Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a buzzword in lots of industries with its ability to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns that may be difficult or impossible to detect using traditional methods. However, I’ve yet to see an example where it is being used in the environmental industry.
One area where AI has huge potential is in the field of groundwater management. The measurement of hydraulic conductivity, which is essential in determining groundwater flow velocity, contaminant dispersion, and other nuances at a site, is a complex process when done manually. However, with the help of AI, this process can be simplified, and reliable hydraulic conductivity values can be calculated for each monitoring well every time it is sampled using low-flow methods. In fact, if you have the data digitally, it could even use the values from historical data.
The use of software in groundwater management can enhance the accuracy and reliability of data, which is essential in decision-making processes. SampleServe, which specializes in software for groundwater sampling, will soon (fall 2023) be adding the ability to automatically calculate hydraulic conductivity from low-flow sampling. We’ll do it in two ways. The first way will be calculated on the values collected during the low-flow sampling and draw-down stability process. Accurate information on well construction details and precision flow rate values will be important to an accurate conductivity value. The second optional way will be through measuring well head recovery time immediately after pumping has stopped. If both methods are done correctly, this second calculated value should be statistically similar to the first value.
So, Russell, why would anyone want to do that? Because hydraulic conductivity values can be used in fate and transport modeling and AI learning to predict the future movement and concentration of contaminants in groundwater. The ability to accurately predict outcomes in the future from current data sets is critical in managing contaminated sites and protecting human health and the environment.
AI is rapidly becoming a big productivity lever because of its ability to analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make informed decisions. It’s becoming a valuable tool in other industries and soon will be an invaluable tool in groundwater management as well. With the help of algorithms and other AI-powered software, the complex process of measuring hydraulic conductivity can be simplified, leading to more accurate and reliable data. As SampleServe’s use of AI technology evolves, it will undoubtedly become an indispensable tool in the field of groundwater management and beyond.