Iron-hydroxide clogging of public supply wells receiving artificial recharge: near-well and in-well hydrological and hydrochemical observations

Diego A. Bustos Medina, Gerard A. van den Berg, Boris M. van Breukelen, Maria Juhasz-Holterman, Pieter J. Stuyfzand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Clogging of water wells by iron-hydroxide incrustations due to mixing of anoxic and oxic groundwater is a common well-ageing problem. The relation between well operation (on and off), the spatial and temporal variations in hydrochemistry outside and inside a supply well, and the distribution of clogging iron-hydroxides were studied in an artificial recharge well field in the Netherlands. Camera inspection, high-resolution multi-level water sampling outside the well and detailed in-well pH/EC/O2 profiles revealed remarkable patterns. During pumping, the top of the upper well screen abstracted oxic filtrate, although the larger part of the in-well water column was anoxic. The column rapidly turned oxic after shutdown due to a downward short-circuiting of oxic water via the well. Within 15 d it became anoxic due to the slow advance of anoxic lake filtrate created by local changes in flow direction as the neighboring wells continued to pump. Severe clogging occurred where the oxic filtrate entered the well, while half-clogging of the upper well screen occurred due to less inflow of oxic filtrate on the lake side. Transport of iron flocs and bacterial slimes after shutdown seemed to clog the lower part of the well screen. Frequent on/off switching should be avoided in iron-clogged wells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393-1412
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Water supply
  • The Netherlands
  • Hydrochemistry
  • Iron-hydroxides
  • Well clogging

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