Clean Energy Trust Invests in Wellntel

Milwaukee (May 29, 2018) – Wellntel is excited to announce a first-time investment from Clean Energy Trust. Clean Energy Trust invests in innovative cleantech startups from the Midwest.

The investment was announced at Clean Energy Trust’s #Co_InvestCleantech event in Chicago, Illinois on March 23, 2018.

Wellntel was selected from over one hundred applicants and joins 27 clean tech companies and the 3 additional 2018 investments in Clean Energy Trust’s portfolio. The CET investment in Wellntel recognizes that groundwater – a shared but historically invisible resource – is directly linked to vital systems like food and energy production, economic development and energy efficiency and will help Wellntel to reach its vision: to Make Groundwater Visible.

Clean Energy Trust believes in the importance of entrepreneurship to combat the effects of climate change, revitalize economic opportunity, and enable both high-impact and attractive financial returns.

“Clean Energy Trust is excited to be investing in Wellntel and sees enormous potential in creating a data network of groundwater information to enable smarter business and policy decisions.” – Paul Seidler, Director of Venture Development.

Over 60% of Clean Energy Trust’s investment have female or minority founders. Wellntel was pleased to receive the “ComEd Female Founder” Award which includes an additional $20K over CET’s initial investment.

Marian Singer, Wellntel’s Co-Founder and CEO presented at the Co_Invest Cleantech event. In her talk, Singer emphasized key Wellntel successes, including:

  • Wellntel customers have created over 30 local groundwater networks collecting over 11,000,000 readings, more than all public and academic agencies combines, in the same period
  • Data from these networks is playing a key role in ensuring that resilience of American rural communities, towns, farms,  and businesses
co_invest-cleantech-clean-energy-trust-event

Wellntel CEO Marian Singer presents at #coinvestcleantech.

About Wellntel:

Wellntel was started by Marian Singer and Nicholas Hayes in 2013, was commercially launched in 2015, and today, has customers in more than 30 states. Wellntel is the only Groundwater Information System suitable for use on domestic and irrigation wells, delivering verifiably accurate model-ready time series groundwater level data including static, pump-influenced and recovery rate information. Since the system is cloud-based, data are highly secure, near-realtime and can be shared broadly or kept private, based on well owner preference. Wellntel’s cloud-based information system is making groundwater visible, actionable and sustainable.  

Groundwater insights allow businesses to meet sustainability goals

It was once thought that groundwater monitoring would be the exclusive purview of government scientists, agencies and regulators. Wellntel upends that premise by enlisting, teaching and enabling citizens and community groups to themselves become collectors of groundwater data. We’ve seen that businesses are as interested as citizens and communities in sustainability, and need groundwater facts to meet their profit goals, their goals for shareholder value, and to demonstrate corporate citizenship.

Wellntel for Business

It is not surprising that businesses would build or sponsor groundwater monitoring. Consider that a 2014 study showed that S&P 500 companies that have built sustainability into their core strategies outperform those that haven’t.

“Without sufficient supply from a sustainable source, a company faces a systematic business risk that often requires considerable mitigation. For some, this may require moving entire factories or reworking the supply chain, while for others it may require changing a product, products or processes.” – Nelson Switzer, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Nestlé Waters North America (via Forbes)

On the ground, and through new customers and projects, we see that businesses must understand the natural resource condition in regions where they operate or invest, and, more specifically, make smarter operating decisions based on facts about groundwater supply and health. A water-intensive business with a portfolio of operating locations, can, for example, shift production to where resources are known to be abundant and renewable, and, then, become stewards to ensure that they will remain that way.

Wellntel makes this possible on scales ranging from small to very large:

  • A mine operator in Wisconsin has built a groundwater-monitoring network on neighborhood wells ringing the mine and then reports on pumping impacts and recovery metrics in a quarterly review with local leaders and citizens.
  • A California vineyard keeps a close watch on local annual recharge and makes seasonal decisions about pumping, storage and irrigation schedules.
  • A growing concentrated livestock operation is enlisting neighbors to collect groundwater level data to establish a baseline against which new water demand is compared and managed.

In each case, a business, as a local and global corporate citizen, works to ensure the long-term health of the water supply.

With Wellntel’s innovative turnkey Network Subscription offer, a business can stand up within weeks or even days a large scale and dense groundwater-monitoring network that is highly secure, and not be burdened with the purchase or management of equipment or new IT systems. Through this industry leading offer, the business customer will receive actionable and accurate data ready for use in reports, for sustainability metrics and assessments, and for investor and management communications.

Call 844-935-5426 or email info@wellntel.com for network pricing.

Wellntel for the Sustainable Businesses

 

Wellntel’s Chuck Dunning presenting at the Annual Texas Groundwater Conference

Texas Groundwater Well

Wellntel will provide an invited presentation at the Annual Texas Groundwater Conference hosted by the American Ground Water Trust. The conference – titled Everything Aquifers and Groundwater Management – is co-sponsored by the Texas Water Development Board.

The event brings together “engineers, scientist, planners, water-resource managers, agency professionals and attorneys to share up to date information regarding the challenges, feasibility, regulatory concerns and the economic and environmental benefits of water management strategies for Texas.”

Charles Dunning PhD, Wellntel’s VP for Business Development will present:

NEXT GENERATION GROUNDWATER LEVEL INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR TEXAS: EXTENDING WELL DATA NETWORKS BEYOND THE WELLFIELD TO INFORM OPERATION AND MANAGEMENT DECISIONS

Chuck’s presentation will happen during session 6, between 1:40 and 3:40 pm, June 7th.

If you are involved in Texas groundwater issues or have interest in the innovative programs of the American Ground Water Trust and the Texas Water Development Board, consider attending and learning more about Wellntel.

When: June 6 and 7, 2018

Where: Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark, Austin, TX

Learn more at the Conference Website.

New Mexico’s Groundwater Future

Our Groundwater FutureYou’re invited to learn about a new community-oriented groundwater monitoring program that aims to cover the state of New Mexico, especially engaging rural participants like farmers, ranchers, well owners and municipalities.

  • Recent years have seen water shortages in communities across New Mexico, from Magdalena to Questa to Wagon Mound to Clovis.
  • New Mexico currently lacks sufficient groundwater level measurements for many regions of the state—we have no way to map or track how much groundwater we have or the health of the aquifer.
  • The New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources has begun a project to create a statewide collaborative groundwater monitoring network, with the Museum of Natural History and Science as one of many monitoring locations and an important educational outlet.

Celebrate the beginning of this essential collaborative project. Come learn more about groundwater in New Mexico, and try out one of our new well monitoring stations!

When: April 26, 2018 at 10:30am

Where: New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Albuquerque, NM Kiwanis Learning Garden.

Download a Program Invitation

This outreach location is a collaboration between: New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources, New Mexico Tech, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Kiwanis Club, Rodgers Drilling, and Wellntel.

Wellntel Announces New Sensing Mode to Track, Tag and Understand Pumping Influence During Fixed Timed Interval Monitoring

Wellntel’s New Pump Influence Tagging enables easy and fast exclusion or inclusion of pump influenced groundwater levels in a dataset.

The powerful new feature comes standard on all systems leaving Wellntel’s Wisconsin factory as of March 1st, 2018, and is backwards compatible with all customer systems running Sensor Firmware 2.0 or higher.

With a Pump Performance Kit installed on a well with a pump, any Wellntel system will take readings on the programmed time interval (default is once every 4 hours), but if the pump is running when the reading is taken, the reading will be tagged “Pump Influenced”, and if the pump is not running, the reading will be tagged “Timed.” All Hydrographs on dashboards will include Pump Influence readings by default, but customers can choose to exclude Pump Influenced readings when the “Static” radio button is selected, and data exported from these charts will include or exclude readings as selected.

Pump influence exclusion is a common practice among groundwater scientists and water managers, who often value trends more than up-to-the-minute operating conditions. However, with the ability to tag these and other local conditions (like pump start, stop and recovery) Wellntel offers new possibilities and insights. With the power to collect and then choose to either include or exclude these data when it makes sense, owners and network sponsors gain deeper understanding of a well and the groundwater source it draws from.

With the addition of Pump Influence tagging in Basic and +Pump Systems, Wellntel now offers five ways of viewing pumping activity in the context of groundwater levels in a well, depending on the type of system that you have. Wellntel Basic now includes Pump Influence Tagging. The following sample hydrography compare the five modes.

Pump Influence Modes

Customers will enjoy additional benefits made possible with these new capabilities:

  • Customers with Basic Systems gain insights into pumping activity, not available before.
  • Data flow from +Pump systems can be streamlined while still providing insights into pump duty, speeding dashboard performance, extending solar ride-through periods and enabling battery-powering, need be.
  • Systems on predictable time intervals stay running longer, with less attention from owners, compared with systems that must track unpredictable rapid-fire pumping events.
  • Customers with +Pump systems and constant pressure pumps can ignore rapid start/stop patterns that provide little useful information and focus on groundwater levels and trends.

For most well owners and network members, Timed Readings with Pump Influence Tagging will be more than enough, so this is the factory default setting in a Basic system. Some Wellntel owners, like farms and mine operators running networks of systems, will require data and alerts from every pumping event, so +Pump factory default will track and tag all events.

Owners/Sponsors requiring a setting other than Factory Default  should call (844-935-5426) or email the Wellntel Team (info@wellntel.com) and the change will be made remotely.

Customers not yet running sensor firmware V2.0 or later, or who are unsure of the firmware they have, should contact Wellntel to arrange for review and possible upgrade. Customers running older firmware should upgrade in order to take advantage of these and future features. Firmware older than V2.0 will no longer be supported after July 21, 2018.

Wellntel is offering a new “Factory Upgrade to Latest Everything” that includes Sensor Firmware Upgrades to enable these new Pump Influence features, a new SP3 Sounder, and a FREE Pump Performance Kit with instructions for installation. Place your upgrade order here.

Introductory meeting at the Lyle Activity Center in Klickitat County, WA

Neighbors, ranchers, educators, and businesses of Klickitat County in the State of Washington can work together to understand groundwater, create smart local agreements, increase social and economic resilience, and protect the land and property value.

Communities that have sufficient groundwater facts can smartly balance the needs of citizens, ranches, forests, and businesses. Today, citizens in Klickitat County are coming together to ensure that these facts are available and in the public discussion. They’re doing this by creating an accurate but easy and inexpensive Community Groundwater Network.

Experts will share facts about area groundwater, you can see live demonstrations of similar networks, discuss project goals, and enjoy refreshments and conversation.

Who’s invited: The public/community at large and Klickitat County natural resources staff and elected officials.

Area of focus: Areas of Klickitat County where Klickitat County staff and neighborhoods are currently monitoring well and ground water characteristics manually twice each year.

Date and time:  10:30 AM, Wednesday, November 29th, 2017
Location: Lyle Activity Center, 308 Klickitat Street, Lyle, WA

Wellntel Bringing Talent and Technology to California’s Growing Groundwater Networks

Lee Knudtson, with years of experience helping customers utilize Wellntel Technology and Groundwater Data, will anchor Wellntel’s work in the state of California.

With the 2014 passage of the historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), California has set an ambitious goal to bring the state’s critically important groundwater basins into a sustainable regime of pumping and recharge. Because groundwater is best managed at the local and regional level, new Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA), Irrigation Districts (ID) and their hydrogeologist partners are charged with the creation and implementation of the needed plans to bring their basins into equilibrium.

Wellntel’s groundwater-level networks are the perfect solution for GSAs building new and growing existing starting monitoring programs. In addition to being easy, fast, convenient and cost-effective, Wellntel technology provides rich, accurate and dense data. These data will be key to supporting Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) and local decisions, while, at the same time, engaging the community and connecting its stakeholders, a key requirement of the legislation. Planning a network for the first time involves working with consultants, GSA leaders, and the community, something Wellntel has done in the creation of networks in 20 states. To support GSAs in the design and implementation of their GSPs, Wellntel is making new investments in California.

After three years as Wellntel’s Technical Support Lead and a short summer sabbatical to travel and explore, Lee Knudtson has re-joined Wellntel’s sales team as California’s Network Development Representative. He brings to this position a deep understanding of the power of Wellntel technology and groundwater monitoring networks, along with strong customer relations and extensive field experience. He will be introducing Wellntel to local agencies and their partners, sharing national network deployment experience, and helping communities to quickly start monitoring, engage stakeholders, track progress, and make resource management decisions. Lee will bring a team of scientists, engineers and groundwater and data specialists to every project. For an introductory meeting, contact Lee at  ljknudtson@wellntel.com.

Welcome back Lee!

Lee Knudtson

Wellntel announces major performance upgrade with SP3 (Sounder Probe 3)

Wellntel Sounder Probe 3In time for winter, Wellntel is pleased to announce Sounder Probe 3 (SP3), a technical advancement that improves operation and performance even in wells with limited ventilation and where seasonal temperatures and dew points can affect sensor signal strength.

Wellntel is engineered for rugged conditions, including intense sun, hot and cold temperatures, and, of course, water. Components are selected for long life and stable operation despite a wide range of conditions. Our plastic is UV-stable. Our electronics are encapsulated. Everything needing to be outside is waterproof.

That said, an odd assortment of variables sometimes come together to frustrate some customers. A main focus of our engineering team this year has been on solving this complex problem.

The condition occurs when there is very little movement of air into and out of the well, when background relative humidity is high, and when there are dramatic downward swings in outside temperature, like at dusk in the early winter. When these conditions come together, large quantities of dew form inside the well near the ground surface. Since there is no air movement to cause the dew to evaporate or shed, some of it can adhere for very long periods.

While prior generation sounders technically survive these periods, dew forming on part of the sounder probe can render it temporarily deaf, so a system is unable to deliver consistent readings when it happens.

SP3 solves this problem. By sealing the sounder and replacing solid surfaces with slick, flexible ones, while not inhibiting pressure and sound, SP3 sounders will operate much more consistently during periods of extreme dew formation. We expect that 80-90% of dew interruptions will be prevented by using the SP3 sounder .

As with all Wellntel components, SP3 sounders will carry a one year warranty against manufacturing defect. It is critical that installation and operation guidelines are followed closely to ensure proper operation. New materials used on SP3 sounders will eventually degrade – we anticipate 2-3 years of useful life – and will need to be replaced. Wellntel technicians will monitor system performance and alert when replacement is required. Replacement will cost $20 + shipping.

Starting today, every new Wellntel sensor shipped from the factory will include an SP3 sounder. All customers with a Wellntel sensor in the field and still under warranty can request a free upgrade to SP3 by emailing techsupport@wellntel.com. And all customers with sensors out of warranty can upgrade to SP3 for $20 + shipping.

Wellntel at Badger Rock Center finds hydrologic connections

Wellntel systems at the Badger Rock Center are tracking groundwater and water in storage on the south side of Madison, Wisconsin. Data from the systems help neighbors, gardeners, teachers, students, and facility managers to see connections between rainfall, rainfall collection, pumping for irrigation, and groundwater levels in the shallow aquifer underlying the school, its gardens, and the neighborhood.

Recently, representatives from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources visited the center. For the meeting, Wellntel scientists completed and shared analyses of data from Wellntel and USGS sources, comparing precipitation and surface water records with groundwater information gathered at Badger Rock Center’s hand-pumped groundwater well, demonstrating the link between rainfall and changes in groundwater level in the shallow aquifer:

Rainfall and Groundwater Level at Badger Rock Center - Madison, Wisconsin

… and a clear connection between surface water levels at nearby Lake Monona* and groundwater levels at the Badger Rock Center:

Surface Water and Groundwater Level - Badger Rock Center, Madison, Wisconsin

In addition to offering these insights as a Wellntel Sentinel site, the Badger Rock Center has plans to become a hub for a Community Groundwater Network  (CGN) in and around Dane County.

The CGN will help Dane County farmers and residents understand resource availability and lower operating risk and cost, in addition to providing key, previously unavailable groundwater facts to  support smart water management in the economically and ecologically vital Yahara Basin. Look here for additional announcements and information about that CGN as they become available.

*Two Wellntel systems at the Badger Rock Center are one mile from the south west shore of Lake Monona. One measures groundwater level in the shallow aquifer, the other measures rainwater captured on the site and stored.

 

Badger Rock Center to Lake Monona

Surface water nutrient loads shown to receive significant contribution from groundwater

Dense groundwater-level data – as gathered by Wellntel CGNs – are essential to meet TMDL testing needs

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) guides restoration

The US EPA’s 303(d) Program of the Clean Water Act assists states, territories and authorized tribes in submitting lists of impaired waters and developing the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for a stream or river. TMDL is a regulatory term describing a plan for restoring impaired waters that identifies the maximum amount of a pollutant – the load – that a body of water can receive on a daily basis while still meeting water-quality standards. A TMDL is composed of load allocations for both point sources and nonpoint sources.

Excessive nutrient levels measured in >40% of US river miles studied

While nitrogen and phosphorus are essential for a healthy aquatic ecosystem, an excess of these nutrients in a waterbody results in overgrowth of aquatic plants, increased harmful algal blooms, decreased light penetration and decreased levels of dissolved oxygen. Any of these conditions reduces the recreational use of the water for people and makes it difficult for fish and other aquatic animals to live. The US EPA National Rivers and Streams Assessment (2008/2009) evaluated 1.2 million miles of rivers and streams in the US and found that more than 40% of river and stream miles have levels of nutrients that are too high.

As reported by the US EPA, The primary sources of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution are runoff of fertilizers, animal manure, sewage treatment plant discharges, stormwater runoff, car and power plant emissions, and failing septic tanks. In the Mississippi River Basin, which spans 31 states and ultimately drains into the Gulf of Mexico, nutrients from row crops and concentrated animal feeding operations contribute the most nutrient pollution.”.

A source of nutrients that is often overlooked is groundwater baseflow to streams and rivers.

Broadly, baseflow is the flow of a stream or river that exists even when there is no direct runoff of precipitation over the land. In other words, baseflow is the flow of the stream when it has not rained for many days and so there is no precipitation-related runoff. Man-made point discharges of treated wastewater or permitted releases can contribute to baseflow. However, groundwater discharge is usually the primary contributor of sustained baseflow in a stream or river.

Impossible to meet a TMDL if the nutrient contribution of groundwater baseflow is not accounted for

If the nutrient load from groundwater baseflow is not well quantified or is ignored, it will be very difficult or impossible for local managers to meet the nutrient management objectives established by a TMDL. What is known about the nutrient load of groundwater? A comprehensive national analysis of nutrients in streams and groundwater was conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS) using data collected from 1992 through 2004. The analysis was published in 2010 by the National Water-Quality Assessment Program as USGS Circular 1350.

A major finding of the analysis was that nitrate concentrations greater than the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) are more prevalent and widespread in groundwater than in streams. In fact, of studies in shallow groundwater in agricultural areas, 83% percent had one or more samples (of 20 to 30 wells sampled) with a nitrate concentration greater than the MCL. Only 28% of sreams in the agricultural areas had one or more exceedence. In urban settings, 52% of studies documented one or more samples with a nitrate concentration MCL exceedance, compared to only 7% of streams.

From: Dubrovsky, N.M., and Hamilton, P.A., 2010, Nutrients in the Nation’s streams and groundwater: National Findings and Implications: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3078, 6 p. Accessed August 3, 2017 at https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2010/3078/.

The analysis goes on to state that  “Groundwater contributions of nutrients to streams can be significant — particularly for nitrate.”. As part of the study, 148 small streams across the Nation were assessed and it was found that for two-thirds of these streams, at least one-third of the total annual load of nitrate load was derived from baseflow. In certain hydrogeologic settings, groundwater can also contribute a significant phosphorus load to streams.

The USGS analysis in Circular 1350 documents at the national level what has also been observed in numerous local and smaller-scale studies. One example is demonstrated by the following figure from an urban study conducted by the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. The graph shows that the contribution of groundwater baseflow to the total nutrient load of surface water is significant for both phosphorus and nitrogen, but particularly nitrogen. This urban area was almost completely sewered for stormwater and the year-round, dry-weather flow in the stormwater system was monitored for flow, nutrients, and other chemistry.

From: Importance of Hydrologic Pathways to Urban Nutrient Loading and Implications for Current Stormwater Management Practices. Ben Janke Dept. of Ecology Evolution and Behavior University of Minnesota janke024@umn.edu, October 16, 2012, accessed at https://www.wrc.umn.edu/sites/wrc.umn.edu/files/trackbsessionii.pdf on August 2, 2017

For communities involved in developing a TMDL to protect and manage their water resources, USGS Circular 1350 provides a very important caution, quoted here –

“Full accounting and assessment of groundwater contributions of nutrients to surface water is a critical step in developing management strategies to meet water-quality goals for protection of drinking-water supplies and aquatic life. For example, omission of groundwater contributions of nutrients from Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) calculations can result in errors in the allocation of loads to other sources that need to be controlled.”

Hydraulic gradients must be defined to quantify nutrient transport and baseflow loads

To fully account for the contribution of groundwater to an established TMDL, the flow and dynamics of the groundwater system must be well known. In Relevance of Water-Level Data to Ground-Water Quality Issues, USGS Circular 1217 published in 2001, it is stated that predictions of the speed and direction of movement of ground-water contaminants – including nutrients – are “based on determination of the gradient (slope) of the water table or potentiometric surface in the affected aquifer”.

From Portage County web site, http://ww3.co.portage.wi.us/groundwater/undrstnd/gwmove.htm access August 14,2017

Periodic measurements of groundwater level are often insufficient for defining a potentiometric surface that is dynamic and changing in response to seasonal hydrologic events or pumping stresses. As also stated in Circular 1217 ”longer term water-level measurements are often needed to develop an understanding of how ground-water contaminants migrate from their sources through the ground-water system.”. This is particularly true if groundwater flow models are used in predicting nutrient transport in groundwater. Water-level data of “sufficient duration and frequency of measurement are needed to calibrate and evaluate the reliability of the flow component of these models before realistic simulations of contaminant transport can be made.”.

Wellntel networks provide the critical time-series data necessary to define hydraulic gradients at a scale to quantify local groundwater flow and nutrient transport

Local, state, and federal mandates for assessing and monitoring local water resource continue to expand. The successful management of water quality in watersheds requires understanding the dynamic contributions of both groundwater and surface water. TMDLs will be successful only if the groundwater baseflow contribution of nutrients is understood and accounted for.

Wellntel sensor systems have been designed explicitly to provide the temporal density of data necessary to observe dynamic groundwater systems responding to a range of stresses. And networks of Wellntel systems provide the spatial density necessary to define potentiometric surfaces, quantify hydraulic gradients, and support the assessment of contribution of groundwater baseflow loads to a TMDL.

Look for image showing greater network density (Richfield?)

Wellntel provides the means to quantify the groundwater nutrient contribution with greater accuracy at a much lower cost that has been possible before. In quantifying more accurately the groundwater contribution to nutrient loading, a more precise TMDL can be developed which will then have a greater likelihood of success.