Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 119–131 | Cite as

Impact of chemical clogging on de-watering well productivity: numerical assessment

  • F. LarroqueEmail author
  • M. Franceschi
Original Article


Among the processes leading to a decrease in productivity, chemical clogging is often mentioned as one of the major features. De-watering of a confined aquifer caused by an unsuitable pumping scheme produces a phenomenon involving the diffusion of oxygen in the aquifer which disturbs the geochemical conditions in the initial system. Coupled chemical and transport processes are proposed in an assessment of the impact of de-watering on the precipitation of carbonate and iron oxide. The reactions are studied for waters showing low dissolved iron concentrations such as commonly observed in drinking water supplies. The quantity and distribution of precipitated iron oxide and calcium carbonate are used in a permeability model to calculate the productivity loss. For the conditions used in the simulations, the carbonate precipitate can be neglected compared to iron deposits which remain weak. The spatial distribution is heterogeneous and quite similar to the patterns observed in the field. This shape is mainly caused by a competition between the diffusion of oxygen due to the de-watering process and the rate of precipitation of iron oxide. However, the loss of well productivity remains moderate. It is clearly shown that de-watering of the well and the associated chemical incrustations that this induces cannot alone explain field data. More complex processes involving biological clogging and accurate hydrodynamic behaviour in the closest part of the well remain to be included in the modelling approach in order to provide valuable insights into the problem of well ageing.


Ground water De-watering well Well productivity Clogging 


  1. Andre L (2002) Contribution de la géochimie à la connaissance des écoulements souterrains profonds—application à l’aquifère des Sables Infra-Molassiques, PhD thesis, Bordeaux 3Google Scholar
  2. Barrash W, Clemo T, Fox JJ, Johnson TC (2006) Field, laboratory, and modeling investigation of the skin effect at wells with slotted casing, Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site. J Hydrol 326:181–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bear J (1979) Hydraulics of Groundwater. Mcgraw-Hill, New York Google Scholar
  4. Boggs JM, Young SC, Beard LM, Gelhar LW, Rehfeldt KR, Adams EE (1992) Field study of dispersion in a heterogeneous aquifer, 1, overview and site description. Water Resour Res 28:3281–3291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brovelli A, Malaguerra F, Barry D (2009) Bioclogging in porous media: model development and sensitivity to initial conditions. Environ Model Softw 24:611–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Douez O (2007) Réponse d’un système aquifère multicouche aux variations paléclimatiques et aux sollicitations anthropiques—approche par modélisation couplée hydrodynamique, thermique et géochimique, PhD thesis, Bordeaux 3Google Scholar
  7. Driscoll FG (1986) Groundwater and wells. Reynolds Guyar, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Durlofsky LJ (2000) An approximate model for well productivity in heterogeneous porous media. Math Geol 32:421–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emmanuel S, Berkowitz B (2005) Mixing-induced precipitation and porosity evolution in porous media. Adv Water Resour 28:337–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Freedman VL, Saripalli KP, Bacon DH, Meyer PD (2005) Implementation of biofilm permeability models for mineral reactions in saturated porous media. Comput Geosci 31:968–977CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gelhar LW, Welty C, Rehfeldt KR (1992) A critical review of data on field-scale dispersion in aquifers. Water Resour Res 28:1955–1974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Han G, Dusseault MB (2003) Description of fluid flow around a wellbore with stress-dependent porosity and permeability. J Petrol Sci Eng 40:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hitchon B (2000) “Rust” contamination of formation waters from producing wells. Appl Geochem 15:1527–1533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Houben GJ (2003a) Iron oxyde incrustations in wells. Part 1. Genesis, mineralogy and geochemistry. Appl Geochem 18:927–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Houben GJ (2003b) Iron oxyde incrustations in wells. Part 2. Chemical dissolution and modeling. Appl Geochem 18:941–954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Houben GJ (2004) Modeling the buildup of iron oxide encrustations in wells. Ground Water 42:78–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Houben GJ (2006) The influence of well hydraulics on the spatial distribution of well incrustations. Ground Water 44:668–675Google Scholar
  18. Houben G, Treskatis C (2007) Water well—rehabilitation and reconstruction. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Houben GJ, Weihe U (2009) Spatial distribution of incrustations around a water well after 38 years of use. Ground Water. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2009.00641.x
  20. Hsieh PA, Winston RB (2002) User’s guide to model viewer, a program for three-dimensional visualization of ground-water model results. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-106Google Scholar
  21. Kipp KL (1987) HST3D: a computer code for simulation of heat and solute transport in three-dimensional ground-water flow systems. US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4095Google Scholar
  22. Larroque F (2004) Gestion globale d’un système aquifère complexe—application à l’ensemble multicouche nord-médocain, PhD thesis, Bordeaux 3Google Scholar
  23. Larroque F, Treichel W, Dupuy A (2008) Use of unit response functions for management of regional multilayered aquifers: application to the north aquitaine tertiary system (France). Hydrogeol J 16:215–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leung CM, Jiao J, Malpas J, Chan W, Wang Y (2005) Factors affecting the groundwater chemistry in a highly urbanized coastal area in Hong Kong: an example from the mid-levels area. Environ Geol 48:480–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li L, Benson CH, Lawson EM (2005) Impact of mineral fouling on hydraulic behaviour of permeable reactive barriers. Ground Water 43:582–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li L, Benson CH, Lawson EM (2006) Modeling porosity reductions caused by mineral fouling in continuous-wall permeable reactive barriers. J Contam Hydrol 83:89–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Millero FJ (1985) The effect of ionic interactions on the oxidation of metals in natural waters. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 49:547–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Millero FJ, Sotolongo S, Izaguirre M (1987) The oxidation kinetics of Fe(II) in seawater. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 51:793–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parkhurst D, Appelo CA (1999) User’s guide to PHREEQC (Version 2): a computer program for speciation, reaction path, 1D-transport and inverse geochemical calculations. US Geological Survey Water Investigation Report, pp 99–4259Google Scholar
  30. Parkhurst DL, Kipp KL, Engesgaard P, Charlton SR (2004) PHAST—a program for simulating ground-water flow, solute transport, and multicomponent geochemical reactions. US Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 6-A8Google Scholar
  31. Plummer LN, Wigley TM, Parkhurst DL (1978) The kinetics of calcite dissolution in CO2-water systems at 5° to 60°C and 0.0 to 1.0 atm CO2. Am J Sci 278:179–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Powers JP, Corwin AB, Schmall PC, Kaeck WE (2007) Long-term dewatering systems construction dewatering and groundwater control, 3rd edn. Wiley, USA, pp 572–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saripalli KP, Meyer PD, Bacon DH (2001) Changes in hydrologic properties of aquifer media due to chemical reactions: a review. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 31:311–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Singer LN, Stumm W (1970) The solubility of ferrous iron in carbonate-bearing waters. J Am Water Works Assoc 62:202–298Google Scholar
  35. Soleimani S, Geel PJ, Isgor OB, Mostafa MB (2009) Modeling of biological clogging in unsaturated porous media. J Contam Hydrol 106:39–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stuetz RM, McLaughlan RG (2004) Impact of localised dissolved iron concentrations on the biofouling of environementals wells. Water Sci Technol 49:107–113Google Scholar
  37. Sun NZ (1996) Mathematical modeling of groundwater pollution. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Sung W, Morgan JL (1980) Kinetics and product of ferrous iron oxygenation in aqueous systems. Environ Sci Technol 14:561–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tamura H, Goto G, Nagayama M (1976) The effect of ferric hydroxide on the oxygenation of ferrous ions in neutral solutions. Corros Sci 16:197–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Thullner M, Schroth MH, Zeyer J, Kinzelbach W (2004) Modeling of a microbial growth experiment with bioclogging in a two-dimensional saturated porous media flow field. J Contam Hydrol 70:37–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Walter DA (1997) Geochemistry and microbiology of Iron-related well-screen encrustation and aquifer biofouling in Suffolk County, US Geological Survey Water Resource Investigate Report, Long-island, 97-4032Google Scholar
  42. Winston RB (2006) GoPhast: a graphical user interface for PHAST. US Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 6-A20Google Scholar
  43. Wu J, Wu Y, Lu J (2008) Laboratory study of the clogging process and factors affecting clogging in a tailings dam. Environ Geol 54:1067–1074CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EA GHYMAC n°4134 EGIDUniversité de BordeauxPessacFrance

Personalised recommendations