Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM
INTEGRATING GROUNDWATER MODELING IN FRAC SAND EXPLORATION AND PERMITTING
Groundwater issues associated with industrial sand mines have typically gotten more attention in Minnesota than in Wisconsin. However, the growth of the industry has brought additional attention, and proposed new mines are now receiving more scrutiny than previously. Regulators in Wisconsin increasingly expect that groundwater models will be used to evaluate the potential impacts of proposed mining projects. As the use of groundwater models grows, it is important to identify early in a project whether a groundwater model will be required and if so, what purpose it will serve. Groundwater models originally built for the purpose of evaluating water quantity impacts often become integral to mine planning and mine water balance calculations. If not constructed with these ancillary purposes in mind, the model may not be suitable to address these issues. By identifying the need for a groundwater model early in a project, field data collection and model development can be assimilated with resource evaluation, mine planning, and permitting efforts. As a result, more value can be gained from the drilling footage, potential impacts can be identified earlier, and the planned mine water balance will be more realistic, thereby decreasing the likelihood of delays during permitting. Project examples will be presented that demonstrate the type of data which is needed for groundwater models and illustrate how early planning for groundwater models can save time and money during later phases of a project.