Fractured Rock and Eastern Groundwater Conference: A Brief Commentary

Contributed by Dave Peterson, Principal Hydrologist at REGENESIS

Burlington, Vermont is not a bad place to be in late September, and this year I happened to be there for the National Groundwater Association’s (NGWA) Conference on Fractured Rock and Eastern Groundwater Issues.  The uniquely regional focus of this drew a modest crowd of about 300 people including key subject matter experts from the University of Guelph in Ontario and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Additionally, there was an international group of contributors presenting on investigation sites from a number of regions within a few different countries.  In the context of previous NGWA Fractured Rock Conferences this year there seemed to be a greater emphasis on bedrock groundwater remediation through enhanced bioremediation. A number of other talks presented the use of DFN Analysis (Discrete Fracture Network) as a more realistic approach to understanding and simulating the connectivity of rock fractures, faults and joints in the subsurface. It was also interesting to see how rock cores from various remediation sites are being sent to laboratories to be tested for sorbed contamination held within the rock matrix.

Finally, two of the more critical take-home messages from this conference that I noted are:

  1. Matrix diffusion is a critical issue in bedrock and fractured flow environments since it is primarily one-way into the rock.
  2.  Many porous media hydraulic evaluation techniques are useful for evaluating fractured rock environments.

In the event you’d like to discuss this event or any of my comments please e-mail me at