How well do you know your, er, well?

When you drill a new well, or repair, sampling it is important to ensure the water is safe to drink. And one of the common challenges in sampling your well is determining the well volume. The good news is that your well volume isn’t hard to figure out, if you know a little math or have a well volume calculator — like the one provided by Hydro-Terra — handy. But if you don’t have the Internet handy, you just need to know the equation and how it works to get the right amount of water.

Why Would I Need To Know My Well Volume?

Part of owning a well is knowing how much water you can get out of it. Being able to calculate your well volume will allow you to compare volume to the overall water usage and ensure that you’re using your well properly and that you aren’t putting too much strain on your water table. Similarly, if you need to repair your well or sink a new well, sampling the water will be important to ensure your water hasn’t been contaminated by coliform bacteria or other possible groundwater contaminants.

You’ll need to pump out three times the well volume to ensure you’re getting enough water for a proper test. So, both for your own safety and to test your well, you’re going to have to do a little math.

The Information You Need

First, you’ll need to have some basic information about your well. Start with the diameter; most wells are drilled so as to be circular. Take the diameter and divide it by two; that gives you the radius of your well. This can be as simple as pulling out a tape measure, but do your best to be precise.

Next, you’ll need to know both the overall depth of your well, and the depth to water, in feet. Finding the depth to water is simple: Just tie a fishing weight to a long piece of string and lower it down. When your weight reaches the water, mark off the string. You can use the same method to determine the overall depth of your well, but be sure to use a weight that won’t get snagged on pipes.

A deep well is just the start

Doing The Math

First, subtract the depth to water from the overall depth of the well. For example, if our well was ten feet deep and it was a foot to water, we’d have nine feet of water. Next, use the following equation: pi (or 3.15 if you’re not using a calculator) times the square of your radius times the height of your well.

Say our example well has a two foot diameter. We’d divide that by two, and get a one foot radius. Multiply that by pi, and then the height of nine feet, and you’ve got the well volume: Approximately 28.3 cubic feet. Multiply that cubic feet by 7.47, and you’ve got the total number of gallons in your well volume, 211 gallons.

A few tips: Err on the side of rounding up, especially when sampling, and be sure to keep your units consistent, and if your radius is in inches, for example, convert your height to inches, or your approximation will be off. But once you’ve got that figured out, the rest is down to the pumping.

At Hydro-Terra, we take ensuring the safety of your water seriously, and want to ensure you’ve got the tools to properly test your water. That’s why we’ve included two checklists on our site to ensure that you can safely test both drinking wells and environmental water samples. But if you’re new to water sampling, here’s an overview of the equipment on each, and why you need it.

Cooler, Cold Packs, And Plastic Bags

When shipping water, whether from a drinking water source or an environmental one, it’s important to preserve the life that might be in it; if the organisms in the water are killed off during transit, the lab won’t be able to determine whether you have a problem that needs treatment. Keeping the water cool will help preserve whatever might be found during your water sampling job. Similarly, putting each sample in a plastic bag will both ensure safety if the sample container breaks and keep it from contaminating the other samples.

Colorimeter And Chlorine Residual Reagents

These are used to help you find the total amount of chlorine in your sample. Chlorine is commonly used to clean wastewater, but it’s not something that should be in your drinking water. This is immediate data most collect during water sampling.

PH Meter with Calibration Buffers

The acidity or alkalinity of your water source is important to know; if the pH of your water sample is too high or too low, it may be dangerous to consume or may be putting wildlife at risk.

PVC or Neoprene Gloves And Safety Goggles

These serve a double function; they help keep anything that might be less than pleasant in the water you’re sampling from, quite literally, getting under your skin. And they also ensure that no contaminants that might be on you get into the water supply; as you might imagine, a few crumbs from your lunch can throw off even the most precise and granular results when water sampling.

Safety is important with water sampling.

Sample Containers, Labels, And Laboratory Chain Of Custody Forms

Especially if you’re shipping water off-site to be tested, it’s important that those samples be carefully and properly preserved and labeled. Incorrect or missing documentation leads to lost samples, switched results, and other problems. So when taking samples, take the time to label them properly; it can literally be a life saver.

Paper Towels

If you need to dry equipment or clean up spills during water sampling, you need something disposable, and paper towels fit the bill perfectly.

Tools Related To Environmental Water Sampling

Water sampling from environmental sources is inherently riskier than sampling from drinking wells; they may have more pollutants and microorganisms. For your health and safety, it’s recommended you bring a water pump with disposable tubing; disposable bailers; clean water; cleaning buckets for equipment; disinfectant for any equipment; and equipment for field tests to determine any problems that the lab may need to be aware of from the samples. Be sure to clean all your equipment thoroughly so it doesn’t contaminate future samples.

Testing properly is important, and that’s why at Hydro-Terra we built these checklists to be used in the field. Along with our calculators, they help ensure you get the right sample and get it tested right away.

WaterWater sustainability is increasingly becoming a theme in press, with politicians, as well as in general conversation. Many individuals are attempting to reduce their water usage footprint by adopting sustainable water projects. One type of project in vogue is water reuse programs that can greatly reduce the amount of water needed from a water utility company and can improve sustainable water. Here we discuss what water reuse programs are and what hope they have for a sustainable future.

What is a Water Reuse Program?

A water reuse program is one that converts waste water, in its various forms, into water that can be used for a variety of purposes. Potable water can be drunk or used in gardens. Converted waste water can be used for widespread usage in agriculture, to flush toilets, and in various industrial and commercial processes. There are many different methods and processes used as water reuse programs including desalinization, reverse osmosis, biological filters, and simple filtering processes. The source of the waste water as well as the ultimate needs of the end user of the water goes a long way towards the water reuse program selected.

How Does a Water Reuse Program Add to the Sustainability of Water?

A water reuse program can provide numerous benefits to water sustainability. For one, a water reuse program can help to reduce the water that is needed to be diverted from other water sources such as reservoirs. This leads to real savings in the amount of water that is transferred and used. Further, by processing waste water, potable and other useful forms of water are redirected towards use instead of being flushed down with various chemicals which may lead to additional pollution. Cleaned waste water is also used in adding to the water table thus reducing drought conditions and improving the quality of life for people, animals, and plant life that is based on water usage.

Improving Perception and Changing Attitudes

An added benefit of water reuse programs is that the population often becomes more excited about sustainable water projects by witnessing one in existence and undergo steps to reduce their usage of water overall. Communities that have water reuse programs in place commonly have lower water usage per capita due to increased attention towards water conservation. Further, it is also easier to generate support in these communities for more organized water reuse programs.

Replacing Ecosystems

Some innovative communities are using waste water to create artificial wetlands. Wet lands provide an area where a diverse number of animal and plant life can survive and provide for excellent environments for fishing farms and other productive regions. By adding wetlands into an area and reclaiming this land from farm or residential use, there results a net decrease in population in these areas thus leading to a more sustainable water supply.


Sustainable water projects are greatly boosted by water reuse programs for the reasons outlined above. Water reuse programs are therefore springing up around the country to control and limit the amount of water needed. Sustainable water reuse programs have had a significant impact on water usage and can greatly control the amount of water being used on a regular basis, thus adding to the concept of water sustainability.

Image License: Creative Commons image source

Today’s article was written by Amanda Sani, professional blog writer for Sustainable Water Solutions. She is originally from sunny San Diego, California and spends her free time reading Game of Thrones and exploring the beach.

Geothermal energy used to be a power option limited to homes and businesses in geologically active areas. But, as the industry has grown and new technology has been developed, geothermal energy is rapidly becoming a viable choice for everyone. Continue reading below to find out five reasons you should consider getting your power from the Earth.

Would you like to speak to a Hydro-Terra Group representative about geothermal solutions for your facility? Give us a call at (410) 861-5376 or click here to contact us online!

It’s Clean

what is geothermal energyFirst and foremost, geothermal energy is environmentally friendly. While there are potentially waste products and the possibility of releasing greenhouse gases to some degree, it’s not nearly as carbon heavy or loaded with environmental problems as burning oil or coal. In fact, the most waste you’ll see from a geothermal energy plant? Steam, released as part of the process of creating electricity. Especially if you want to run a green facility, a geothermal plant can ensure that you meet your carbon footprint reduction goals.

It’s Stable

Solar panels need bright days to power your facility, something not even the best solar technology can really overcome. Oil tanks can leak run dry. Coal plants may stop firing if there’s an environmental problem. Nuclear plants… well, those aren’t popular for a reason. But geothermal energy is active day in and day out, always working, always churning, always using the heat of the Earth to create power. The day your geothermal energy plant stops working is the day you’ve got much bigger problems; the Earth isn’t going to stop being warm for a long, long time.

It’s Cheap

After the initial setup of a geothermal energy plant, you’re pretty much in the clear, financially. You have to pay for plant upkeep and staff, of course, but that’s it; there’s no fuel you have to buy by the ton, no worries about supply drying up or prices suddenly spiking. Geothermal energy doesn’t start costing more because of some geopolitical problem half a world away, and it doesn’t take months for the price to go down after a spike; the price stays stable, and a lot lower.

It’s Safer

commercial geothermal energy MarylandIt’s worth noting that power generation is always going to come with some risks to staff and equipment, and proper safety procedures have to be followed around hot steam and enormous amounts of electricity. But geothermal energy cuts down on a lot of risk. There are no big tanks of flammable liquid to worry about, no chemicals you’ll need to dilute the fuel, no concern about radioactivity or worries about toxic gases or smoke. Keeping up a geothermal energy plant is a lot safer than you might think, and if nothing else, it smells one heck of a lot better.

It’s Forward Thinking

All the panic about “peak oil” and other talking points you see on the news obscure a far more important problem for your facility; the cost of fossil fuels is only going to keep rising. As there’s more demand for them, and as they become harder to get, fossil fuels are going to price themselves out of the market well before we manage to get the last drop of crude out of oil sands. Geothermal energy is a case of thinking ahead; by anticipating that problem now, and acting to fix it, you’ll put your facility on a more secure footing. In short, geothermal energy makes your facility safer, cleaner, and above all, more reliable. And who doesn’t want that?

Would you like to speak to a Hydro-Terra Group representative about geothermal solutions for your facility? Give us a call at (410) 861-5376 or click here to contact us online!

Geothermal Energy for Businesses in Maryland

On November 8, 2013, Mike Swam and Mark Matovich of Hydro-Terra Group (HTG) visited the 5th graders at Manchester Elementary School.  As part of the 5th grade science curriculum, HTG spoke with the students and demonstrated soil sampling techniques using their Cone Penetrometer Test (CPT) Truck.

soil sampling workshop in manchester marylandHTG spoke the students about careers in science, specifically geology, environmental science and engineering.  This fit in nicely with the schools emphasis on STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math).  The students were engaged and asked great questions.

After a brief discussion on what we can tell from soil, what kind of soils are in our area and how soils relate to the health of the environment, HTG moved the classroom outside and demonstrated taking a Macro-core Soil Sample and donated it to the school for future class discussion.  The students were invited to get a closer look at the core sample and answer some questions on a worksheet that was provided by HTG.  In addition to the core sample, the students were invited to get a more “hands on” feel of soil science and were shown soil texturing techniques.

Many muddy hands and a great learning experience was had by all. Click here to contact us for more information!

soil sampling techniques

Businesses and private citizens alike are looking into how to lessen their impact on the planet. Greening your home and business can be more than just a charitable act, though; in the long term, it can save you money, reduce your dependence on outside utilities and resources, and even ensure a healthier, happier life. But how does wastewater treatment fit into that plan?

First, you need to define “wastewater.” Sometimes referred to as sewage, wastewater is actually water that has somehow been lowered in quality due to human behavior. Examples of wastewater you’ll find in any home include water left to soak pots, water draining out of your washing machine, water that goes down the drain during a shower or bath, and, of course, the traditional meaning one thinks of with “sewage.” And all of this water can, and should, be treated.

What Can You Do With Wastewater?

water treatment

Get more control of your water with wastewater treatment.

It’s important to note that water doesn’t have to be restored to drinking water standards to be reused; for example, there’s no reason the water drained from your washing machine can’t be used to wash your car, provided you install the right wastewater treatment system.

The main problem is that there can be all sorts of contaminants — ranging from leftover soap to heavy metals and oils — suspended in the water, making it unfit for human consumption. So, you need to construct your wastewater system to remove contaminants while being biologically friendly.

How Can Wastewater Treatment Help?

A good example of this is de-nitrification. Nitrogen is a naturally-occuring result of various human processes, and in gaseous form, it’s not bad. In fact, many organic fertilizers are rich in specific nitrogen compounds that essentially serve as plant foods. But there’s such a thing as too much of anything, and nitrogen is no exception.

wastewater | recycle waterNitrogen in the water supply is a serious environmental concern; as more nitrogen filters into the water supply, it forces out the oxygen, literally asphyxiating aquatic life.

The good news, though, is that you can construct a wastewater treatment using naturally-occurring bacteria that pulls the nitrogen out and puts it to better use growing plants. And new and more innovative solutions are being engineered every day to restore water to a cleaner, purer state.

Recycling Through Water Treatment

Properly built, a wastewater treatment system reduces the environmental impact of everyday living. Just as importantly, though, it allows you to reduce your water consumption and pulls contaminants out of your water supply. Wastewater treatment allows you to “recycle” water; instead of letting it just go down the drain, and possibly into your water table, you can use the same water again and again for different purposes. The treatment system means it’s perfectly safe, and even better, it means there’s less impact on your wallet.

If you think a wastewater treatment system is right for you, click here to contact us. For more than 20 years, Hydro-Terra’s team of geologists, engineers, and designers have been working to develop wastewater treatment systems that protect the environment while giving you more control over your water supply. If you want to reduce your footprint, and limit your water use, use a wastewater treatment system from Hydro-Terra.