Groundwater

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Concerning water management in Hungary groundwater management plays a very significant part, since 96% of the available drinking water originates from groundwater (including bank filtration water supplies). Mineral waters, thermal waters and hot water for geothermic utilization spring from groundwater as well. Agricultural usage of groundwater as irrigation water has less significance.

Our activity consists of water research, engineering, licensing and construction in all fields of activity in water management, from water production to water supply protection.

Engineering, licensing and construction of new water supplies | bovebben

Currently there is an increased demand for the construction of mineral water and thermal water supply wells in Hungary. The idea of the replacement of drinking water supply wells due to water quality problems or ruin of the well arises, as well. Because of frequently occurring droughts, demand for irrigation wells also increases. In the last decades, utilization of geothermic heat is progressively rising in Hungary.

Preparatory to well drilling completion of a hydrogeological study in the area is needed to get acquainted with the detailed geological background of the area, depth and extent of the aquifer.

Before constructing the well, an application for water rights implementation permit must be received from the authorities: this is necessary for the licensing of the well. If the yield of the proposed well exceeds a limited quantity or the aquifer is already recharged by other wells or the construction of the well and the recharged water quantity may affect nature reserves an environmental impact study must be prepared.

After drilling the well a well log is prepared which is a requisite for well documentation.

Well documentation includes the data of construction (location and capacity of the well, water quality etc.). When the well documentation is finished, an application for operating licence must be applied for at the authorities.

o Hydrogeological research, positioning of supply wells
o Engineering, licensing and construction of water supply wells (drinking water, mineral water, thermal water, irrigation water)
o Well tests and well documentation
o Preliminary and detailed environmental impact study for well licensing

Research on geothermal energy; engineering of water supply facilities | bovebben

Geothermal heat is renewable energy, however when the heat is gained from deep thermal water aquifers the water must be injected back to the deep strata after utilization. Previous to construction of a geothermal well, a hydrogeological survey is needed in the area because the location and depth of the aquifer and tectonic zones must be specified. Based on the results of the survey a proposal can be made on the location of the wells.

Heat transport hydrodynamic modelling – which is one of the main activities of our firm – plays a significant role in geothermal research. The exploited thermal water must be re-injected to the aquifer after utilization. Re-injection of the water is a basic interest of water users because groundwater supply is very slow in great depths; over-utilization may result in exhaustion of the thermal aquifer and change of the groundwater system. The construction of injection wells is a special professional field of hydrogeology.

Determination of protection zones of water supplies | bovebben

According to the law (123/1997. (VII.28.) Government Regulation) the first step of securing a water supply is the specification of the protection zones. All further measures concern to the protection zones. The protection zones are specified by applying hydrodynamic numeric modelling according to travel time during groundwater and the solved contaminants get to the place of water abstraction. Modelling is based on the well test and hydrogeological measurements which explore the detailed geological background and hydrogeological conditions of the area.

The specification of the protection zones of different travel times serves the purpose of prevention and prohibition of possible future contamination of soil and groundwater.

• The inner wellhead protection zone (20 days travel time) serves the direct protection of the well and water resource from dilapidation and contamination
• The outer wellhead protection zone (a half year travel time) serves the protection against non-degradable, degradable and microbiological contaminations
• The function of hydrogeological ‘A’ (5 years travel time) and hydrogeological ‘B’ (50 years travel time) protection zones is protection from non-degradable contaminations

At the end of the procedure a land registry documentation of the protection zones is completed.

o Hydrodynamic modelling of protection zones of operating and newly constructed drinking water supplies; completion of land registry documentation
o Engineering and modelling of protection zones of mineral and thermal water producing wells

Water supply protection | bovebben

95% of the available drinking water originates from groundwater, mainly from vulnerable aquifers in Hungary. Vulnerability means that in most cases the aquifer consists of geological strata that are not protected from surface contamination mostly of human origin. Therefore the Hungarian Government proposed the implementation of a long-term protection of water supplies programme. The main goals of the programme are prevention of the groundwater from contamination of human origin and maintaining good groundwater quality in the recharge area of the water supplies.

The inner wellhead protection zone must be determined in case of all water supplies. The outer wellhead protection zone and hydrogeological protection zones and profiles must be delineated in case of vulnerable water supplies. In case of non-vulnerable water supplies and other drinking water abstractions (including mineral and medicinal waters) the later is not obligatory but the operator may request it.

Groundwater is the property of the Hungarian State. In order to protect groundwater and water supplies a governmental programme (“Diagnostic survey of vulnerable operating and long-range water supplies”) started in 1997 that involved 614 operating and 71 long-range water supplies. The diagnostic programme was funded by the State; the investors were water conservancy directorates. From 2008 the programme is funded by the EU in the framework of Environment and Energy Operational Programme (KEOP) KEOP 2.2.3. subprogram, when regional waterworks and municipalities became the beneficiaries of the projects.

According to the law, the first step of securing a water supply is specifying the protection zones. All further measures concern to the territory of protection zones.

The protection zones are specified by applying hydrodynamic numeric modelling according to the elapsed time during a water particle and the contaminants get to the place of water abstraction. Modelling is based on well test and hydrogeological measurements which explore the detailed geological background and hydrogeological conditions of the area.

In the framework of diagnostic investigations, a state survey is completed in the area of the protection zones in order to support to plan the necessary measures. In the beginning of the state survey, a reconnaissance is carried out for the assessment of land use and potential contaminant sources that may affect water quality in case of havaria. The contaminated areas are explored applying soil and groundwater sampling and composition analyses.

A water safety plan is completed on the basis of state survey that consists of the round of the duties that protect the water supply. Decision of the authorities is based on the water safety plan.

In order to ensure the protection of the supply wells, the inner wellhead protection zone must be the property of the state or municipality. In case of other protection zones the owner of the area is responsible for the regulations determined by the law.

If soil and groundwater pollution occur, the elimination of the contaminants is the duty of the responsible person or organization; its expenses debits responsible leaders, as well.

For the continuous monitoring of the quality and quantity of water resources a monitoring system is established in almost all cases of the water supplies.

o All-inclusive water supply diagnostics
o Determination of pollutant sources in the area of the water supplies; state surveys
o Completion of water supply safety plans
o Well tests, production optimization plans

Drinking water safety plans | bovebben

In accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) and based on risk analyses the National Institute of Environmental Health (OKI) regards construction and operation of Water Safety Plans as the most appropriate and most effective method for sustaining safe water supply. The base of the method is a comprehensive risk analysis considering all elements of the water supply.

The basic principles of water safety plans are support of “good” water supply practice on behalf of the user, minimizing the amount of potential contaminants in the water, reduction or removal of contaminants from the water applying water purification technologies and preventing possible contamination in the water-system. The guidelines of the method can be applied for all water supply systems regardless their extent and complexity.

Accredited water sampling, water quality assessments | bovebben

According to the law, decision making of the authorities must be based on data obtained from samples which were sampled using accreditation standards.

The Ltd. has sampling accreditation licence of the Hungarian Accreditation Board since 2001. The environmental sampling team is accredited for drinking water, surface water, groundwater and soil sampling. Currently sampling is carried out based on MSZ EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard.

Hydrodynamic and transport modelling | bovebben

SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. was one of the firsts who developed its computerized hydrodynamic modelling activity in Hungary. Hydrodynamic modelling simulates reality. In the last decade numeric modelling progressed a lot, three dimensional models take the part of the two dimensional models with visualization of much better quality.

Applied for the estimation of climate change induced effects, water resources quantity estimations, and determination of protection zones of water supplies in the course of our activity we completed groundwater flow models of many smaller or larger regions.

In order to model groundwater flow systems we use VISUAL MODFLOW, PROCESSING MODFLOW and FEFLOW softwares.

The most important achievement of the Ltd. is the development of a regional 3D heat transport and flow model for a thermal karst reservoir the first in Hungary.

Applying numeric hydrodynamic modelling, the spread of contaminants in the groundwater can be investigated, therefore it can be used for preparing environmental impact studies and technical intervention plans, as well.

Planning, licensing and construction of monitoring wells and monitoring well systems | bovebben

SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. is expansively trained in engineering, licensing, construction and operation of groundwater monitoring systems that are appropriate for detecting quality and quantity changes of human or natural origin of the groundwater.

Based on the character of the observed process, a monitoring system may consist of different objects (wells, yield measuring objects, piezometers, water quality measuring tools etc.). With operation of a monitoring system, the operators shall learn the possible quantity and quality problems of the groundwater and can take the proper measures to prevent further damage.

Applying remote transmitters connected to measuring tools set in the monitoring well on-line data (e.g. groundwater level, temperature, electric conductivity) processing is available. Besides saving expenses this method allows continuous data access.

Preparing a geoinformatic (GIS) data base is as an important task as data measuring. Our experts and information devices are competent in preparing and operating GIS data bases that meet the requirements of our clients.

Data evaluation, completion of prognoses, wording measures and preparing reports based on operative law are also included in our monitoring activity.

Construction and operation of GIS databases | bovebben

Appropriate decision making is based on sufficient available and reliable information. Reports, studies and plans are relying on good and retrievable data, as well. Data obtaining, geoinformatic (GIS) data base construction and data storage are as much important tasks as field measuring.

By means of an up-to-date informational system and our professional skills we prepare GIS data bases that meet the requirements of our clients.

Preparation of water management plans | bovebben

Continuous drinking water supply of excellent quality is a common demand of the society. Agricultural and industrial water demand is important, as well. We prefer medical and energetic use of thermal waters. Bottled mineral water is one of the basic products in the supermarkets. Besides social demands, water is essential for ecosystems as well; in terms of water management this is called ecological water demand.

Satisfying the water demand of different sources requires continuous back-to-back work of public bodies, authorities, water supply management and water management experts.

In order to ensure sufficient water supply for both the society and the ecosystems, a water management plan must be completed on the grounds of EU Water Framework Directive.