New Project: Enhancing Groundwater Monitoring Near a Major Bedrock Quarry in an Active Wellfield in the City of Guelph for Characterization and Source Water Protection 

Morwick G360 is happy to announce a new project, created in partnership with the City of Guelph, AECOM, WSP (previously Golder Associates), Solinst Canada Ltd., and Aardvark Drilling Inc., to better understand the bedrock flow system in the City of Guelph near the Dolime Quarry. The project was awarded an NSERC Alliance Grant (ALLRP 568604 – 21) in March 2022 and will span an approximately 4-year period.  

The City of Guelph proudly relies almost exclusively on groundwater for its municipal water supply, but rapid growth in population and industry are placing higher demands on the local dolostone aquifer. Part of the City’s strategy to meet this demand involves increasing the pumping rates of certain existing supply wells if feasible. This requires a detailed understanding of the bedrock aquifer, and potential risks associated with the increased pumping rates in terms of water quantity and quality. One area requiring more information includes the flow system around the Dolime Quarry, which is a large bedrock excavation situated near the western edge of the city.  The bedrock quarry has operated for over 150 years, providing important building material and local jobs, but the quarrying process dug deep into the ground where the aquitard lies, raising concerns about the potential for future impacts to the aquifer that provides Guelph’s drinking water. The City has initiated a multi-year program to assess the flow system and pumping responses around the quarry to help maximize supply while mitigating potential risk to groundwater quality by maintaining a groundwater divide between the quarry and the supply wells. To complement this study, the collaborative partnership led by the Morwick G360 Institute under the NSERC Alliance Grant aims to accomplish the following objectives:  

  • Improve the understanding of lithostratigraphy and hydrostratigraphy of the area by examining rock core and surface outcrops, borehole geophysics and hydraulic responses in high-resolution hydraulic head profiles;  
  • Quantify bedrock aquifer heterogeneity, anisotropy, and preferential flow pathways through detailed fracture mapping, hydrogeophysical methods and hydraulic testing; and, 
  • Guide the management of groundwater resources and pumping regimes to reduce the vulnerability of supply wells to contaminants.  

This project makes use of many innovative and high-resolution field methods, many of which have been developed at the Morwick G360 Institute. These datasets will be collected in 8 new boreholes drilled within and around the quarry, 6 of which have been drilled and 2 schedule to be drilled in Fall of 2023.  G360 multilevel monitoring wells have been installed in the 6 existing boreholes, each equipped with telemetry systems to provide real-time head data to guide the pumping regimes. Presently, large-scale pumping tests led by the City are underway using the municipal supply wells. The project will also involve hands-on research and education for several graduate students as they train to become future groundwater professionals.  

We are excited to expand the City’s award-winning monitoring infrastructure and advance our understanding of this complex aquifer. By doing so, we aim to ensure a sustained supply of clean drinking water for the community. 


Funding for this work is provided from a NSERC Alliance Grant (ALLRP 568604-21) with Jonathan Munn as the PI and cash and in-kind contributions from our partners: the City of Guelph, WSP/Golder, AECOM, Solinst Canada and Aardvark Drilling Inc. We would also like to acknowledge River Valley Developments (RVD), the owners of the quarry for their support and engagement of their peer review consultant, GHD Limited, to help build our understanding of this important bedrock aquifer.  

Morwick G360 Team:

  • Jonathan Munn, PhD, P.Geo.
  • Beth Parker, PhD, FCAE, BCEEM, LEL, AGU Fellow
  • Jana Levison, PhD, P.Eng.
  • Jonathan Kennel, PhD.
  • Ferdinando Manna, PhD.
  • Peeter Pehme, PhD, P.Geo.
  • Hamidreza Dannak, PhD Student

Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Morwick Groundwater Research Centre! 

On Thursday November 9th, 2023, we celebrated the construction of our new Morwick Groundwater Research Centre (MGRC) located at 360 College Avenue E, Guelph, Ontario. 

This research center, nestled within the Grand River watershed, is built on the same footprint as our previous facility, the Bedrock Aquifer Field Facility (BAFF), minimizing environmental impact, and will be constructed in two phases, starting with the classrooms.  

In June 2021, Edward (Ted) Morwick generously donated $10M to our Institute, which significantly supported the development of this new research centre. When complete, this facility will feature: 

  • Two classrooms, which will serve as an educational space for teaching, conferences, workshops and community engagement 
  • A two-story transparent groundwater well, which will be a key teaching tool to show students the underground intricacies of monitoring and conventional wells 
  • A rock wall representing the Silurian Dolostone Aquifer, which Guelph relies on solely for our drinking water supply 
  • A rock core library for use as a hands-on teaching tool 

Our new research centre will allow us to engage on a deeper level with the community, providing workshops and short courses to professionals, increase attraction, retention and the quality of hands-on education for our graduate students, and provide a global hub for groundwater research. We are committed to training the next generation of groundwater science professionals, ensuring we have the expertise to address the world’s water quality challenges.  

President & Vice-Chancellor of University of Guelph Dr. Charlotte Yates, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Interim Dean Dr. Richard Zytner and the Interim Vice-President of Research Dr. Rene Van Acker spoke on behalf of the importance of this new research facility and the substantial impact it will have on not only our local community, but globally.

The Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute is already an internationally recognized leader in groundwater research, and this state-of-the-art facility is poised to elevate it even further. The MGRC will be a cornerstone for experiential learning and research; however, we need your help to raise the remaining funds to realize the full potential of this facility. 

With the remaining funds raised, we will be able to incorporate state of the art, sustainable features such as: 

  • Rain Garden and Infiltration Gallery 
  • Stormtech System 
  • Rainwater Prefilter and Storage Tank 

If you know of someone or a group that is seeking to support advances in hydrologic and hydrogeologic characterization and monitoring given the immediate challenges for safe and sustainable freshwater needs, then please consider directing them to our Morwick G360 fundraising campaign.  

Sponsorship Opportunities  

  • Main Auditorium/Classroom: $1,000,000 
  • Rock Core Library and Technology Storage Facility: $500,000 
  • Outdoor Education Patio: $250,000 
  • Morwick Groundwater Research Centre Sustaining Donor Recognition Wall: $50,000 or more 

To donate or sponsor, please contact us at or contact Jennifer Hurley directly at  

It was a great turn out, thank you to everyone who made it out to celebrate this exciting new journey for the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute!

Dr. Beth Parker Wins NSERC Synergy Award

Congratulations to our Director, Dr. Beth parker for receiving the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Synergy Award for Innovation for her collaborative work with the City Of GuelphMatrix Solutions Inc. and WSP in Canada in groundwater protection.

“For two decades, Dr. Beth Parker, a professor in the School of Engineering and director of the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute (MG360), has collaborated with the City of Guelph and two environmental engineering firms — Matrix Solutions and WSP Global — to enhance the City’s groundwater monitoring network with state-of-the-science methods to manage risks to the City’s water supply, safeguarding the community’s access to clean uncontaminated water into the future.”

“Today, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council honoured this ongoing collaboration with a prestigious Synergy Award for Innovation, which celebrates impactful partnerships between post-secondary institutions and Canadian public, not-for-profit and industry organizations.”

See the full article below!

Also, be sure to check out NSERC’s award page to see Dr. Parkers announcement and other winners of this years awards, here.

RISE: A Conference for Women in Engineering – September 16th

Join fellow young alumni and students for a professional development day. Hear and learn from women of influence and leaders from the engineering industry!

We are excited to let you know that RISE: A Conference for Women in Engineering is back this year and will be held on Saturday, September 16 in the School of Engineering. The conference is targeted to women in engineering (undergrad students, grad students and young alumni) but all are welcome to attend (you don’t have to be a student in engineering)!

Be sure to register TODAY/ASAP! (Registration closes on Sept. 14).

MG360 and FracMan

FracMan code is the worlds first commercially available DFN (Discrete Fractured Network) software. Golder created this software to support the need for advanced technology to analyze complex fractured rock systems (FracMan, 2021). 

FracMan has been widely used in consultancy to solve problems related to civil and infrastructure, mining, oil/gas and renewable energies, as well as power and nuclear waste. However, the applications and capabilities of FracMan extend well beyond the use in consulting and industry. Here at MG360, our research has greatly benefitted from using FracMan to analyze results on multiple projects and theses.  

Back in 2011, the first application of FracMan amongst the MG360 group was during Dr. Jonathan Munn’s MSc program. Jon specifically needed DFN software that could handle the varying borehole orientations, plot the fracture data on stereonets, compensate for sampling bias, calculate fracture statistics and ultimately model the fracture network.  

Through longstanding connections with Golder, Director of MG360 and Jon’s then MSc advisor, Dr. Beth Parker, suggested he use FracMan. Since then, FracMan has been used to support the analysis and research of multiple theses, dissertations and publications amongst the institute.  

Some examples of how FracMan has been used to support MG360 research are mentioned below. Four of these examples are from MSc and PhD theses at the University of Guelph, and one is from a recently published journal article. These examples are meant to highlight ways in which our team has used FracMan, and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of FracMan’s capabilities. Some figures are included to demonstrate how FracMan can be used to communicate and conceptualize complex data in clear, and visually appealing ways. More details can be found at the respective reference.  

In 2012, Jonathan Munn completed his MSc Thesis titled High‐resolution discrete fracture network characterization using inclined coreholes in a Silurian dolostone aquifer in Guelph, Ontario. Some examples of how Jon used FracMan v7.4 include:  

  • Calculating linear fracture intensities from a combination of inclined and vertical boreholes 
  • Defining mechanical stratigraphy using cumulative fracture intensity plots  
  • Orientation analysis using structure logs for fracture depth, dip-direction and dip-angle as parameters  
  • Analysis of fracture set distributions using the interactive set identification system (ISIS)  
  • 3D representation of wells and fracture data (Figure 7)

Figure 7: 3-D representations of the three coreholes (MW-25, ACH-01, and ACH-02). (A) represents a plan view of the wells; (B) cross section view looking east; (C) 3-D visualization of well trajectory and fracture orientation data from the acoustic televiewer.” (Munn, 2012) 

In 2015, Andrey Fomenko completed his MSc Thesis titled An Integrated Lithostratigraphic and Geomechanical Conceptualization of Dense Fracture Networks in a Shallow Paleozoic Dolostone. Some examples of how Andrey used Fracman v7.5 include:  

  • Conceptualize a detailed fracture network using three mechanical layers (Figure 6.27) 
  • The creation of FracMan stereonets to analyze fracture distribution for geomechanical units (Figure 6.28) 
  • Statistical analysis of fracture distribution between fracture clusters  
  • Preliminarty 3-D DFN representation of the fracture network at the MG360 Fractured Rock Observatory (FRO)  

Figure 6.27: The DFN model presenting research site fracture network using the FracMan software. The different colors show 6 fracture sets generated separately as it is mentioned in the ISIS statistics in table 5.12.” (Fomenko, 2015)  

“Figure 6.28: Stereonets presenting the fracture distribution at the BAFF (left) and the Guelph Tool (right) research sites. The stereonets include full intervals of three angled and one vertical wells (BAFF GDC-04, 05, 11, and 12; Guelph Tool ACH-01, 02, 03 and MW-25). Schmidt Equal-Area Projection, Lower Hemisphere.” (Fomenko, 2015) 

In 2016, Lucas Andreata Ribeiro completed his MSc Thesis titled Constraining a Discrete Fracture Network static model for the Tunnel City Group sandstones in Cottage Grove-WI using Outcrops and Boreholes. Some examples of how FracMan was used in this thesis include:  

  • Stereonet analysis  
  • Development of a DFN static model to create a three-dimensional DFN simulation (Figure VI-1). 

Figure VI-1: DFN static model presenting adjusted transmissivity values in subvertical joints after matching simulated anisotropy ratios with reference anisotropy ratios (Parker et al. 2016). The bedding plane parallel fractures are represented in yellow reflecting the 1E-5 m2 /s transmissivity assigned in the initial model. Color contrast between subvertical joints and bedding plane parallel fractures reflect the anisotropy ratios adjusted.” (Ribeiro, 2016)  

In 2017, Celia Kennedy completed her PhD Thesis titled Groundwater – Surface Water Interactions in the Discrete Fracture Networks of Bedrock Rivers. Some ways in which Celia used FracMan v7.5 to visualize and conceptualize her data include:  

  • Mapping of horizontal bedding fracture and vertical fractures which terminate the surface of dolostone outcrops (Figure 2.3) 
  • Modelling of surface elevation, overlaid with vertical fracture distribution (Figure 3.6)  
  • Modelling of spatial distribution of groundwater fluxes and vertical hydraulic gradients (Figure 3.11) 
  • Generation of 3-D models conceptualizing the fracture network using fracture log data (Figure C-1) 

Figure 2.3. Location of study reach along the Eramosa River, in Guelph, ON, Canada, which flows in a southeasterly direction, and encompasses a riffle-pool sequence within a river bend. Dolostone outcrops exhibit horizontal bedding fractures and vertical fractures that terminate at surface, which were mapped with FracMan v.7.5 (Golder Associates Inc., Redmond, USA). Spatial distribution of the subset, BSMs 4, 10 and 15, along with river stage gauges (SG1 and SG2) and river piezometers (P3 and P5). [NAD 1983 UTM Zone 17N Geographic Coordinate System; MNR SWOOP 2010; ESRI ArcMap v.10.2.1; FracMan v.7.5].” (Kennedy, 2017) 

“Figure 3.6. Modelled elevation surface (2-D) of study reach, where topographic layer was overlaid with vertical fracture distribution, measured at surface, and constructed with FracMan Software (v.7.5, Golder Associates Inc. – FracMan Technology Group, Redmond, WA, USA). 3-D spatial distribution of the BSMs, identified by number, is represented in this 2-D plane by elevation classifications of shallow (310.50 – 310.63 masl), mid-depth (310.40 – 310.49 masl) and deep (310.30 – 310.39 masl) installations. Contour interval is 310.00 – 311.60 masl. NAD 1983 UTM Zone 17N Geographic Coordinate System.” (Kennedy, 2017)  

Figure 3.11. Spatial distribution of vertical hydraulic gradients (∆ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑙⁄∆𝐿) at high river stage within the contoured elevation model of the study site. Monitoring devices are identified as BSMs () and river piezometers (). Gradients are indicated by value within the device symbol and by colour-ranking. The high-𝑞 zone from Figure 3.9 is delineated by a red line. Refer to Figure 3.6 for BSM ID numbers. [NAD 1983 UTM Zone 17N Geographic Coordinate System; Surfer v.13.6; FracMan v.7.5].” (Kennedy, 2017)  

Fig. C-1. Post-drilling conceptual model of corehole pairs installed to inform the 3-D static fracture model, constructed with FracMan (v.7.5, Golder Associates Inc. – FracMan Technology Group, Redmond, WA, USA).” (Kennedy, 2017)  

In March of 2023 Kenley Bairos, Patrik Quinn, Pete Pehme and Beth Parker published a paper titled Enumerating hydraulically active fractures using multiple, high-resolution datasets to inform plume transport in a sandstone aquifer in the Journal of Hydrology. FracMan was used for multiple purposes including: 

  • Identifying and assigning core-informed OTV fractures to either a bedding parallel set, northeast-southwest striking set or a northwest-southeast striking set (Figure 8) 
  • Statistical analysis to estimate true fracture intensity using the Terzaghi method (Figure 9) 

Figure 8: a) Rose plots comparing the frequency of dip directions observed in the informed and active fractures. b) Rose plots comparing the strike direction of the Sub-Vertical sets (NESW and NWSE striking) of the informed and active fractures c) The relative frequency of the bedding set remains the same in the active set while the joint sets show minor variation between the informed and active fractures.” (Bairos et al., 2023) 

Figure 9: a) Contoured stereonets of the core informed OTV fractures and active fractures show three distinct fracture sets (plotted using the fracture poles). b) The comparison of the uncorrected and corrected fracture frequencies indicates that all three sets were under sampled with the greatest bias occurring in the sub-vertical sets. After the correcting, the NESW set becomes most dominate.” (Bairos et al., 2023) 

FracMan has been an indispensable tool amongst our team for the analysis of fractured network data and the communication of results. If this article has piqued your interest, check out the reference list below or click here to learn more about FracMan and how you can incorporate it into your own research.  


Bairos, K., Quinn, P., Pehme, P., & Parker, B. L. (2023). Enumerating hydraulically active fractures using multiple, high-resolution datasets to inform plume transport in a sandstone aquifer. Journal of Hydrology, 619, 129362.  

Fracman. Golder. (2021, June 22). 

Fomenko, A. (2015). An integrated lithostratigraphic and geomechanical conceptualization of dense fracture networks in a shallow Paleozoic dolostone (MSc Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. 

Kennedy, C (2017). Groundwater – Surface Water Interactions in the Discrete Fracture Networks of Bedrock Rivers. (PhD Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  

Munn, J. (2012). High-resolution discrete fracture network characterization using inclined coreholes in a Silurian Dolostone Aquifer in Guelph, Ontario (MSc Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  

Ribeiro, L. A. F. S. (2016). Constraining a discrete fracture network static model for the tunnel city group sandstones in Cottage Grove-WI using outcrops and boreholes (MSc Thesis). School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.