The Waterloo System is used to obtain groundwater samples, hydraulic head measurements and permeability measurements from many discretely isolated zones in a single borehole. The Waterloo System originated with Dr. John Cherry at the Groundwater Institute of the University of Waterloo in 1984. Ongoing development of the System by Solinst has taken place on a continuous basis since then, with encouragement and suggestions from Dr. Cherry.
*Manufactured under exclusive license from the University of Waterloo. Canadian Patent #1232836
U.S. Patent #5048605 & International Patents.
When a number of Waterloo Systems are used at a site, they allow detailed three-dimensional groundwater information to be obtained at a reasonable cost. Fewer drilled holes are an advantage and monitoring times are reduced. The simple modular system is customized for the needs of each project. This allows monitoring zones to be placed at desired depths using options suitable for either bedrock, overburden or combination applications and with either permanent or removable systems. Discrete zone monitoring is the only means of obtaining accurate data for site interpretation and assessments. Transects of multilevels provide the detailed data necessary to calculate mass flux and conservatively assess risk to receptors.
Superior quality of data is obtained when monitoring a series of discrete isolated intervals at various depths in a single borehole. The detailed information provided by Multilevels in the form of horizontal and vertical flow, in conjunction with discrete zone sampling for contaminants, is ideal for accurate site assessments.
The System uses modular components which form a sealed casing string of various casing lengths, packers, ports, a base plug and a surface manifold. This allows accurate placement of ports at precise monitoring zones.
Monitoring tubes attached to the stem of each port individually connect that monitoring zone to the surface. The standard system is built on 2" (50 mm) Sch. 80 PVC to fit 3"- 4” (75 - 100 mm) boreholes and uses 3 ft. (915 mm) long packers. Stainless steel components, custom packer materials and sizes, Teflon® tubing are available.
The patented method of joining components of the Waterloo System uses a nylon shear wire and an o-ring. This gives reliable, leakproof joints so that the core of the Waterloo casing string is isolated from external formation waters. Groundwater is only accessible via the port stems and attached monitoring equipment. This water-tight seal also prevents contact between packer inflation water inside the casing and the formation water outside the casing.
*US Patent 5,255,945 ®Teflon is a registered trade-mark of the Dupont Corporation.
The manifold completes the system at surface. It organizes, identifies, and coordinates the tubes and/or cables from each monitoring zone.
The manifold allows connection to each transducer in turn, and a simple, one-step connection for operation of pumps. When dedicated pumps are selected, it allows individual zones to be purged separately, or purging of many zones simultaneously to reduce field times.
Monitoring ports are constructed from 316 stainless steel. Ports are isolated by packers at each desired monitoring zone and are individually connected to the surface manifold with narrow diameter tubing. Thus formation water enters the port, passes into the stem, up into the monitoring tube attached to the stem, to its static level.
A sampling pump or pressure transducer may be dedicated to each monitoring zone by attachment to the port stem. Dual stem ports are available to allow both sampling and hydraulic head measurements from the same port. Alternatively, the monitoring tubes may be left open to allow sampling and hydraulic head measurements with portable equipment. For installations in silty deposits there are special sampling ports with extra screening to prevent silt entry into the port.
Dedicated equipment reduces the time and effort required to obtain data, as equipment is not lowered down the borehole and purge volumes are reduced. It gives significant cost savings and avoids cross contamination.
For long term or frequent sampling Waterloo Systems most commonly use the gas drive, Solinst Double Valve Pumps with stainless steel and Teflon® valves. A pump is connected directly to the stem of each port and dual line polyethylene or Teflon® tubing connects the pump to the wellhead manifold.
Both automatic and manual pump control units are simple to use. They have quick-connect couplings with only a single connection to the manifold required. Samples from all levels are easily and rapidly obtained. Purging from some or all levels simultaneously is accommodated by the multi-purge feature of the manifold.
Low Flow Purging and Sampling
Purge volumes are very small due to the small annular space and tubing diameters used in the system. Consequently sampling is rapid, even though flows are low, especially with dedicated pumps when all zones can be purged simultaneously.
Dedicated Bladder and Double Valve Pumps, (DVP), as well as a portable DVP are ideal for use when low flow sampling and purging techniques are desired.
Portable Micro Double Valve Pump
The Micro Double Valve Pump (Micro DVP) provides high quality samples, uses coaxial Teflon® tubing, and is small enough to fit in 1/2” (13 mm) ID tubing. The unique combination of flexibility and size make the pump ideal for sampling at depth in small flexible tubes.
Dedicated pressure transducers allow rapid and accurate measurement of temperature and total water pressure. Unless static water levels are shallow, transducers are the preferred method of water level measurement, both from an efficiency and an accuracy point of view.
The transducers chosen for use in the Waterloo System are vibrating wire transducers, which are very accurate and rugged. They have superior long term operation with minimal drift over time. They can be read with a manual readout, or with a datalogger which can provide remote, unattended monitoring and telemetry, if desired. Transducers are available with pressure ranges from 50 psi to 500 psi. (7.25 kPa to 72.5 kPa).
Portable Monitoring Equipment
Water level measurements can be made in Waterloo ports fitted with an open tube using the narrow, Solinst Model 102, P1 Water Level Meter. It has a weighted, flexible probe, 1/4" OD by 1.5” long (6.35mm x 38 mm). Sampling may be performed in open tubes using a Mini Inertial Pump, Micro Double Valve Pump, or a Peristaltic Pump.
Designing Your System
The options chosen for each System will be site and application specific.
Each design is dependent on:
Refer to the drawings below, then select the type of installation that suits your project. Consider the size and depth of each borehole, and whether casing is to be present. Decide if permanent or temporary Systems are preferred, the number of zones and depth of each zone per System, the monitoring options preferred, and any special materials required.
During development of your plans, the Solinst technical staff will be pleased to help evaluate the options and customize a System that best suits your needs.
Waterloo Systems have been used to monitor:
The Waterloo System has been specified by various industries and consultants for numerous sites across the United States, Canada and overseas. Waterloo Systems have been specified and approved at several sites with Superfund or RCRA designations and in each of the U.S. E.P.A. regions.
The System has been used for:
The effectiveness of the Waterloo System is proven by its ability to accurately and repeatedly obtain pressure and groundwater chemistry data from several distinct zones in a single borehole. The data set below shows a decrease in Total BTEX contamination due to ongoing pump and treat operations at an oil pipeline leak.
Underground oil pipeline leak assessment. Three 150 ft. (45m) installations. Two point rising head permeability tests were conducted in each interval of the Multilevel System.