A major field research facility, the Bedrock Aquifer Field Facility (BAFF) has been established at the University of Guelph as part of G360. Located at 360 College Road, the BAFF, which is situated on the main U of G campus on an important bedrock aquifer in the Grand River watershed, presents a unique opportunity for applied groundwater field research in a fractured bedrock environment right in our own backyard. The BAFF will be used to enhance field research and hands‐on teaching concerning the use, management, and protection of groundwater resources. We have a large real-world field-based laboratory thanks to our long-term collaboration with the City of Guelph with whom we have teamed up with to address the City’s groundwater challenges – the same challenges faced around the globe.
The BAFF was established in 2009, marked by the drilling of the first two companion wells and building the core and equipment storage areas.
We are actively fundraising for the completion of this facility to be fully functioning with two classrooms that can become a larger room for conferences with a two-story transparent groundwater well in which downhole instruments will be demonstrated, including a borehole into the underlying bedrock aquifer to link lectures to actual hands-on demonstrations. In addition, a rock wall in the atrium will be designed to replicate the Silurian dolostone sequence and formation, typical of the local bedrock aquifer used by the City of Guelph for municipal, commercial, and industrial water supply. A rock core repository for student and professional teaching and training of research methods will also be established. These features are key to providing experiential learning opportunities for students, professionals, and the public as the intention is to offer University classes, professional short courses, and outreach programs related to groundwater within the completed facility space.
The facility will also feature “green” design aspects such as geothermal heating and cooling, grey water re-use, a green roof, and alternative energy sources with the goal of being a “net zero” facility and as a means of connecting to the research interests of many of the University of Guelph’s School of Engineering (SOE) and School of Environmental Sciences (SES) faculty.
To donate or to sponsor the construction of the facility please visit the official University of Guelph website at the button below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
The BAFF Is:
The BAFF has two components: 1) a large barn-type building to house G360‘s newly acquired field research equipment; including drill rigs, trailers, vehicles, various water sampling devices, workshop and storage; and 2) a network of boreholes and wells (drilled to depths between 5 and 150 m below ground surface) and instrumented with some experimental and some conventional devices. In the future, some of these boreholes will be positioned inside the building for convenient all-season use. In 2013, the geophysical characterization of a buried bedrock valley previously identified under the BAFF facility and the placement of a borehole cluster within the Arboretum were completed.
Benefits of the BAFF:
G360 is a large, recognized field-based groundwater research program with well-established industry partners and strong collaborative links both nationally and internationally. The BAFF enhances this program and will attract substantial additional research funds over the longer term. The subsurface monitoring infrastructure associated with this facility will provide the most-comprehensive and multifaceted data sets concerning the underlying dynamic bedrock aquifer system. This facility capitalizes on an excellent opportunity for education, outreach, and technology transfer regarding leading edge research that is both locally and globally relevant.
The BAFF will enable the development, prototyping, and field-level demonstration of important new technologies that will grow the expanding environmental sector. In short, this research infrastructure, combined with the excellence and breadth of the research team, supportive municipal, provincial and federal government agencies, and an unparalleled level of research integration, will enable the development of creative solutions to the pressing water quality challenges posed by economic development and urbanization.
Institute Principal Investigators and their collaborators will use the BAFF to support the University’s strategic research plan by:
- Advancing both fundamental and applied groundwater research;
- Enhancing education and training through technology demonstration and experiential learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels;
- Promoting groundwater awareness in the community;
- Facilitating knowledge transfer to professional practice through demonstrations and professional short courses;
- Facilitating the development, testing and demonstration of novel field methods, tools and groundwater technologies; and,
- Fostering collaborations between the University of Guelph, the City of Guelph, and the private sector both locally and globally.