Max Goetz, MSc Student, University of British Columbia


Max grew up in Saskatoon, SK, and he attended McGill University from 2010-2014 to pursue an undergraduate degree in Earth & Planetary Sciences.  During this time, Max gained valuable field experience while working summer geology internships at an unconformity-hosted uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan, and at a copper porphyry mine in Arizona.  Following graduation, he worked as a Geologist at a copper porphyry-skarn mine in New Mexico.  Most of his work focused on ore control and in-pit delineation drilling, but he eventually joined the site’s hydrogeology team.  His interest in the discipline grew while planning and managing an advanced pit dewatering program, where several interceptor pumping wells were strategically installed to lower the phreatic surface for future ore targets.  Pursuing his newfound passion in hydrogeology, Max began his MSc at the University of British Columbia in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Roger Beckie in the Energy & Environment Research Initiative (EERI).  In his spare time, Max enjoys long-distance running, mountain biking, squash and beach volleyball.

Project: Characterizing Dissolved Methane in Groundwater in the Peace Region, Northeast BC, Using a Regional, Dedicated Groundwater Monitoring Well Network

The occurrence of methane in shallow groundwater systems is a topic of increasing interest in regions of active oil and gas development.  Anthropogenic methane sourced from leaky energy wells can migrate into these aquifers, potentially causing deleterious effects, such as degradation in groundwater quality.  In order to assess regional groundwater methane in the Peace Region of Northeast BC (NEBC), this project installed a purpose-built groundwater well network, consisting of 29 monitoring stations.  This study aims to characterize and monitor regional groundwater, with a specific focus on the distribution, concentration and origin of dissolved methane. The results of this work will provide data to inform decision-making on policy & regulation related to groundwater protection and fugitive gas.

As a focused sub-study, data from newly installed monitoring wells will be used to construct a regional-scale 3-D numerical groundwater model of an archetypal NEBC paleovalley setting.  The primary objective is to delineate key recharge pathways and residence times of buried valley and fractured bedrock aquifers.