because contaminants may leach from them into the groundwater. The top of the casing seal shall be between five and two feet from the surface.

  (3) Concrete pad. High-quality structural-type concrete shall be placed from the top of the casing seal (two to five feet below the surface) continuously to the top of the ground to form a pad at the surface. This formed surface pad shall be at least six inches thick and not less than four (preferably six) feet square or five (preferably six) feet in diameter. The pad shall contain sufficient reinforcing steel to ensure its structural integrity in the event that soil support is lost. The top of the pad shall slope away from the well bore to the edges to prevent ponding of water around the casing or collar.

  (4) Protective collar. A steel protective pipe collar shall be placed around the casing "stickup" to protect it from damage and unwanted entry. The collar shall be set at least one foot into the surface pad during its construction and should extend at least three inches above the top of the well casing (and top cap, if present). The top of the collar shall have a lockable hinged top flap or cover. A sturdy lock shall be installed, maintained in working order, and kept locked when the well is not being bailed/purged or sampled. The well number or other designation shall be marked permanently on the protective steel collar; it is useful to mark the total depth of the well and its elevation on the collar.

  (5) Protective barrier. Where monitoring wells are likely to be damaged by moving equipment or are located in heavily traveled areas, a protective barrier shall be installed. A typical barrier is three or four six- to 12-inch diameter pipes set in concrete just off the protective pad. The pipes can be joined by pipes welded between them, but consideration must be given to well access for sampling and other activities. Separation of such a pipe barrier from the pad means that the barrier can be damaged without risk to the pad and well. Other types of barriers may be approved by the executive director.

(b) Unusual conditions. Where monitoring wells are installed in unusual conditions, all aspects of the installation shall be approved in writing in advance by the executive director. Such aspects include, for example, the use of cellar-type enclosures for the top-well equipment or multiple completions in a single hole.

(c) Development. After a monitoring well is installed, it shall be developed to remove artifacts of drilling (clay films, bentonite pellets in the casing, etc.) and to open the water-bearing zone for maximum flow into the well. Development should continue until all of the water used or affected during drilling activities has been removed and field measurements of pH, specific conductance, and temperature have stabilized. Failure to develop a well properly may mean that it is not properly monitoring the water-bearing zone or may not yield adequate water for sampling even though the water-bearing zone is prolific.

(d) Location and elevation. Upon completion of a monitoring well, the location of the well and all appropriate elevations associated with the top-well equipment shall be surveyed by a registered professional surveyor. The elevation shall be surveyed to the nearest 0.01 foot above mean sea level (with year of the sea-level datum shown). The point on the well casing for which the elevation was determined shall be permanently marked on the casing. The location shall be given in terms of the latitude and longitude at least to the nearest tenth of a second or shall be accurately located with respect to the landfill grid system described in §330.143(b)(5) of this title (relating to Landfill Markers and Benchmark).

(e) Reporting. Monitoring well installation and construction details must be submitted on forms available from the commission and must be completed and submitted within 60 days of well completion. A copy of the detailed geologic log of the boring, a description of development procedures, any particle size or other sample data from the well, and a site map drawn to scale showing the location of all monitoring wells and the point of compliance must be submitted to the executive director at the same time. The licensed driller should be familiar with the forms required by other agencies; a copy of those forms must also be submitted to the commission.

(f) Damaged wells. Any monitoring well that is damaged to the extent that it is no longer suitable for sampling shall be reported to the executive director, who may make a determination about whether to repair or replace the well.

(g) Plugging and abandonment. Any monitoring well that is no longer used shall be properly abandoned and plugged in accordance with 16 TAC §76.702 (relating to Responsibilities of the Licensee and Landowner--Well Drilling, Completion, Capping and Plugging) and §76.1004 (relating to Technical Requirements--Standards for Capping and Plugging of Wells and Plugging Wells that Penetrate Undesirable Water or Constituent Zones). No abandonment shall take place without prior authorization in writing by the executive director.

Source Note: The provisions of this §330.421 adopted to be effective March 27, 2006, 31 TexReg 2502

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