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Significance and Use
5.1 Decommissioning of boreholes and monitoring wells, and other devices requires that the specific characteristics of each site be considered. The wide variety of geological, biological, and physical conditions, construction practices, and chemical composition of the surrounding soil, rock, waste, and groundwater precludes the use of a single decommissioning practice. The procedures discussed in this guide are intended to aid the geologist or engineer in selecting the tasks needed to plan, choose materials for, and carry out an effective permanent decommissioning operation. Each individual situation should be evaluated separately and the appropriate technology applied to meet site conditions. Considerations for selection of appropriate procedures are presented in this guide, but other considerations based on site specific conditions should also be taken into account.
Note 6: Ideally, decommissioning should be considered as an integral part of the design of the monitoring well. Planning at this early stage can make the decommissioning activity easier to accomplish. See Practice for details on monitoring well construction.
5.2 This guide is intended to provide technical information and is not intended to supplant statutes or regulations of local governing bodies. Approval of the appropriate regulatory authorities should be an important consideration during the decommissioning process.
Note 7: The quality of the result produced by this standard is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the criteria of are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors, Practice provides a means of evaluating some of those factors. Practice was developed for agencies engaged in laboratory testing and/or inspection of soils and rock. As such, it is not totally applicable to agencies performing this practice. However, users of this practice should recognize that the framework of Practice is appropriate for evaluating the quality of an agency performing this practice. Current there is no known qualifying national authority that inspects agencies that perform this practice.
Note 8: An extensive research program on annular sealants was conducted from 2001 through 2009 and subsequent years by the Nebraska Grout Task Force (. This research included cement and bentonite grouts and the use of pellets and chips. The general finding of the study indicates all sealing methods suffer from some shrinkage in the portion of the well in the unsaturated zone. The best grouts were cement-sand, bentonite chips, neat cements and bentonite slurries with more than 20% solids. Especially problematic is the use of low solids content bentonite slurries leading to a prohibition on their use in California )(. The bentonite slurries used in this standard are high solids slurries with more than 20% solids and bentonite slurry is not recommended in the unsaturated zone regardless of solids content. Regional or local regulations may specify different sealing methods and mixtures that differ from seal guideline in this standard. Regional or local regulations for mixtures of bentonite and cement slurries may differ from this standard and may control mixture requirements. This practice is in general accordance with other national and state guidance documents on well decommissioning (ANSI/NGWA-01-14 1 and California EPA . )
Note 9: The decommissioning of wells that intersect openings, fractured layers or other large openings, such as caves, can make sealing and decommissioning efforts difficult. The decommissioning of wells in areas known to have these conditions should involve professionals experienced in decommissioning in these areas.
1.1 This guide covers procedures that are specifically related to permanent decommissioning (closure) of the following as applied to environmental activities. It is intended for use where solid or hazardous materials or wastes are found, or where conditions occur requiring the need for decommissioning. The following devices are considered in this guide:
1.1.1 A borehole used for geoenvironmental purposes (see ),
1.1.2 Monitoring wells,
1.1.3 Observation wells,
1.1.4 Injection wells (see ),
1.1.6 Wells used for the extraction of contaminated groundwater, the removal of floating or submerged materials other than water such as gasoline or tetrachloroethylene, or other devices used for the extraction of soil gas,
1.1.7 A borehole used to construct a monitoring well, and
1.1.8 Any other well or boring that houses a vadose zone monitoring device.
1.2 Temporary decommissioning of the above is not covered in this guide.
Note 1: This guide may be used to decommission boreholes where no contamination is observed at a site (see Practice for details); however, the primary use of the guide is to decommission boreholes and wells where solid or hazardous waste have been identified. Methods identified in this guide can also be used in other situations such as the decommissioning of water supply wells and boreholes where water contaminated with nonhazardous pollutants (such as nitrates or sulfates) are present. This guide should be consulted in the event that a routine geotechnical study indicates the presence of contamination at a site. Consult and follow national, state, or local regulations as they may control required decommissioning procedures.
Note 2: The term “well” is used in this guide to denote monitoring wells, piezometers, or other devices constructed in a manner similar to a well. Some of the devices listed such as injection and extraction wells can be decommissioned using this guide for information, but are not specifically covered in the text.
Note 3: Details on the decommissioning of multiple-screened wells are not provided in this guide due to the many methods used to construct these types of wells and the numerous types of commercially available multiple-screened well systems. However, in some instances, the methods presented in this guide may be used with few changes. An example of how this guide may be used is the complete removal of the multiple-screened wells by overdrilling.
1.3 Most monitoring wells and piezometers are intended primarily for water quality sampling, water level observation, or soil gas sampling, or combination thereof, to determine quality. Many wells are relatively small in diameter typically 2.5 to 20 cm [1 to 8 in.] and are used to monitor for hazardous chemicals in groundwater. Decommissioning of monitoring wells is necessary to:
1.3.1 Eliminate the possibility that the well is used for purposes other than intended,
1.3.2 Prevent migration of contaminants into an aquifer or between aquifers,
1.3.3 Prevent migration of contaminants in the vadose zone,
1.3.4 Reduce the potential for vertical or horizontal migration of fluids in the well or adjacent to the well, and
1.3.5 Remove the well from active use when the well is no longer capable of rehabilitation, or has failed structurally; is no longer needed for monitoring; is no longer capable of providing representative samples or is providing unreliable samples; is required to be decommissioned; or to meet regulatory requirements.
Note 4: The determination of whether a well is providing a representative water quality sample is not defined in this guide. Examples of when a representative water quality sample may not be collected include the biological or chemical clogging of well screens, a drop in water level to below the base of the well screen, or complete silting of the screen. These conditions may indicate that a well is not functioning correctly.
1.4 This guide is intended to provide information for effective permanent closure of wells so that the physical structure of the well does not provide a means of hydraulic communication between aquifers, with above surfaces, or react chemically in a detrimental way with the environment.
1.5 The intent of this guide is to provide procedures that when followed result in a reasonable level of confidence in the integrity of the decommissioning activity. However, it may not be practicable to verify the integrity of the decommissioning procedure. At this time, methods are not available to substantially determine the integrity of the decommissioning activity.
1.6 This guide may also be used for closure or decommissioning of other systems that could allow vertical or horizontal migration of contaminants or other cross-contamination of aquifers, or when ordered by regulatory agencies.
1.7 Units—The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units (given in brackets) are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.
1.8 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice , unless superseded by this standard.
1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
1.10 This guide offers an organized collection of information or a series of options and does not recommend a specific course of action. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word“ Standard” in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.
Note 5: If state and local regulations are in effect where the decommissioning is to occur, the regulations take precedence over this guide.
1.11 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
C150 Specification for Portland Cement
D420 Guide to Site Characterization for Engineering Design and Construction Purposes
D422 Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils
D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids
D2487 Practice for Classification of Soils for Engineering Purposes (Unified Soil Classification System)
D2488 Practice for Description and Identification of Soils (Visual-Manual Procedures)
D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction
D4380 Test Method for Density of Bentonitic Slurries
D5088 Practice for Decontamination of Field Equipment Used at Waste Sites
D5092 Practice for Design and Installation of Groundwater Monitoring Wells
D5434 Guide for Field Logging of Subsurface Explorations of Soil and Rock
D5608 Practices for Decontamination of Sampling and Non Sample Contacting Equipment Used at Low Level Radioactive Waste Sites
D5753 Guide for Planning and Conducting Borehole Geophysical Logging
D5781 Guide for Use of Dual-Wall Reverse-Circulation Drilling for Geoenvironmental Exploration and the Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices
D5782 Guide for Use of Direct Air-Rotary Drilling for Geoenvironmental Exploration and the Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices
D5784 Guide for Use of Hollow-Stem Augers for Geoenvironmental Exploration and the Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices
D5872 Guide for Use of Casing Advancement Drilling Methods for Geoenvironmental Exploration and Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices
D5875 Guide for Use of Cable-Tool Drilling and Sampling Methods for Geoenvironmental Exploration and Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices
D5876 Guide for Use of Direct Rotary Wireline Casing Advancement Drilling Methods for Geoenvironmental Exploration and Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices
D5978 Guide for Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Groundwater Monitoring Wells
D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data
D6151 Practice for Using Hollow-Stem Augers for Geotechnical Exploration and Soil Sampling
D6167 Guide for Conducting Borehole Geophysical Logging: Mechanical Caliper
D6274 Guide for Conducting Borehole Geophysical Logging - Gamma
D6282 Guide for Direct Push Soil Sampling for Environmental Site Characterizations
D6286 Guide for Selection of Drilling Methods for Environmental Site Characterization
D6724 Guide for Installation of Direct Push Groundwater Monitoring Wells
D6725 Practice for Direct Push Installation of Prepacked Screen Monitoring Wells in Unconsolidated Aquifers
E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves
F480 Specification for Thermoplastic Well Casing Pipe and Couplings Made in Standard Dimension Ratios (SDR), SCH 40 and SCH 80
ICS Number Code 93.025 (External water conveyance systems)
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ASTM D5299 / D5299M-17, Standard Guide for Decommissioning of Groundwater Wells, Vadose Zone Monitoring Devices, Boreholes, and Other Devices for Environmental Activities, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2017, www.astm.orgBack to Top