Real-time Groundwater Monitoring Around Natural Gas Drill Sites in Colorado

The Center for Energy Water Sustainability (CEWS) at Colorado State University, in partnership with Noble Energy, has developed a real-time groundwater monitoring system in the Denver-Julesburg basin of Colorado called the Colorado Water Watch (CWW).

The Colorado Water Watch is a state and privately funded program brought together by a team of engineers and scientists from the Center of Energy Water Sustainability, making it a neutral third party to measure the impact of natural gas drilling on the surrounding groundwater supplies.

The goal of the project is to gather groundwater monitoring data in real time, and analyze and report it in real or near-real time, depending on whether the data requires further evaluation. The project is designed to bridge the gap between fears about public health impacts caused by oil and natural gas development and the assumption that industry environmental and health practices are reliable.

To achieve this goal of real-time groundwater monitoring and transmission, the Colorado Water Watch employs the Hydrolab MS5 multiparameter sonde, OTT netDL data logger, and OTT ecoLog 800 groundwater level and conductivity sensor.  Click here to see live data from the project.

groundwater logger monitoring

Example of how data from the Hydrolab MS5 is sent to the OTT netDL data logger and transmitted to the CWW website.

 

OTT netDL Data Logger Video Series

Setting up any new data logger and connecting it to a sensor can be a daunting task for even experienced water measurement professionals, so we’ve created the OTT netDL Data logger setup and sensor connection video series! Below you’ll find step-by-step videos for setting up your data logger and connecting it to some of our popular sensors. For additional questions, please contact OTT Hydromet Technical Support.

OTT netDL Driver Installation

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Groundwater Monitoring Around Hydraulic Fracturing Drill Sites in Colorado

Hydraulic fracturing or ‘Fracking’ has become more prevalent and controversial in the US in recent years. More than 90 percent of new natural gas wells in the US are completed using this method. While it is endorsed by some as a game-changer that promises an increase in the nation’s economy due to energy independence, job creation, and lower energy prices; others are calling for a temporary moratorium or a complete ban on fracking due to environmental concerns.

To address this uncertainty and confusion, the Center for Energy Water Sustainability (CEWS) at Colorado State University has developed a real-time groundwater monitoring system in the Denver-Julesburg basin, called the Colorado Water Watch (CWW).This real-time system employs the Hydrolab MS5, OTT netDL data logger, and OTT ecoLog 800 groundwater level and conductivity sensor.

Colorado State University researchers evaluate a groundwater well around a hydraulic fracturing drill site.

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OTT Rain Gauges Used in Remote Precipitation Monitoring Stations in Andes Mountains

There are remote monitoring locations, and REMOTE monitoring locations!

Appalachian State University, in partnership with a multitude of other universities and the National Science Foundation, has undertaken the task of installing weather monitoring stations very high up in the Andes Mountains, on the Quelccaya Icecap (18,537 ft (5,650 m) ) in Peru and at Chacaltaya (16,929 ft (5,160 m) ) in Bolivia. Both stations included the OTT Pluvio2 Weighing Precipitation Gauge and the OTT Parsivel2 Weather Laser Disdrometer.

View of the installation site in Bolivia

View of the installation site in Bolivia

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An Introduction to Communication Modules for Water Resource Professionals

In systems that deliver water resource data to hydromet professionals, equipment within the system must communicate with each other. Systems consist of components like sensors, data loggers, control systems, and telemetry units. For data to be available, information such as measurement results, diagnostic data, and instructions for how and when to operate must be transferred between system components. Communication between the components within the system requires compatible connections and adherence to strict rules. Otherwise critical information may be lost or data communication may stop completely.

To allow communication efficiency and accuracy, rules are established so that elements of the system will link effectively. These rules of communication are referred to as communications protocols. Protocols exist for communicating through wired connections and telemetry. They may describe requirements for the system’s hardware, software, or both. Normally the rules establish things like common sets of commands, structure of messages, where and when to send information, how to acknowledge and verify communication, speed of transmission, one-way or two-way communication, connection standards, hardware specifications, power requirements, or more. Depending on the communications protocol, there may be more or fewer elements of the rules.

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