Encapsulated Bentonite for Abandoned Well Sealing

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Agriculture
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$296,000.00
Award Year:
2004
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
2004-33610-14847
Award Id:
62001
Agency Tracking Number:
2003-00214
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
P. O. Box 1325, Mills, WY, 82644
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
n/a
Principal Investigator:
Gene Theriault
(307) 235-3355
genet@trib.com
Business Contact:
Gene Theriault
Managing Member
(307) 235-3355
genet@trib.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
Water is the essence of life. Few will disagree that it is a resource that must be protected for the well-being of all: plant and animal. Millions of holes have been and are being drilled in the earth to search for water, uranium, oil and gas, and coal-bed methane. Many thousands of these holes are mid-depth (500-4500 feet) and fill with water if the drills penetrate one or more aquifers. When these water-containing drill holes are abandoned, soil stability and the purity of that exposed groundwater are threatened. A product is needed that is superior to Portland cement, which historically has been the recommended sealing material. But because of cement's heat of hydration and rigidity it can cause stability problems in certain soils, applications and where ground motion is a concern. Additionally, bentonite seals do not alter pH as does cement and can 'heal' if damaged. 'Healing' refers to bentonite's ability to fill in fissures caused by earth or drill casing movement. Currently a technology does not exist to satisfactorily plug mid-depth drill holes without cement. We intend to develop the most ecologically-beneficial, user-friendly, and cost-effective product to seal mid-depth drill holes. The product must be economical to ship and must be easy for a non-technical person to handle at the well site. This product will prevent loss of water (or other natural resources), groundwater contamination from surface chemicals, inter-aquifer mixing, and subsidence which can occur with conventional cement plugging techniques.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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