Breaking Down the Hydrogeological Assessment (Groundwater Quality) Process

Groundwater quality plays a crucial role in the health of the surrounding environment and it’s imperative that we do everything we can to protect it by minimising the impact of human activity. A hydrogeological assessment is key to preserving groundwater quality and identifying any possible contamination issues that may be present. In this article, we take a look at what the hydrogeological assessment process entails and what it aims to achieve.

What is it?

The hydrogeological assessment studies the geology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, and contamination of a site. This systematic assessment is designed to determine whether there is any existing groundwater contamination (and any risk associated) and well as whether a particular activity poses a potential risk to groundwater quality.

What is it used for?

The HA is used to build up a complex picture of the groundwater present on a site, it’s quality, whether any contamination is likely and present, where the contamination is coming from, and what risk it poses to the environment and the community.

What does the assessment process entail?

Like most environmental site assessments, a HA entails a phased approach and the scope of the assessment will depends on the specific needs and associated risks of a particular site. The first phase of an HA encompasses a desk study that establishes a hydrogeological model of groundwater flow. If contamination is established, then an initial assessment of the health and environmental risk of a site follows. Fieldwork begins in the next stage to improve the conceptual model if clarification is required, after which the risk levels are reassessed. The last phase is one of data reporting which will encompass the hydrogeological model, and site analysis.

At a minimum, every hydrogeological assessment encompasses a hydrogeology model of the site and the surrounding region, an assessment of the aquifer properties as well as the groundwater flow directions, rates, and paths, the identification of activities which pose a risk to groundwater quality. It will also include a detailed study of the concentration and distribution of any contamination found, a prediction of where the contamination will end up, and what risk it poses to the environment or human health.

Alpha Environmental offer groundwater assessment services for sites throughout Melbourne. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 9415 8002.