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Application of RBDMS Environmental in Alabama: An Overview

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Ann Compton Arnold, Geological Survey of Alabama

The Geological Survey of Alabama Groundwater Assessment Program (GSA-GAP) has been using the Risk-Based Data Management System-ENV (RBDMS-ENV), developed by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) since 2014.  To date, the GSA-GAP has effectively migrated over 40,000 well records to RBDMS-ENV and used the system during preparation of “Assessment of Groundwater Resources in Alabama, 2010-2016 (GSA, 2018),” a 426-page report that provides a compilation of aquifer properties and water level information from across the State.  

RBDMS-ENV has provided the GSA-GAP with these data management benefits:

  • A simple graphic data input interface for the organization of detailed information that can be used in future projects.  Figure 1 shows the result of a data query for the real-time monitoring network project.
  • Access to relational data for water wells via a desktop application.
  • Ability to verify data quality before it is uploaded to RBDMS-ENV from Excel spreadsheets.

Figure 1.  Project defined in RBDMS for Alabama’s real-time monitoring network.

How does the Geological Survey of Alabama use RBDMS-ENV?

RBDMS-ENV serves as a digital file cabinet for available water well information, including  lithology, construction, logs, water levels, and water quality data (Figure 2).  Listed below are three features of RBDMS-ENV used by the GSA-GAP for water-level monitoring:

  • Allows scientists to filter many well records and select a group of wells in an area by county, aquifer, lithologic formation, etc. (Figure 3).
  • Provides ability to select a group of related wells and create projects that tag data for future easy access and further investigation.
  • Allows real-time monitoring data to be used by the GSA-GAP while simultaneously serving the data to the USGS portal for the National Groundwater Monitoring Network.

Figure 2.  Water well location search by  RBDMS-ENV.

The GSA-GAP primarily uses RBDMS-ENV to store water-level elevation monitoring data and assess groundwater availability.  For example, Figure 3 shows the use of a facility filter to query RBDMS-ENV, all wells located in Chilton County, Alabama, and further selectively identify those wells screened in a specific aquifer.  In this example, the well is screened in the Coker Formation.  Additionally, RBDMS-ENV has the storage capacity and analytical tools to assess water quality data stored in the system. 

Figure 3.  RBDMS display showing well filters for county and lithologic formation.

The RBDMS-ENV also has the ability to work in tandem with other applications established on the GSA website  An example of this conjunctive use is the display of hydrographs from the real-time monitoring well networks that are available for use by stakeholders and the public (see Figure 4).  

Figure 4.  Hydrograph of real-time monitoring data for Chilton County well.

The GSA-GAP is currently beta-testing an ArcGIS-online application (Figure 5) that allows data stored in RBDMS-ENV to be readily searched and displayed on maps.  This application will be made available online to the public on the GSA website, once completed.

Figure 5.  Map view online of well location within specified search area, with metadata box.

In summary, GSA combines the relational and organizational aspects of RBDMS-ENV with an online map interface available on the GSA website to show well and water level information.

Geological Survey of Alabama, 2018, Geological Survey of Alabama, Assessment of groundwater resources in Alabama, 2010-2016:  Geological Survey of Alabama Bulletin 186, 426 p.