#Sciencedeskdigs: Bore Hole Camera

tripod with beige rod hanging down from it and case with controls in it

NPS Photo/M.Reed

The bottom of a well isn’t a place a person normally wants to go, unless you are hydrogeologist, Steven Rice. Find out how Steve sees down into these wells in this week’s #sciencedeskdigs.

What is it?
This is a borehole camera. It is used to assess groundwater wells. The NPS has hundreds of these wells. However, we don’t always know much information about them like when they were built, how deep they are, or how they were constructed, so bringing a camera that can look down into these wells is necessary. I am going to @Rocky Mountain National Park this month to look at two wells there. They are right next to one another; one is working like it is supposed to but the other is not producing enough water. The wells supply the water to the visitor center and other facilities at the park which is why fixing these and other wells in parks in important.

The way this works is the camera (at the end of the beige rod hanging down in the middle of the tripod) would be lowered into the well using the pulley and cable. It is connected via wire to a video screen and controls in the black pelican case. The video screen allows us to see down into the well without having to go down there ourselves. Some of things that we may see that could be affecting the well are sediment filling the well, clogged or mineralized intake, or deterioration of an old casing.