This Web site is an educational and outreach service of the Pennsylvania Ground Water Association, Inc.
A Preview of the PGWA Summer Field Conference
that will be held on June 13, 2014 in State College, PA.
By Todd Giddings, Ph.D., P.G., Education Committee Chairman
Stiff-Foam was successfully used to complete a residential water well in the caving overburden of the Gatesburg Formation just one mile from the 2014 Summer Field Conference site. No bedrock was encountered during the drilling of this 600-foot deep well. The Stiff-Foam cake covers an area of more than one-quarter acre.
Each year, for the past 12 years, the Pennsylvania Ground Water Association has held one-day, totally outdoor, summer field conferences that have had live demonstrations of drilling, casing, grouting, yield development, test pumping, hydrofracturing, and well decommissioning.
What will be demonstrated on Friday, June 13, 2014? We are going to demonstrate a third method of drilling through caving overburden using an air-rotary drill rig and Stiff-Foam. The purpose of this Stiff-Foam drilling demonstration is to show how to air-rotary drill through caving overburden while minimizing the collapse and caving erosion of the borehole wall.
In 2012 we demonstrated the case-as-you-drill method of air-rotary drilling through caving overburden, and in 2013 we demonstrated how to convert an air-rotary drill rig to mud-rotary drill through the same caving overburden. Both of these drilling methods usually guarantee success, while the Stiff-Foam air-rotary method does not have quite the same very high success rate. However, the Stiff-Foam air-rotary drilling method is easy and fast to set-up, and does not require any special equipment that the other two methods of drilling through caving overburden require.
The Stiff-Foam air-rotary drilling method uses a polymer that is mixed into the water that is injected into the air that operates the down-the-hole hammer and the water/air mixture cleans the button bit and carries the cuttings up the annular space around the drill rods. The polymer keeps the silt and clay and fine sand particles from aggregating into larger mud balls and coats the small particles in the cuttings to create a pseudo-wall-cake. A foaming agent is also mixed into the injected water and forms small, very long-lasting (hence the name Stiff-Foam) bubbles that help carry the small clay, silt, and sand particles up the annular space. The carrying capacity of the Stiff-Foam bubbles means that a much lower air volume (and a lower velocity in the annular space) is required to drill through the overburden. Hence the Stiff-Foam drilling method has been described as “tip-toeing” or drilling very gently through caving overburden.
The 2014 PGWA Summer Field Conference is being held at the same location as last year, next to the Home Depot store at the I-99, Route 220, and Route 322 Exit 69, located just west of State College. The Gatesburg Formation overburden at this site is a silty and clayey sand material that is notorious for its caving conditions and flowing sand zones. A large commercial geothermal loop field was constructed across the street from this demonstration site by using mud-rotary drilling to keep the geothermal boreholes from caving in before the loops were inserted and then grouted in place. The caving overburden conditions at this 2014 PGWA Summer Field Conference site will provide a very good challenge for the Stiff-Foam air-rotary drilling method that we will be demonstrating.
This Why attend these demonstrations? This Summer Field Conference program will demonstrate live procedures that you may only have read about in text books. By direct observation of these demonstrations, you will gain a much better understanding of the procedures. As each step in the Stiff-Foam air-rotary drilling is undertaken, it will be explained step-by-step, and there is always an opportunity for questions. There will also be tabletop product displays and large equipment displays at the 2014 Summer Field Conference.
Who should attend? This program is designed for anyone who wants to learn how Stiff-Foam air-rotary drilling works, and the program is especially designed for air-rotary water-well and geothermal drilling contractors who want to learn a new method to drill through caving overburden. This program will also be of interest to geologists, water-well owners, sanitarians, watershed specialists, hydrogeologists, water-supply regulators, municipal officials, planning commission members, members of watershed associations, and anyone else who is interested in learning about an advanced air-rotary drilling method. Equipment manufacturers and suppliers to the ground-water industry and the geothermal industry should also attend and take advantage of this opportunity to display their products.
Registration for an employee or member of any federal, state, or local government agency or entity, Master Well Owners, faculty, and students is FREE. The registration fee for PGWA members is $25, and the registration fee for non-members is $45. The PGWA Well Demonstration Site is located near State College and a map with driving directions will be available on the PGWA Web site. Mark your calendars to attend the 2014 PGWA Summer Field Conference on June 13, 2014. Paid registration forms and a free registration form will be posted on www.pgwa.org in April.
This Stiff-Foam air-rotary drilling demonstration program will provide 6 hours of PDH’s for Pennsylvania licensed Professional Geologists and licensed Professional Engineers. A Certificate of Participation will be provided upon request. Check back at www.pgwa.org for more details.
For hotel information and a location map with driving directions, check back soon.
To print a registration form for the Summer Field Conference and Trade Show, check back soon.
For a Trade Show exhibitor display table registration form, check back soon.
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