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The Feasibility of Horizontal Directionally Drilled Wells for the Removal of Landfill Leachate and for Methane Gas Production

Kenyon, Tim L.1
1 Leggette, Brashears & Graham, Inc., Sioux Falls, SD.

The Sioux Falls Sanitary Landfill is located approximately 7 miles west of Sioux Falls. The facility began receiving municipal waste in the late 1970s, and portions of the facility are nearing completion. The oldest portions of the facility were constructed prior to the onset of RCRA Subtitle D regulations and were not originally equipped with methane gas or leachate collection systems.

The soils underlying the facility are composed of clay-rich glacial till. The till has a very low hydraulic conductivity, effectively preventing exfiltration of leachate from the facility. This has resulted in the build-up of leachate and methane within those portions of the facility that were not equipped with leachate and methane collection systems.

In a pro-active effort, the City of Sioux Falls sought methods by which to control and reduce the leachate accumulations and deal with subsequent landfill methane accumulations. One of those methods was the installation of a leachate drain via a horizontal directionally drilled well. To evaluate this technology, a pilot study was performed on an emergency cell at the facility. The well was installed in late 2001. The long-term test pumping portion of the pilot study began in August 2002 and ended in January 2004.

This presentation provides the details of the well installation including the selection of the pilot site, the contractor selection, the well installation procedures and the results of the pumping test. The presentation also provides information on the applicability of this technique to the exploration and production of unconventional gas resources.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009