News and Events
Nicola Calder presented at the TOUGH2 Symposium in San Francisco October 8-10. The first presentation is a poster, “ Concurrent Simulation Of Linked Models At Multiple Scales Of Repository Gas Generation And Transport”, based on work conducted with John Avis for the NWMO. The poster and associated paper discusses modifications to T2GGM (a TOUGH2 variant developed by Geofirma and their partner Quintessa) to link the boundary conditions of separate models to be solved concurrently and the application of this approach to modelling repository scale gas generation and transport in a deep geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste in a Canadian sedimentary rock setting. Secondly, Nicola presented an oral presentation for Robert Walsh, entitled “A Numerical Study of Barometric Loading in Groundwater Monitoring Wells using TOUGH2”. This talk presents work conducted by Robert Walsh with Nicola Calder and Nicholas Sgro to clarify the physics involved in barometric loading effects on water levels in groundwater monitoring wells.
Robert Walsh will be attending the 27th World Gas Conference (WGC 2018) in Washington DC from June 25-29. Along with his co-presenter Steve Pardy from Union Gas, he is presenting a talk and paper entitled “Expanding Capacity in Ontario’s Storage Pools.” This work describes the qualitative and quantitative techniques employed to better understand risk in natural gas storage applications, and outlines the systematic approach used to demonstrate that the maximum pressure could safely be increased beyond historical levels. We hope to see you there.
Dick Jackson was appointed to become Chair of the Board of Directors of the A.E. Lalonde Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the University of Ottawa in May. This lab is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) as the Canadian Centre for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and Radioisotope Research and provides analytical services throughout Canada for C-14 and other radioisotopes. It is one of just 17 national research facilities funded by CFI. It is located in the same building at the G.G. Hatch Laboratory for stable isotope analysis.
Dick Jackson is co-author of the paper Peter J. Parsons: pioneer of contaminant hydrogeology published online in the Hydrogeology Journal on March 2018. This paper summarizes Perter Parsons’s work at Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories in pioneering contaminant hydrogeology.
Update! We are now certified under ISO 9001:2015! Geofirma is committed to continual improvement and to achieving client satisfaction through application of a quality management system that complies with recognized standards.
The journal Transport in Porous Media has accepted our paper, entitled “Combining TOUGH2 and FLAC3D to Solve Problems in Underground Gas Storage.” This paper describes modeling studies assessing the feasibility of increasing the maximum storage pressure in several underground natural gas storage reservoirs. The full text of the paper can be viewed here.
Geofirma Staff presented at GeoOttawa 2017;
John Avis presented “Groundwater Transport of Radionuclides in a Crystalline Geosphere“. He discussed the relative importance of different transport processes is important in terms of defining site characterization requirements for actual repository sites. Sensitivity cases addressing geosphere transport parameters provided initial insight into dominant transport processes. Probabilistic simulations were used to further investigate relative importance of various transport processes and the sensitivity to parameters describing the processes.
Sean Sterling presented “Elevated Background Metals in Champlain Sea Deposits – Ottawa Region“. This work presents a thorough review of approximately 60 studies with soil concentrations in fine grained Champlain Sea deposits near Ottawa and uses the data from 285 representative samples to calculate geo-regional background soil standards to better represent the native materials in Eastern Ontario. These newly calculated values are proposed to replace the current MOECC O.Reg. 153/04 Table 1 background standards and follow the same methodology and rationale as the original MOEE Table 1 background standards for the Province of Ontario in 1993.
Othman Nasir presented “A Concept for Modelling Evolution of Permeability in Re-hydrating Bentonite“. He described a simple model developed in the TOUGH2 code based on changes in multi-scale porosities to predict the evolution of bentonite permeability during the hydration process.
Robert Walsh presented “Measurement and modeling of stress changes caused by underground pressurization of gas“. This talk and paper describe how the mechanical response of caprocks isolating underground gas storage reservoirs was modeled using combined two-phase flow (TOUGH2) and geomechanical (FLAC3D) models. Data obtained from a deep borehole also provided indirect observations of the geomechanical response of the caprock.
Dick Jackson presented a review of a 2 km gasoline contamination plume in San Diego, California and its remediation for which he had been the City’s advisor for 12 years. Entitled “Qualified Success of a Monitored Natural Attenuation of Gasoline Contamination in an Extremely Long Plume”, the talk focused on how a misinterpretation of the hydrogeology of the aquifer transmitting the contamination led to the failure by the polluter to capture the leading edge of the plume. Overall, the use of soil vapor extraction was successful in removing most, but not all, gasoline LNAPL, while monitored natural attenuation and groundwater extraction did cause the removal of BTEX and MTBE compounds, although not the TBA at the leading edge of the plume. The TBA contaminated the most transmissive section of the aquifer, that part that had been used by the City of San Diego prior to World War II as its groundwater supply.
Dick Jackson was also co-author of three other papers at GeoOttawa on redox measurements, seepage pathways in hydraulic fracturing and brine disposal in southwestern Ontario.
Geofirma Engineering Ltd., in partnership with Geosyntec Consultants Inc., were successful bidders for completion of a Hydrogeology and Source Water Protection Study of the Middleton Wellfield in Cambridge Ontario. This consulting services work for the Region of Waterloo will investigate sources of VOC contamination affecting the bedrock drinking water supply wells at the municipal wellfield through field studies, numerical modeling and hydrogeological analysis.
Robert Walsh will be travelling to the American Gas Association Operators Conference to present some of the work he has done to help Union Gas safely increase pressures at their gas storage hub. His talk, entitled “Combining Two-Phase Flow and Geomechanical Models to Solve Problems in Underground Gas Storage,” will take place on Friday, May 5, 2017. We hope to see you there.
Othman Nasir published a paper in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, entitled “Simulation of the hydro-mechanical behaviour of bentonite seals for the containment of radioactive wastes”. This paper summarizes the work of the SEALEX project and is co-authored by Son Nguyen of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Jean Dominique Barnichon of the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) and Alain Millard of the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA).
Robert Walsh attended the Regional-Scale Groundwater Geoscience in Southern Ontario Workshop on March 1-2, sponsored by the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS), Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), Conservation Ontario, and the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH). This event provides an update to the groundwater community on the activities of key government agencies and collaborators.
Sean Sterling gave a presentation on the “City of Ottawa Geoscience Information Managament System (GIMS) Project” at The Ottawa Geotechnical Group Luncheon on February 21st. Click here for more information.
Robert Walsh attended the Western Regulatory Forum (WRF) Workshop on Suspended and Abandoned Well Integrity on February 8th and 9th in Calgary, Alberta. This workshop is intended to gather technical knowledge and operational experience from industry experts to provide guidance to the Western Regulatory Forum.
Dick Jackson was made an Honorary Fellow of Geoscientists Canada at the meeting of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario.
Othman Nasir was invited by the University of Ottawa to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2016 Graduate Student Conference on Geotechnical Hazards and Risks. His talk was about the Responses of Ontario’s Sedimentary Rocks to Past Glaciations and Deglaciations. Click here for more information.
Dick Jackson has been elected by the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario to become a Fellow of Geoscientists Canada. He will be inaugurated in Waterloo in January, 2017.
Robert Walsh attended the Canadian Society for Gas Migration (CSGM) Technology Roadmap Workshop, presenting on the topic of improving wellbore abandonment processes to reduce gas leaks. Click here for more information.
Geofirma, in collaboration with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, developed a numerical tool to better understand the hydromechanical behaviour of bentonite-sand mixtures used to seal shafts of deep geological radioactive waste repositories. The model was used to simulate in-situ sealing experiments at the Tournemire Underground Research Laboratory in France. Click here for more information.
Glen Briscoe, Dru Heagle and Drew Paulusse attended the 2016 RPIC Federal Contaminated Sites National Workshop. The RPIC National Workshop is the leading professional development workshop for federal and industry environmental professionals involved in the management and remediation of federal contaminated sites. Geofirma was both an exhibitor and presenter at the conference.
Dru Heagle and Dick Jackson presented “Impacts of 20 Years of Remediation on Sustainable Groundwater Quality on a Hydrocarbon-Impacted Aquifer” examining the impacts of an 800,000 L gasoline spill on the aquifer geochemistry along the 2 km long dissolved plume. Click here for more information.
Geofirma was contracted by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to complete Phase 2 Preliminary Field Investigations for the Community of Hornepayne, Ontario including Reconnaissance Geological Mapping during 2014 and Detailed Geological Mapping during 2016. Hornepayne is one of nine remaining communities to be considered as part of Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.
Dick Jackson will be travelling to Ottawa on March 23rd to give a talk to the Ottawa Geotechnical Group and guests regarding Hydraulic Fracturing in Canada – The Technical And Social License Situation in 2016.
Geofirma was awarded a four year Standing Offer Agreement for the provision of Environmental Engineering Services (Assessment, Design & Construction Management) by the National Capital Commission.
On-line publication of an Essay on the use of domestic/farm wells by Dick Jackson and Dru Heagle occurred in January in the Hydrogeology Journal. The article argues for caution and strict quality control in the use of groundwater quality data from such wells in baseline monitoring for purposes of resource management and detecting the effects of nearby natural gas well development.
Dick Jackson and Greg Cross of the City of San Diego publish a commentary on a recent article in Ground Water on very long contaminant plumes. They point out the critical role of responsive groundwater monitoring in preventing the occurrence of such plumes and correct details in the original paper about the MTBE/TBA plume in the Mission Valley Aquifer in San Diego. They demonstrate that the daughter TBA plume is longer than the parent MTBE plume because of the remedial response at the site in San Diego. A companion paper has been recently published by Rob Sengebush of INTERA and Dru Heagle and Dick Jackson in Environmental & Engineering Geoscience on the Quaternary History and Groundwater Quality in this aquifer.
Dick Jackson will be speaking to University of Toronto students, post-docs and supervisors on Designing and Implementing Large-Scale In-Situ Remedial Injections/Extraction Operations that will be webcast live from the University of Toronto on January 21st.
Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year from all of us at Geofirma!
Dick Jackson was Co-Chair of the Technical Committee for the recent meeting of the International Association of Hydrogeologists in Waterloo, Ontario. 330 hydrogeologists, engineers and geochemists from across Canada attended the meeting. Jackson was also invited by Professor Cathy Ryan of the University of Calgary to discuss the introduction of redox-geochemistry thermodynamics into hydrogeology during her plenary session on Moments on Insight in Hydrogeology.
Robert Walsh and Nicola Calder offered a 2-day course on TOUGH2 modelling to staff at Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. Participants learned the physics of multiphase flow systems, how to set up and run a TOUGH2 model, and how to post-process the results to provide informative illustrations and analysis for reporting.
Nicola Calder and Robert Walsh attended the 2015 TOUGH Symposium at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley California. Nicola presented a talk entitled Application of 1D hydromechanical coupling in TOUGH2 to a deep geological repository glaciation scenario. This talk presented some of our work on hydromechanical coupling in a partially gas saturated rock. Robert’s talk was entitled Combining TOUGH2 and FLAC3D to Solve Problems in Underground Natural Gas Storage. Similarly, this work examined hydromechanical coupling processes, this time in the context of underground gas storage.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has released a new monograph entitled “Characterization, Modeling, Monitoring, and Remediation of Fractured Rock” which examines the state of practice and art in fractured rock characterization of chemical and biological processes during subsurface contaminant transport. Company principal Ken Raven contributed to this work as a technical reviewer.
Dru Heagle and colleagues at University of Calgary and Environment Canada have published a comment on a recent paper in Applied Geochemistry concerning sampling and interpretation of gas in domestic wells.
Dick Jackson was appointed in August by the Township of Woolwich to be Chair of the Technical Advisory Group concerning the contamination of the Elmira municipal aquifer and Canagagigue Creek by releases from the former Uniroyal site now operated by Chemtura. The TAG is composed of eight public volunteers, some of whom have been involved in citizen’s groups monitoring this matter since 1989.
The contamination of the Elmira municipal aquifer was detected in the 1980s and in 1989 two municipal wells were closed because of contamination by a toxic chemical, NDMA. Potable water is now supplied by pipeline from Waterloo, 15 km to the south of Elmira. Cleanup of the municipal aquifer is currently by pump-and-treat remediation.
Othman Nasir attended the 7TH DECOVALEX 2015 Workshop April 13-16, 2015, Brno, Czech Republic, to present his work on modelling the SEALEX PT-A1 bentonite sealing experiment. DECOVALEX is an international research project to support the development and validation of mathematical models of coupled THMC processes in geological media and EBS materials for deep geological repositories.
John Avis attended the International High Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference in Charleston, SC, April 12-16, 2015 with presentations entitled “Detailed Gas Generation and Transport Modelling at the Room and Repository Scale” and “Numerical Characterization of the Excavation Damaged Zone in the HG-A Experiment.”
Dick Jackson attended the APEGA Summit 2015 on April 23-24, 2015. Together with Maurice Dusseault and Brad Hayes, he presented a short course on Wellbore Integrity and Unconventional Reservoir Development.
Geofirma launches new website.
Geofirma was awarded the contract for Postclosure Safety Assessment of the Mark II Repository design by the NWMO.
Dick Jackson has given his presentation “Has Fracking Contaminated Anybody’s Water Well?” to IAH audiences in Toronto (Nov 19th) and Kitchener-Waterloo (Dec 4th) and is to present it again by invitation at Environment Canada’s Canada Centre for Inland Waters on January 15th. A presentation in Ottawa is being organized by Ian Clark at uOttawa.
Dick Jackson gave an invited presentation at the US Energy Association information briefing meeting in Washington DC sponsored by the US Department of Energy on December 18th. On December 4th he delivered his Ontario IAH presentation on “Has Fracking Contaminated Anybody’s Water Well?” to the Kitchener-Waterloo IAH group.
Dick Jackson gave an invited presentation on “Gas release mechanisms from energy wellbores and subsequent groundwater contamination” at the Geological Society of America’s Pardee Session on Energy Resource Development and Groundwater: Looking Broader and Deeper in Vancouver BC, October 20th.
Dick Jackson gave a presentation to NRCan staff on the Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in Canada. The presentation was by webnet from NRCan’s Booth St. headquarters in Ottawa on June 26th and viewed from GSC in Calgary.
Geofirma has been selected by South Nation Conservation to assist the City of Clarence-Rockland and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell in the development of a GIS-based screening tool to map aquifer capability based on groundwater quantity and quality.
Othman Nasir attended the 5TH DECOVALEX 2015 Workshop organized by the IRSN at Avignon and the Tournemire Rock Laboratory, France. DECOVALEX is an international research project to support the development and validations of mathematical models of coupled Thermal-Hydrological-Mechanical-Chemical processes in geological media and EBS materials for the DGR.
Dick Jackson and Maurice Dusseault (University of Waterloo) presented the results of their final report on long-term wellbore integrity to a meeting of Provincial Regulators at the headquarters of the Alberta Dept. of Energy on April 3rd in Edmonton. AL DoE had originally sponsored this study through a grant to the University of Waterloo where Dick Jackson is an Adjunct Professor working with the geological engineering group. Click here for the final report of the uWaterloo/Geofirma Wellbore Integrity report.
Geofirma will be an exhibitor at the Real Property Institute of Canada (RPIC) Conference, Federal Contaminated Sites National Workshop to be held in Ottawa, April 14-16, 2014. Ken Raven will be giving a presentation entitled “Developing Unique Risk Assessment Scenarios”.
Dick Jackson together with Rob Sengebush of INTERA Inc presented “Analysis of the Depositional History and Groundwater Quality of the Mission Valley Aquifer” at San Diego State University in California.
Geofirma staff attended the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, Ecological Risk Assessment Training Workshop. This informative course was sponsored by Environment Canada to provide training and discussion on the recently developed ERA Guidance Manual.
Dick Jackson attended the ASTM workshop on Site Characterization and Monitoring Related to Hydraulic Fracturing in Houston on January 28, 2014 and gave a paper on Seepage Pathways for Natural Gas: Implications for Site Characterization and Monitoring, co-authored with Maurice Dusseault of uWaterloo
Steve Gaines and Glen Briscoe attended the Queen’s University Civil Engineering Industry Open House on January 23, 2014. They met with enthusiastic and talented engineering students and enjoyed sharing their consulting experiences.
Dick Jackson gave a presentation on Wellbore Integrity and Groundwater Contamination at Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh on January 10, 2014
Othman Nasir attended the HG-A Progress Meeting and Decovalex Workshop at the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory, St-Ursanne, Switzerland. These projects both examine geomechanical processes and two-phase flow in deep geological repositories and sealing systems.
Dick Jackson gave a presentation (co-authored with Professor Maurice Dusseault of the University of Waterloo) on “Potential subsurface migration pathways for natural gas” on November 29th at the BC Oil and Gas Technical Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data Workshop in Vancouver BC.
Dick Jackson attended a Workshop in Calgary that he organized on behalf of the Alberta Dept of Energy on Wellbore Integrity on October 31st.
Geofirma is proud to announce that Dick Jackson is the 2013 Robert N. Farvolden Award winner. The Farvholden award is presented by the International Association of Hydrogeologists Canadian National Chapter in honour of outstanding contributions to the disciplines of earth science and engineering that emphasize the role or importance of groundwater.
Geofirma qualified as Lead Contractor for Phase 2 Geoscientific Preliminary Assessments to be undertaken at selected communities by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.
Geofirma Principal Richard Jackson has recently authored an issue paper in the July-August edition of Groundwater (doi: 10.1111/gwat.12074). The paper, entitled “Groundwater Protection and Unconventional Gas Extraction: The Critical Need for Field-Based Hydrogeological Research,” examines the potential groundwater impacts of unconventional natural gas extraction, identifying knowledge gaps which will need to be addressed to ensure the safety of water supplies and enhance public acceptance of unconventional gas.http://www.cbc.ca/informationmorningfredericton/2013/08/22/shale-gas-roundtable/
To download presentation click here
Geofirma selected by the National Capital Commission as first-ranked firm for provision of environmental site assessment services under four-year Standing Offer Agreement.
Geofirma has been contracted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to mathematically model the in-situ sealing experiments at the Tournemire underground research laboratory in France. This two-year project will provide a numerical tool to model the hydromechanical behaviour of bentonite-sand mixtures used to seal shafts of deep geological repositories.
Geofirma contracted by NWMO to complete APM Phase 1 Geoscientific Desktop Preliminary Assessment Studies for sedimentary bedrock sites in Southern Ontario communities as part of Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. Click here for more information.
Geofirma was awarded the contract to perform quarterly pressure measurements and groundwater sampling of shallow and deep bedrock groundwater systems (from 2013 – 2015) in support of OPG’s proposed Deep Geological Repository for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste at the Bruce Nuclear Site.
Dru Heagle was the primary author on a study on the exchange of salinity between surface water and groundwater with his co-authors Masaki Hayashi (University of Calgary) and Garth van der Kamp (Environment Canada) published in the Journal of Hydrology (Vol. 478 p. 1-14).
Dick Jackson gave an invited presentation to the Gussow Conference of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists at the Banff Centre in Alberta on the subject of Groundwater Protection and Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation.
Geofirma is a proud sponsor and partner with Dr. Beth Parker at the University of Guelph as part of her Term 2 Senior Industrial Research Chair (2012-2017) focusing on groundwater contamination in fractured media.
Robert Walsh attended the 5th International meeting on “Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers for Radioactive Waste Confinement” in Montpellier, France. He presented a poster describing TOUGH2 analyses of the HG-A experiment at the Mont Terri underground research facility.
On October 11, John Avis presented an overview of detailed safety assessment modeling performed for the NWMO to the Joint Review Panel for the Deep Geologic Repository Project at CNSC headquarters in Ottawa. Webcasts of the hearings are available here (Part 2 and 3).
Geofirma contracted by City of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit (OLRT) Implementation Office to provide expert advice and support pertaining to environmental matters that effect the OLRT construction.
Geofirma contracted by Natural Resources Canada to complete GIS-based remote predicative structural geology mapping of Canada’s North.
Geofirma was selected by Natural Resources Canada to complete a third-party review of Atomic Energy of Canada’s proposed Deep Geologic Waste Management Facility for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste at the Chalk River Laboratories, Ontario.
Geofirma was awarded a three-year Standing Offer Agreement with Public Works and Government Services Canada for provision of environmental engineering services in the National Capital Region.
Sean Sterling was an invited speaker at the recent Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence Project Symposium, held in Guelph Ontario. Dr. Beth Parker from the University of Guelph is the lead researcher for this group with a research focus on Sustainable Bedrock Water Supplies for Ontario Communities.
Geofirma is a proud sponsor of the 11th annual Advances in Earth Sciences Research Conference (AESRC) to be held March 23-25th, 2012, at Queen’s University in Kingston. The AESRC Conference is the preeminent regional showcase of student-lead geosciences research from Ontario and Quebec and also boasts impressive participation from industry leaders. Click here for more information
Geofirma was awarded contracts to conduct Phase 1 Geoscientific Desktop Feasablilty Studies for two potential host communities in Ontario (Wawa and Hornepayne) as part Canada’s Plan for the Long-term Management of Used Nuclear Fuel. This plan is being implemented by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) and have developed an approach called Adaptive Phased Management (APM) to select a site to host a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for this waste. Click here for more information
2011 - 2010
Geoscientific and Safety Assessments of OPG’s DGR presented in 7 papers at Canadian Nuclear Society Conference, Toronto.
Intera Engineering Ltd. becomes Geofirma Engineering Ltd., marking transition to 100% Canadian ownership of the company.
Geofirma wins 3-year contract for gas transport modelling of the Lasgit Experiment (Large Scale Gas Injection Test).
Robert Walsh provides mView and TOUGH2 training to Nippon-Koei Research Division in Tsukuba-shi, Japan.
After almost 4 years of effort, geoscientific field activities for OPG’s DGR are now complete.