Environmental sustainability is one of the six key areas of excellence emphasized in the University of Connecticut’s Academic Plan. To help achieve excellence in this area, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment has developed an on-campus Water Resources Field Station (WRFS). The WRFS enhances our ground water resources and contamination-related teaching, outreach and research programs.
The assessment, management and protection of ground water resources require hands-on proficiency in conducting physical, chemical and biological related field and laboratory measurements. Such proficiency also requires a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships between surface water and ground water. In today’s technological world one must also be familiar with applications of GPS, GIS, and mathematical modeling for solving complex ground water resource and contamination-related problems. The WRFS provides a connection between the classroom and the real world. It provides a location for developing field data for mapping and modeling. It provides a location to conduct drilling, geophysical testing, hydraulic well testing, water sampling and water quality analyses in the field. It generates real-world data for developing a variety of computer-based skills. The WRFS is also a focal point for conducting analyses of ground water flow in fractured bedrock, for investigating surface water and ground water interactions, and for evaluating approaches for conducting site investigations and remediation.
The WRFS aids in introducing undergraduate students to research. Importantly, as a land grant University, we have an outreach obligation. The WRFS helps meet this obligation by providing a location for offering outreach training for environmental professionals and the interested public.
The WRFS is located on property managed by the University’s Farm Department near the University’s horse barn off of Horse Barn Hill Road. It was established in the summer of 2005. The WRFS consists of two ground water laboratories and a well field. The well field is on land that was formerly farmed. The land slopes gently eastward toward a small stream and wetlands that lie at the eastern boundary of an open field.
The well field has 3 bedrock wells drilled to a maximum depth of 350 feet (courtesy of Sima Drilling of Cheshire, CT) and 26 overburden wells drilled to a maximum depth of 21 feet (courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Site Assessment and Support Unit, Glacier Drilling, LaFramboise Well Drilling and the Center for Environmental Sciencse and Engineering). To date, the WRFS has been used to help train DEEP personnel in drilling; and undergraduate and graduate students in conducting direct push drilling, soil coring and logging, surveying with conventional and GPS equipment, geophysical surveying, conducting downhole camera inspections, and conducting ground water level measurements, hydraulic testing and water quality sampling. Five UCONN courses have used the WRFS for conducting field testing. The WRFS has also been used to help train visiting high school and community college students. Several hondered environmental professionals have also been trained in a variety of field methods at training courses sponsored by the Environmental Professionals’ Organization of Connecticut
The WRFS is funded by donations and research grants. Contributions may be made out to the University of Connecticut and directed by letter to support Professor Robbins’ efforts to develop the Water Resources Field Station. In addition to monetary support, we are interested in in-kind support with drilling and well installation.
For further information on the WRFS, please contact Gary A. Robbins, Professor of Geology.