Water Monitoring - Idaho National Laboratory

Science Center Objects

We monitor groundwater and surface-water quality as well as streamflow and reservoir levels at nine surface-water sites.

Water samples are collected and analyzed for selected common ions, trace elements, nutrients, radiochemical constituents, and organic compounds. Samples are analyzed by the Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory and the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory.

Since 1966, we've archived "raw" samples from each of our groundwater and surface water monitoring events. These samples are available to researchers.

MULTILEVEL MONITORING SYSTEMS

Since 2005, we've been collecting samples from eleven monitoring wells that are equipped with multilevel Westbay™ systems. These wells are completed in the upper 350 to 700 feet of the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer. The multilevel systems include four to seven sampling ports that are isolated by permanent packers. See our latest USGS multilevel monitoring report for a detailed diagram of the system.

Scientists collect unmixed water samples from discrete levels—or zones—of the aquifer which are analyzed for selected common ions, trace elements, nutrients, radiochemical constituents, and stable isotopes.

In an article published in Ground Water Monitoring & Remediation, we tested whether tracer put in drill water could still be detected from monitoring zones after the multilevel monitoring well was completed. Results did show that the tracer remained in some zones in very small amounts, but that as long as sample ports were completed in vesicular and fractured rock, it was not detectable.