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CEG8507 : Borehole Design, Construction and Operation

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Brian Thomas
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of the module is to provide an introduction to a variety of types of boreholes and wells, their use, design, and operation.
To provide a practical introduction to the main methods of drilling and borehole investigation techniques used to assess aquifer and well properties in the context of developing successful water supply boreholes.
To introduce methods of optimising borehole design, including selection of appropriate technology and types of pumps, well and aquifer development, test pumping.
To provide awareness of the need for long term maintenance and rehabilitation of water supply boreholes, and to provide details of appropriate methods.

The Borehole Design, Construction and Operation module provides a detailed understanding of the principles and practice of implementing all aspects of boreholes, including site selection, design, drilling, investigation, test pumping, and long-term maintenance. The focus is on water supply boreholes, although many of the techniques apply equally to other types of boreholes used for investigation, monitoring or water quality sampling. An emphasis is placed on optimisation of design for sustainable yield.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Background to groundwater investigation and development, sustainable yield
- Types of boreholes and their uses, appropriate technology water supply wells, boreholes for sampling and monitoring
- Borehole site location selection
- Drilling methods
- Borehole investigations, wireline geophysics, lithological analysis and sampling of cuttings
- Well design principles and practice, open holes, casing, screens, gravel packs
- Drilling processes, cementing, centralisers, verticality of wells
- Optimal design
- Aquifer and well development
- Pump selection for different purposes
- Test pumping for sustainable yield / deployable output, aquifer properties (step and constant rate tests)
- Well maintenance and rehabilitation
- Well design and operation for monitoring and water quality sampling

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Case study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00Structured tutorial workshops. (PiP and/or OS)
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities201:0020:00Lecture videos and slides for independent learning.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00Site visit. (PiP)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study132:0032:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for a full understanding of material.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk12:002:00Introduction to module (PiP)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

In order to provide the correct blend of theoretical background and hands-on experience as envisaged in the learning outcomes, the module is designed to be run as an intensive one-week block course. One afternoon of fieldwork will give the students experience of running borehole tests and monitoring in the field. The substantial private study element will be necessary to complete the more demanding practical exercises and to consolidate all aspects of learning.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M100Case study (approx. 12 pages, 1750 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module covers practical application of specific techniques, and the development of ability to bring these together into integrated assessments of groundwater resource potential. The case study will be designed to bring different components together and to develop and test the students' ability to assess a broad range of information.

Reading Lists