‘Exotic uses of aquifers’ was the unusual title of a Hydrogeology Group meeting held on 9th October 1984; the title was inspired by a scientific paper written by Kazmann in 1979.
The majority of U.K. hydrogeologists are concerned with fresh groundwater, usually for potable supply. Increasingly, however, they are being called upon to take part in a wider scientific debate, for example, that concerned with contaminants arising from disposal of environmentally unacceptable waste. Viewed from an alternative point of view, a ‘disposal’ site is a ‘repository’. From such alternative standpoints it is easy to see how the subsurface can be used for storage of gas, petroleum or other fluids. Similarly, pre-existing fluids in the subsurface space can be utilized by heat pumps or even for hot spas and health resorts.
The purpose of the meeting, therefore, was to compare techniques used by non-hydrogeologists who also deal with the subsurface space. To fulfil these objectives the meeting was organized in three parts: an Overview, followed by a consideration of Physical Processes and, finally, Case Histories.
In their Overview, Edworthy & Puri deal only with porous medium (granular) aquifers, arguing that fractured rocks, or those where caverns can be constructed, require a separate extensive consideration. They consider ‘exotic’ uses to be covered under four headings, stating that an exotic use is undertaken in order to obtain some form of social benefit:
Fluid Storage and Waste Disposal
In situ Leaching of Minerals
Groundwater Quality Management.
They show that to achieve benefits