Un modèle physique est constitué de quatre éprouvettes de sable percolées à des vitesses de flux différentes par L'eau d'un forage colmaté.
On a pu ainsi obtenir, en quelques semaines, un colmatage différentiel de deux éprouvettes percolées à des vitesses supérieures à 1 cm/s, et confirmer les hypothèses émises sur l'influence de La vitesse réelle des filets liquides dans L'apparition du colmatage, et sur ta nature bactérienne du processus colmatant.
Ce modèle constitue un véritable "colmatomètre" qui a donné lieu au dépôt d'un brevet (BOURGUET et al., 1985). Avant La réalisation d'un champ captant nouveau, L'emploi d'un tel colmatomètre devrait permettre d'apprécier les risques de colmatage spécifiques au site, et de définir Les normes de crépinage et d'exploitation permettant de Les éviter, ou du moins de les minimiser.
A study on 300 wells drilled in the Ypresian aquifer, over 60 % of which were clogged, revealed that there were significant statistic relationships between the frequency of ctogging, the high velocities of the water close to the well screens and the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the water; the latter means the existence of sulfato-reducing bacterial activity.
The experimental model described here was designed to check the effect of the velocity of the water in the aquifer on the creation of clogging, as well as its relationship with the development of the bacterial population induced by a sufficient nutrient flow rate.
This model, comprising sterilized sand, through wich water from a clogged well percolated, was set up prior to a model which will soon be built, consisting of cores of Ypresian sand containing its own microorganisms.
APPARATUS AND METHODS
Four stainless-steel tubes (length 14 cm, inner diameter 26 mm) were filled with sterilized siliceous sand, the initial porosity of which was 35 %. The particle size distribution (40 to 140 µm) and the permeability were similar to those of the Ypresian sand. Tube seeding was carried out for a week by percolation with water from a clogged well; no clogging in the tubes was observed. This water was then percotated simultaneously through the tubes (figure 2) for 58 days at rates, maintained by weekly corrections, close to 1, 3, 12 and 30 mm/s respectively (figure 3).
The microbiological analyses consisted in : direct numeration of bacterial bodies by epifluorescence microscopy, indirect numeration by counting revivifiable heterotrophic aerobic bacteria after 15 days incubation within a medium chosen to be the least selective possible and, lastly, the numeration of both permanent and casual anaerobia, as well as sulfatoreducing bacteria following Hungate's method.
(figure 4)The reduction of permeability, which results from clogging, after 58 days of percolation was the following :
- tube nb 1 0 % for an average percolation rate of 0.8 mm/s,
- tube nb 2 2 % for an average percolation rate of 2.5 mm/s,
- tube nb 3 29,5 % for an average percolation rate of 11.5 mm/s,
- tube nb 4 59 % for an average percolation rate of 30.8 mm/s.
Tubes nb 1, 2 and 4 were destroyed in order to carry out microbiological analyses. Tube nb 3, maintained in percolation, reached 99,4 % clogging after 142 days.
MICROBIOLOGICAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Sampling procedures for analyses were set up by using tube nb 2. Three different samples of sand were used for analyses : from the inlet, from the middle and from the outlet of tubes nb 1 et 4. Moreover analyses were made on the percolation water upstream and downstream of tube nb 4.
The revivifiable heterotrophic aerobic bacteria are more numerous in the water at the outlet of tube nb 4 than at the inlet, white direct counting shows a slight decrease.
There are greater quantities of microorganisms in the sand than in the percolation water. The presence of sulfato-reducing bacteria can even be observed whereas they are too few to be counted in the percolation water. The filtering effect of the sand is not the only, element responsible for the increase amount of bacteria. Indeed the ratio between the number of revivifiable heterotrophic bacteria in the clogged tube and the non clogged tube was about 3 times greater than the ratio between their flow rates.
The higher velocity in tube nb 4 induced favorable conditions for the development of certain species of bacteria, some of which generate hydrogen producing organic molecules, thus allowing the development of sulfato-reducing bacteria.
Clogging itself should depend either on the increase of the biomass or on the development of microorganisms producing a significant quantity of organic molecules outside the cells. By taking into account the amount of bacteria and the volumes of percolated water, it can be seen that 2.01 x 1011 cells, i.e. 0.2 cm3 , were retained by filtration in tube nb 1, and 0.7 cm3 in tube nb 4. Basing the estimations on bacterial counts in the sand, biovolumes of 0.2 mm3 are obtained for tube nb 1 (non clogged), and 8 mm3 for tube nb 4 (clogged). Consequently the clogging substances consist mainly of products situated outside the cells.
The tube is the center of chemolithotrophic organisms (made evident by C14 tracers), thus the aerobic heterotrophic microflora and the sulfato-reducing species are no doubt linked to the use of the metabolism products of these organisms.
After 142 days percolation, the sand in tube nb 3 (clogged at 99,4 %) had a cell content of 1011 cells/cm3 of sand at the inlet (filamentous aggregates) and 107 cells/cm3 at the outlet (no aggregates). On an average, roughly a third of the pore volume is filled with cells, which is in agreement with a decrease in porosity from 35 to 27 % and therefore with the clogging in the tubes.
Tubes of sand could be clogged experimentalty and rapidly. The most significant clogging was obtained for the fastest percolation rate.
It seems as though clogging is due to a proliferation of bacteria, essentially oligotrophic, and to the creation of a nutrient-chain rising to the sulfato-reducing bacteria (which are heterotrophic).
The clogging process described in the case of the Ypresian sand aquifer is certainly similar to the processes occurring in other granular aquifers.
The model " clog-meter" could be used by water supptiers exploiting aquifers fiable to clogging. Indeed it can determine the best flow rate, to avoid clogging in newly exploited pumping fields and decide on the most adequate well equipment, the number of wells needed in newly exploited areas and their exploitation yield in order to obtain the desired flow rates.
- flow rate,
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