The IGS monitors groundwater levels in 48 wells scattered across Iowa that are completed in most of the major bedrock aquifers. These wells provide a historical record of groundwater levels and help evaluate aquifer sustainability. The oldest wells we monitor were constructed in the early 1970s and most were constructed by the mid-1980s. Unfortunately, some of these wells have been damaged, become plugged, or have other issues impacting their continued usability.
The IGS started addressing problematic wells this year. With funding assistance from the USGS’ National Groundwater Monitoring Program, the IGS plugged two wells in a ditch near Hiawatha that were damaged in an accident. In addition, IGS drilled its first new bedrock monitoring well in 20 years. Located in Midway Park, near Moville, the new 300-foot-deep Dakota well replaced a well that became plugged over the years.
Overall, these groundwater monitoring activities are great “win” for the IGS and the state. IGS is now in the business of actively monitoring groundwater levels in the state and proactively installing wells where they are needed. This activity hasn’t been done at this scale for several decades. IGS staff have also been on-site, interacting with the well contractors, asking questions and learning about their techniques. Aging wells are now being replaced with new wells. Aquifers are being protected by removing old wells that could leak contaminated water into them.
This exciting time will continue into next year. The IGS is finalizing plans for the next new wells to monitor the Silurian and Devonian aquifers in Benton and Linn counties. Look for future updates and “wins” as we continue to improve the groundwater level network.