Pilot project monitoring groundwater quality with SorbiCells

Posted on 5 August 2013


Gasunie strives for a sustainable future by safely and reliably transporting natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel. To this end, Gasunie frequently performs groundwater research at its locations in order to gain insight into the quality and quantity of the groundwater. On the site of the gas compressor station in Vilsteren, the Netherlands, a pilot project will take place in 2013 in which SorbiCells will monitor the groundwater quality.gasunie-groundwater-quality-eijkelkamp-3

René Reurink, Environment Advisor at Gasunie, became enthusiastic about the SorbiCells during a Sorbisense Seminar organised by Eijkelkamp in October 2012: 'Taking manual measurements from the monitoring well is similar to a speed camera along the highway, a snapshot. With SorbiCells, the entire process is controlled by measuring over a longer period. A SorbiCell remains inside the monitoring well for three months. Based on my electrical engineering background, I think this way of measuring is better, more accurate.'

During work on the Gasunie site in Vilsteren, groundwater is extracted regularly to be used in projects causing water levels to vary. Reurink: ‘The site is surrounded by a natural area. Therefore, we have clear agreements with the water board to regularly measure the groundwater levels during projects in order to prevent, for example, desiccation of the soil. To this end, not only SorbiCells were installed, but also Diver water level loggers. A total of two monitoring wells have been provided with a SorbiCell, four with a Diver and one with both a SorbiCell and a Diver.’

However, Eijkelkamp went beyond just supplying SorbiCells and Divers and, in accordance with the Carefree Solutions principle, also carried out the installation, the validation of the data and the final visualisation on a specially designed web portal for Gasunie. This creates a complete 'environment monitoring system' for Gasunie.

gasunie-groundwater-quality-eijkelkamp-2Employees of the province were also present at the Sorbisense Seminar who, just like Reurink, were curious about this innovative measurement method. According to legislation, measuring with SorbiCells has not yet been qualified.

Reurink: 'We are now operational, and the data is neatly displayed on the website. During the pilot project, we will replace the SorbiCells four times a year. That is more than necessary, but the collected data will give us a good insight into the capabilities of the system and provide plenty of information for other parties interested in this product.'

Gasunie is a European gas infrastructure company. The Gasunie network is one of the largest high-pressure gas transmission grids in Europe, consisting of over 15,000 kilometres of pipeline in the Netherlands and northern Germany, dozens of installations and approximately 1,300 gas receiving stations. The annual gas throughput totals approximately 1,221 billion kWh (approximately 125 billion m3).

Project location

Project partners

  • Stichting Both ENDS