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June 08, 2012

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Test well to provide data for future projects

A test well installed at Fort McCoy in mid-May will provide data to determine the course of a number of future projects.

Mandy Radloff, the chief of the Fort McCoy Environmental Compliance Branch of the Environmental Division, said the Environmental Division worked with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey to install the well and investigate the geothermal properties of groundwater 1,000 feet below the ground surface. The well was installed by the Ground Source Inc., firm of De Pere, Wis.

PHOTO: Employees from Ground Source, Inc., monitor the progress of the installation of a test well at Fort McCoy. Photo by Rob Schuette
Employees from Ground Source, Inc., monitor the progress of the installation of a test well at Fort McCoy. Results from the testing will be used as input to help the post design future projects. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Data from the geothermal test well will be used to evaluate the potential for geothermal heating/cooling or even electricity generation, Radloff said.

Personnel from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey received a grant and contacted Fort McCoy to conduct the test.

Radloff said the organization would rather do such projects on government land. This avoids the appearance of favoritism of doing the testing on private land and potentially giving a private landowner a cost advantage over his neighbors in building a new well, for example.

“We also used the opportunity to gather information for the replacement of two drinking-water wells (at Fort McCoy),” Radloff said. “This allowed us to save money, rather than do it as a separate project.”

Michael Miller, Fort McCoy Water and Waste branch chief, said the water-quality testing is separate from the annual testing required to determine the quality and safety of drinking water.

“This testing will help us design the new wells to meet the most-recent standards and regulations,” Miller said. “The current wells are 70 years old and meet current drinking-water quality standards, but laws have changed, and to keep wells current with the new regulations, we will need new wells.”

“We will get the data from the testing over the next few months, and begin determining what it means for future military construction projects,” Radloff said.

After the information is obtained from the well, it will be abandoned in accordance with all environmental regulations, Radloff said.

Miller said depending upon the results from the test well, the new water wells likely will be constructed in the area at a future date.

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