Peace Region Scientific Groundwater Monitoring Network Installation Study

Lead Researcher(s):  A. G. Cahill

Project ID:  2017-002

Key Research Organization(s):  University of British Columbia

Project Location:  Northeast BC

Strategic Focus Area:  Water


The Energy and Environment Research Initiative (EERI) at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Calgary, the BC Oil and Gas Commission, and Geoscience BC have teamed up to conduct research toward addressing some aspects of public concern around oil and gas activities and groundwater methane in the Peace Region of Northeast BC.

The Need

While significant groundwater chemistry data has been collected at domestic water wells under a program lead by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD), in collaboration with Simon Fraser University, there remains limited groundwater chemistry data proximal to oil and gas development in the Peace Region and at locations suitable to establish natural background groundwater methane levels.

Project Goals

This project aims to:

  • Locate where and how much methane is in groundwater in the Peace Region
  • Determine the origins of where the methane comes from and if its related to oil and gas development activities

Project Benefits

The benefits of this project include:

  • Assessing current groundwater methane conditions in the Peace Region
  • Data collection to inform regulatory policy and technical guidance related to groundwater protection and methane migration
  • Data collection to inform future groundwater monitoring strategies
  • Infrastructure to support the long-term monitoring of groundwater trends and cumulative effects
  • Enhancements to the collective contributions of government and science initiatives under the umbrella of the Northeast Water Strategy
  • Publically available data, results, and reports

Survey Area

The project is focused on the Peace Region in Northeast BC.

How will the data be collected?

The research team, led by EERI at UBC, will establish a groundwater monitoring well network in the Peace Region consisting of about 30 new scientifically designed monitoring wells at strategic locations.

The field program in the Peace Region will commence in the spring of 2018 with selection of initial drilling locations by June. The groundwater monitoring wells will be drilled in three phases, scheduled for summer 2018, spring 2019, and fall 2019.