Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Emery & Garrett Groundwater, Inc. Hearts in New Hampshire

Archived from Heart of NH Magazine
July 2006

Emery & Garrett Groundwater, Inc.
Hearts in New Hampshire

To call the process that Emery & Garrett Groundwater, Inc. uses High Tech Dowsing is a bit of a tongue in cheek play on words because EGGI’s groundwater search is strictly science, but in point of fact - in many ways it is just as mysterious. After all, most of the work occurs above the ground and the aim is to figure out what is happening below the ground . . . sometimes deep below the ground. “ Even though we have employed hard science to find the water, I can tell you that when we hit water and it gushes out of the ground, there is a whole lot of whooping and excitement.“ says Emery. “You would think we just hit a high yielding oil well.”

The process of finding sufficient groundwater is bound up in a multi-stepped process, that gradually narrows down large study areas to site specific drilling targets. “At any point during that process” says Ken Hardcastle, who has a PhD in Structural Geology from the University of Massachusetts, “we can review the prospects with the client so that they have the choice of whether to move forward. This instills a lot of confidence in the exploration process, because they are always in control.”

The initial phase of a study includes aerial reconnaissance using satellite imagery and aerial photography, geologic mapping, and fracture fabric analysis. A team of scientists from EGGI including hydrologists, geologists, geophysicists and structural geologists then review the hydro-geologic information and narrows the search area to a set of sub-regions that would be most conducive to the development/utilization of underground water resources.

With all the traveling that the folks from EGGI do, you’d think that they would settle somewhere more geographically central, yet it is still New Hampshire that they choose to come home to. “We stay here because we love New Hampshire,” says Emery. “No matter how hard you have to work, life here is a vacation in itself. We often say … many people work their whole lives to retire in NH. Why not work and retire in NH? I plan to spend the rest of my life here.”

The Ethics of Conservation

Emery and the team from EGGI are well aware of the need for them to take their stewardship responsibilities seriously. This has led EGGI to be engaged on a voluntary level with environmental policy making around the country, as scientists not lobbyists, and trying to make sure that as often as possible science is the determining factor for groundwater policy rather than politics. Peter Garrett was featured several years ago on the CBS 60 Minutes News Program as an outspoken leader on the likely problems that MtBE (a gasoline additive) would have as a serious and pervasive groundwater contaminant. EGGI has spent a substantial amount of effort educating the public on the real and potential problems associated with using MtBE and other gasoline additives. Today, the State of New Hampshire is banning the use of MtBE (along with Maine and many other States) because MtBE has contaminated so many public groundwater supplies. “We are talking about the one resource we can’t live without,” says Emery. “We can find alternatives to oil and gas but we are always going to need clean water. We take the responsibility for protecting and managing the groundwater resources throughout New Hampshire and the country very seriously.”

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