The BAFF has two components: 1) a large barn-type building to house G360‘s newly acquired field research equipment including drill rigs, trailers, vehicles, various water sampling devices, workshop and storage; and 2) a network of boreholes and wells (drilled to depths between 5 and 150 m below ground surface) and instrumented with some experimental and some conventional devices. Some of these boreholes are positioned inside the building for convenient all-season uses and the others will be outside the building footprint within a few hectare area. Phase I of the BAFF, completed in 2010, included drilling of the first two companion wells and building the core and equipment storage areas. Phase II, completed in 2013, included the geophysical characterization of a buried bedrock valley previously identified under the BAFF facility, and the placement of a borehole cluster within The Arboretum. These boreholes were drilled in close proximity to one another (<15 m separation) and included both vertical and angled orientations. Future work on this site will include 3D characterization of fractures and physical properties to better understand flow and transport in the Guelph aquifer. In the near future, additional boreholes will be drilled to expand the existing cluster as well as the construction of a field-based laboratory, research office spaces and classrooms for teaching professional development short courses to our experts and colleagues from the corporate world.
Benefits of BAFF
G360 is a large, well-recognized field-based groundwater research program with well-established industry partners and strong collaborative links both nationally and internationally. The BAFF enhances this program and will attract substantial additional research funds over the longer term. The subsurface monitoring infrastructure associated with this facility will provide the most-comprehensive and multifaceted data sets concerning the underlying dynamic bedrock aquifer system. This facility capitalizes on an excellent opportunity for education, outreach, and technology transfer regarding leading edge research that is both locally and globally relevant.
The BAFF will enable the development, prototyping and field-level demonstration of important new technologies that will grow the expanding environmental sector. In short, this research infrastructure, combined with the excellence and breadth of the research team, supportive municipal, provincial and federal government agencies, and an unparalleled level of research integration, will enable the development of creative solutions to the pressing water quality challenges posed by economic development and urbanization.