Open File Report 2009-16

Author(s) Date 2010-03-31

This report presents the preliminary results of an investigation to assess risk to groundwater in the Paskapoo Formation from potential hazards associated with future coalbed methane (CBM) production in the Ardley Coal Zone of the Scollard Formation.

The investigation focused on two key hydrogeological components:

1) the degree of hydraulic connectivity between the Ardley coals and the Paskapoo Formation, and

2) the degree of hydraulic connectivity and hydraulic continuity within the Paskapoo Formation itself.

If there is connectivity between the Ardley Coal Zone and the Paskapoo Formation, the probability of it affecting the groundwater depends on

1) the degree of regional interconnectivity of the sandstones in the Paskapoo Formation, and

2) the degree of hydraulic continuity between a given Ardley CBM development and users of Paskapoo groundwater over the time scale of that CBM production.

As in all geological investigations that rely on sparse data from wells, there is uncertainty in the conceptual model developed in this report. Further studies can reduce but not eliminate this scientific uncertainty.

Parks, K. and Andriashek, L. (2009): Preliminary investigation of potential, natural hydraulic pathways between the Scollard and Paskapoo formations in Alberta: implications for coalbed methane production; Energy Resources Conservation Board, ERCB/AGS Open File Report 2009-16, 66 p.