Robowell is an automated process for monitoring selected ground water quality properties and constituents by pumping a well or multilevel sampler. Robowell was developed and tested to provide a cost-effective monitoring system that meets protocols expected for manual sampling. The process uses commercially available electronics, instrumentation, and hardware, so it can be configured to monitor ground water quality using the equipment, purge protocol, and monitoring well design most appropriate for the monitoring site and the contaminants of interest. A Robowell prototype was installed on a sewage treatment plant infiltration bed that overlies a well-studied unconfined sand and gravel aquifer at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, during a time when two distinct plumes of constituents were released. The prototype was operated from May 10 to November 13, 1996, and quality-assurance/quality-control measurements demonstrated that the data obtained by the automated method was equivalent to data obtained by manual sampling methods using the same sampling protocols. Water level, specific conductance, pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and dissolved ammonium were monitored by the prototype as the wells were purged according to U.S Geological Survey (USGS) ground water sampling protocols. Remote access to the data record, via phone modem communications, indicated the arrival of each plume over a few days and the subsequent geochemical reactions over the following weeks. Real-time availability of the monitoring record provided the information needed to initiate manual sampling efforts in response to changes in measured ground water quality, which proved the method and characterized the screened portion of the plume in detail through time. The methods and the case study described are presented to document the process for future use.
Additional publication details
Robowell: An automated process for monitoring ground water quality using established sampling protocols