What to expect with your new Wellntel

After you’ve installed Wellntel and registered, login to my.wellntel.com, and you may see the first reading(s).

When will I see my data?

The sensor’s default settings have it scheduled to take a reading every 4 hours (we call this Timed Interval), and a series of readings when your pump runs and stops, so that you can see pump drawdown and your well recovery rates.  So, depending on how often your pump runs, it may take minutes or up to a few hours for the first readings to appear.

How often will I see new data?

Timed Interval is something that we can program for you, and that later this summer, you will be able to program yourself. You can let us know if 4 hours is frequent enough for you, knowing that more or less readings per day directly impacts battery life.

Will the first readings be accurate?

The sensor will take some time to calibrate – sometimes just hours, but sometimes a few days or a week, depending on complexity. The system learns over time and appreciates your patience as it builds history with your well.

How can I learn more?

If you haven’t already, we suggest that as a next step, you visit my.wellntel.com, and click on the Menu in the upper right hand corner, then “Manage System”, and “Alerts”, to program alerts that can be sent to you if there are changes you want know about changes with or your groundwater or your well.

The menu button looks like this:

Menu Button

And feel free to email Team Wellntel (info@wellntel.com) with questions, comments or suggestions.

How does Wellntel mount on a well?

On a well seal: A Wellntel Sensor can be mounted on the access port on any common well-seal with a ½ inch NPT threaded opening, and can be lifted out of the way of plumbing fittings using a riser pipe up to 18” long, as long as sufficient venting or airflow is available through either connectors and conduit providing power to the well, or other venting means*.

Wellntel South Home Install

On a turtle cap: A common vented turtle cap can be drilled and tapped (½ NPT) to accommodate a Wellntel Sensor, and installed using a 1.5” tall threaded lead-free bronze close nipple (included). Wellntel offers a pre-drilled cap, optionally.

Wellntel North Home Install

A Sensor probe is placed in the access port, and hangs 24” below the Sensor module, as shown.

Wellntel has been tested on pipes and tubes (like sounding tubes) as narrow as 3/4” ID and on wells up to 12” in diameter.

Wellntel provides a quick-start installation guide with every system. Those documents, and supporting instructional videos, are available at www.wellntel.com.

Direct questions to info@wellntel.com or call 844-935-5426.


 

* Wellntel will not work reliably, and may break or be damaged, on a well with insufficient venting to allow for the entry or escape of air into the well during pumping events. To enable venting, Wellntel recommends the addition of a common T-fitting and sanitary air vent below the Wellntel sensor system. Installing a Wellntel Sensor on a well with insufficient venting may damage the Sensor, and will void the warranty.

Will Wellntel work on every well?

Wellntel works out of the box on most modern borehole wells, after a period of data collection and calibration.

But there are exceptions: we call them complex or “out-of-bounds” applications, and discuss them in detail on the Wellntel Technical Overview and Manual. Here are the highlights.

Every well is different. Some are deep, some are shallow. Some are old, some are new. Some are moderately obstructed, some are clear as day. It’s always a good idea to see if you can find your Well Construction Report to know what you’re up against. If you’re not sure what you have or can’t find the report, a Wellntel technician will be happy to assist as possible during regular business hours 9am – 5pm Central. Feel free to call us at 844-935-5426 or email info@wellntel.com.

If there is a Wellntel Dealer in your area, they’d be happy to assist as well. Find a dealer here.

Condition Background Possible Adaptations or Solutions
Wells with limited space at the wellhead In situations where a wellcap is constrained by physical objects like covers, boxes, or decks at the wellhead, there may not be room for Wellntel. The Wellntel Sensor can be seperated into two components to create a custom package where the smaller lower unit that contains the sensing systems hangs inside the well casing under the cap and is connected by a wire harness to the upper unit to be placed elsewhere.
Sealed wells or wells with insufficient airflow at the cap Wellntel will not work reliably, and may break or be damaged, on a well with insufficient venting to allow for the entry or escape of air into the well during pumping events. Installing a Wellntel Sensor on a well with insufficient venting may damage the Sensor, and will void the warranty. To enable venting where turtle caps are used, replace a cap lacking vents with one that includes vents. To enable venting on a well seal, Wellntel recommends the addition of a common T-fitting and sanitary air vent below the Wellntel sensor system.
Dry Caverns Wellntel will work out-of-the-box on most wells with casing pipes or wells with casing pipe giving up to fractured rock, as long as the rock walls provide adequate continuity of signal. In rare cases, wells are drilled through large open-air caverns or other non-contiguous geology such as caverns and caves and sounding tubes are not installed, or caverns were exposed by groundwater depletion. Where these features are present, it is best to mount Wellntel on an access port fitted to a sounding tube. In this case, the sounding tube contains the signal and enables successful readings. Sounding tubes are not always a standard feature included in well construction, but are more common in areas with these types of geologic formations. Wellntel recommends a sounding tube be installed by a qualified well servicer as a matter of practice in regions where the geology demands.
Cascading or Falling Water Wellntel can compensate for most cascading water conditions as long as there is not so much noise from falling water as to attenuate Wellntel’s maximum signal strength. Then, it’s like shouting into a downpour. Cascading water in a well is generally viewed as an unhealthy condition and should be corrected by a Well Service professional by adding a sleave to stop the flow. However, where cascading is present, it will help to mount Wellntel on an access port fitted to a sounding tube.
Sounding Tubes Wellntel can be configured to work through common sounding tubes, and indeed, they are usually a solution to other problem. But sounding tubes themselves may require special calibrations and hardware adaptations. It is important to make sure that sounding tubes are well vented. A factory technician may also suggest alternative sensor placement, special sounding tube construction and signal programming.
Quiet Pumps In cases where the pump is not in the well, is so deep in the well as to be unheard by Wellntel’s listening circuit Wellntel sensor may not be able to sense when a pump if running. If pump-triggered readings are desired, Wellntel should be configured to use either the a Pump Performance Kit – included with every Wellntel Kit.
Variable Frequency Driven Pumps Sometimes the presence of a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) can create noise conditions in the wall that interfere with Wellntel’s signal. In some rare cases, a VFD can create a pattern of mixed results. To address these special conditions, a technician may recommend higher or lower signal sensitivity, special signal frequencies or other techniques to filter for accurate readings. As the fleet expands, Wellntel engineers are applying algorithmic patches to address these mixed results situations.
Artesian wells with spools Wellntel recommends against installing on artesian wells with sealing spools. The physical separation between the unpressurized area above the spool and the pressurized area below the spool prevent the signal from getting to where it needs to go. No solution at this time.
A closed pit-less adapter Pitless adapters like those found in large capacity wells present a large obstruction to the Wellntel signal, and may cause incorrect readings. A factory technician may suggest alternative sensor placement, special sounding tube construction and signal programming.
Long telemetry distances or complex telemetry challenges Places where the Sensor and Gateway are further than about ½ mile apart or where there are large obstructions between them, may suffer poor radio communication. The most difficult obstructions include large hills, stucco or metal clad construction or think vegetation. Optional cable extensions to move or lift antennae can help to overcome interference from obstructions. Wellntel also provides a hardened outdoor Gateway package. A customer can also choose a cellular model plan or to use Wellntel’s remote retrieval software Sensorbuddy.

How long should your Wellntel battery last?

Wellntel Home Static can be powered with either a 9V non-rechargeable lithium-ion battery, an AC adapter, or a Solar Power Kit.

If you must measure pump duty and/or take water level readings during pumping, you should choose a Wellntel +Pump Kit, which can be powered by either an AC adapter, or a Solar Power Kit, but not by battery, since battery life will be shortened by readings taken during pumping and it’s much cheaper to go with line or solar power in the long run.

If you own or want a Home Static system, and choose the battery option, you should be aware that battery life is variable and depends on many operational factors. Out of the box, your Wellntel’s default settings is a timed reading taken every four hours and the system is designed with ample radio transmission for most most yards and some small farms. In this duty, the battery may last up to ten months. Factors that will shorten battery life include: a shorter timed interval, readings taken during pumping events, long periods of pumping, a long distance or many obstructions (like Stucco,  metal buildings or hillsides) between the sensor and gateway, or very wide and frequent temperature swings.

If you have a batter-powered Wellntel already, and are measuring pumping, we suggest that you upgrade to either an AC adapter or Solar Power Kit the next time your battery runs out. Either will pay back quickly.

You may be able to improve battery life by improving radio signal strength by “lifting” one or both of your antennae using our antenna extension and mounts. A Wellntel technician can help you check signal strength and will help you determine is this is a viable option. Email techsupport@wellntel.com with the Subject line: “Check my Radio Signal Strength.”

Finally, for some applications, it may not be necessary to measure every event. Battery life can be maximized, to some degree, with settings changes.

  • At your request, a qualified technician can change the system settings to only measure one pumping event in a day. In this mode, the customer will have one recovery event per day for reference, but will not receive pumping duty totals or be able to set pump duty alerts. This setting dramatically decreases the load on battery and extends its life in a pump cycling application.
  • At your request, a qualified technician can change the system settings to limit the number of readings taken during a pumping event. This also saves battery power, but at a lower data resolution for pumping data, and not as dramatically as option one.

Seeing something odd in your Wellntel groundwater data?

Wellntel owners play a key role in helping Wellntel’s technology to get smarter and more accurate.

If, for example, you see a reading in your groundwater level chart that just doesn’t seem right — it looks to be outside of a trend or indicates a measurement that seems illogical (as with the measurement highlighted below) — simply click on the event, to flag it as “incorrect”.

Wellntel flag odd reading

You’ll be asked to confirm your flag.

Wellntel Confirm your Flag

Flagging initiates a sequence of events where a Wellntel technician receives a request to review the event in question, and, depending on data contained in the log, will apply adjustments to the algorithm to correct the anomaly (see Wellntel’s administrative request below). These adjustments are both backwards and forwards looking, so future possible errors are minimized, and errors that may have happened in the past are corrected*.

Wellntel Admin Request

In this way, citizen science is helping both the citizen and the science!


 

* Depending on volume of requests, it may take a day or two for a Wellntel technician to mark the question resolved.

Measuring Lake Levels with Wellntel

IMAG00801Wellntel is measuring water level changes in McKinley Marina, a mooring basin within Milwaukee Harbor on Lake Michigan.  The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, a not-for-profit community based sailing organization, is hosting Wellntel and providing access to the marina and supporting the Wellntel sensor platform.

Monitoring lake levels is a new area for Wellntel. While we mostly focus on water under the ground, this application, and others like it, help to demonstrate the flexibility of the Wellntel system and its ability to be re-purposed for a wide variety of valuable uses. Joe Fillingham, Wellntel Science Lead and MCSC sailing instructor will be tracking water level changes throughout the summer and will present findings to Sailing Center members and the public this fall.

Lake levels change due to seasonal impacts, seiches, and pressure changes and wind associated with storms and weather fronts. Water levels of the Great Lakes are an important indication of climate and hydrological change. In addition, shipping, recreational boating, and shoreline bluff erosion can be dramatically impacted by lake levels.

Currently Lake Michigan-Huron is at its highest level since the late 1990s following a period of record low lake levels. For more information on Great Lakes water levels visit the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory Great Lakes Water Levels website and the NOAA Great Lakes Hydro-Climate Dashboard.

Wellntel Sentinel Sites Will Inform the National Groundwater Discussion

Wellntel is building strong relationships with research and education organizations around the country to support and strengthen rich groundwater science. Inspired by these growing partnerships, Wellntel is starting to craft a new program we are calling “Wellntel Sentinel Sites”.

Sentinel sites will be research, education, and other science and groundwater stewardship organizations such as university programs, schools, and private institutions that use groundwater wells and want to build or enhance their monitoring, research, and education efforts using Wellntel sensors.

The Sentinel Site Program creates mutually beneficial partnerships where Wellntel systems and the data collected help sentinel owners reach their research, education, and environmental impact goals. Then, together with those owners, Wellntel will facilitate the exchange of information between Sentinels and scientists that can use these data for research. This collaboration will help improve the Wellntel experience for all Wellntel users because it will support a deeper understanding of the data locally and ensure the longest reach and highest utility and function of valuable information about groundwater.

An important note: Privacy is a priority for Wellntel. If you own a Wellntel, your data is private and can only be shared and used for science with your permission, and is not a candidate to be a Sentinel Site. Indeed, Sentinel Sites represent special Wellntel partners, such as science and educational organizations, with goals that may call for data to be shared more broadly, published, and used for educational or research purposes.

A Wellntel System monitors groundwater in drought-stricken California

Comprehensive groundwater datasets will emerge from Sentinel Sites. How?

First, Sentinels are sites (and site owners) where special attention is paid to assembling the most robust and accurate data possible. This is accomplished with ongoing observations and calibrations, and the integration of other sensor networks for the purpose of local science.

Second, Sentinels may contribute to national monitoring networks and other research and education institutions with the goal of getting vital data to where it will have the greatest impact on our knowledge and understanding of groundwater resources.

Local geology and hydrology influences groundwater resources and plays a critical role in their management. A priority of the sentinel site program is, therefore, to develop partnerships in a wide array of geological and hydrological regions across the United States. Sustaining multiple sites in principal aquifers, areas of concern, or areas of particular interest to science and education is critical to providing comprehensive groundwater information at the national scale.

Educational, research, or private institutions with groundwater wells and with an interest in participating are welcomed to arrange meetings to explore a Sentinel Site partnership and to provide feedback to Wellntel.

We are looking forward to getting this program off the ground and are excited about advancing groundwater science. Contact Joe Fillingham, Wellntel Science Lead, for more information.