Sacramento Branch Meeting-"Treatment Avoidance" Through Well Modification - Saving Money for California Rate and Tax Payers

The Sacramento Branch is pleased to present:

"Treatment Avoidance" Through Well Modification - Saving Money for California Rate and Tax Payers

Noah Heller


In the early 2000s, the US Geological Survey completed development of a well profiling technology with a really long name: Tracer Flowmeter and Depth Dependent Sampler.  When Dr. John Izbicki (from the USGS) encouraged BESST to apply for a license, and if awarded, to further develop and commercialize the technology, it was his belief at the time that the main application would be for older wells on their last legs.  With over 750 municipal wells profiled in California since early 2005, our experience has been quite a bit different.  About 35% of all wells profiled by BESST have been new wells that cannot come on line as a result of water quality compliance issues.  The implication is serious in that the results show that exploratory methods are consistently inadequate and have caused major financial indigestion and balance sheet meltdown when treatment solutions are used to correct these problems.

Over the years we've heard numerous arguments against treatment avoidance such as; a) it won't work in a single, thick aquifer where there is no stratigraphic separation between fine and coarse grained sediments to isolate undesirable water quality zones, b) there will be cross contaminating leakage through the gravel pack that will circumvent blocking strategies c) well modification will not last long so treatment should be used instead.  The probability is that there is some truth to these arguments.  However, given the number of wells profiled by BESST and modified to selectively extract compliant mixes of groundwater, these dissuasion's address the problematic exceptions and not the norm.  Combining basic hydrogeologic theory with solid engineering practice, the success rate has been overwhelmingly positive.

The main point is that Treatment Avoidance is the most fiscally conservative approach to saving rate and tax payers monies with respect to groundwater supply and should be embraced for consideration as a first response to rectify water quality problems.


Noah Heller has been in geologic practice for the past 32 years, is a California registered geologist and holds a BS and MS in geology.  He focuses on new technology development and improvement of existing technologies in order to acquire high quality, high resolution subsurface data.  He is the founder and president of BESST, Inc.  



About BESST, Inc.:

BESST is passionate about our mission to design, develop, build and commercialize forensic, technically minded, subsurface-based product and service technologies for solving vadose zone, groundwater quality and quantity problems. Although, we can solve many shallow subsurface problems for our customers, we also provide deep groundwater exploration and monitoring solutions as well (in excess of 3,000 ft. bgs).  Although we provide a standard array of products and services, we are keen on developing customized technologies and systems as well because not every problem can be solved using a “cookie-cutter” approach.  Our team of geoscientists and engineers at BESST listen to the unique nature of each problem defined by our clients and then provide scientifically focused solutions.  In pursuing our mission, we offer our pallet of subsurface technologies at highly competitive prices.  We work with hundreds of municipalities and private water companies throughout the US, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Fortune 500 companies, as well as many organizations within the agricultural, mining, geotechnical and environmental sectors.

Advanced Monitoring Systems

  • Groundwater sampling pumps
  • Vertical and angled single well technologies
  • Vertical and angled multi-level well technologies
  • Down-hole sensors
  • Deep well technologies

Depth Discrete Sampling Probes

  • Simultaneous soil and soil-gas sampling
  • Simultaneous soil and groundwater sampling
  • Embedded down-hole VOC capture for groundwater sampling


All Proceeds to Benefit Science Students

The GRA Sacramento Branch has a history of supporting university-level science students. Our Scholastic Sponsorship Program is an opportunity to publicize your business while contributing toward a good cause. The cost is minimal; if interested, please contact Linda Bond at (530) 757-1500 or


Social Hour - 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Announcements & Dinner - 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Presentation - 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Usual great food, including two meat entrées, salad, rice, potatoes, vegetable and Iced Tea. A No-host beer and wine bar will be available.


Members: $27.00
Non-Members: $32.00
Students: $10.00

  • If you register after Noon on Monday, January 8th, or walk-in, a $3.00 surcharge will be added to the meeting cost.
  • Cancellations must be made by Noon on Monday, January 8th.

If you have questions about the meeting, please telephone Rodney Fricke at 916-407-8539 or email him at  For questions about Sacramento Branch in general, including submittal of your ideas and/or desires for future presentations, please telephone Linda Bond at (530) 757-1500 or email her at


February 13th (Tuesday): Jeffrey Mount, Public Policy Institute of California, David Keith Todd Lecturer, The Consequences of Groundwater Sustainability in California

April 11th: Holly Nichols, CEG, DWR Project Geology, The Oroville Spillway Incident, Geology and Why It Matters


Event Files


Wed, Jan. 10, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Event has ended


Aviators Restaurant
6151 Freeport Blvd
Sacramento, California 95822

Aviator's Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport
6151 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA
Aviator's Restaurant is located within the aircraft Terminal Building.
Plenty of free parking.