U.S. Army National Guard Conducts Water Drilling Tests at Camp Lemonnier

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army Sgt. William Davis, 257th Engineer Team well driller, drags a finger over a spinning pipe during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. The wells are part of a study that will determine if Camp Lemonnier can transfer its water usage from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer to a beach aquifer, leaving the DFWA solely for the Djiboutians.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army Sgt. William Davis, 257th Engineer Team well driller, drags a finger over a spinning pipe during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. The wells are part of a study that will determine if Camp Lemonnier can transfer its water usage from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer to a beach aquifer, leaving the DFWA solely for the Djiboutians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ruben Licon, 257th Engineer Team tower leader, displays pieces of sand, limestone and coral the drill chews through to reach the aquifer underneath Camp Lemonnier during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for future camp expansion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ruben Licon, 257th Engineer Team tower leader, displays pieces of sand, limestone and coral the drill chews through to reach the aquifer underneath Camp Lemonnier during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for future camp expansion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army Spc. Dean Randall, 257th Engineer Team mud mixer, pours a mud sample into a filter to conduct a sand content test during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. A constant rate test is a constant pumping of a well to determine what amount of water can be pumped out at a sustained rate for an indefinite amount of time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army Spc. Dean Randall, 257th Engineer Team mud mixer, pours a mud sample into a filter to conduct a sand content test during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. A constant rate test is a constant pumping of a well to determine what amount of water can be pumped out at a sustained rate for an indefinite amount of time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) -  U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members use the drill equipment to form the third of four wells during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members use the drill equipment to form the third of four wells during a 24-hour constant rate test here, March 16. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lael Huss)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Sgt. Clayburn Johnson (left) and Sgt. Williams Davis, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members, discuss preparations for drilling the third of four wells just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Sgt. Clayburn Johnson (left) and Sgt. Williams Davis, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members, discuss preparations for drilling the third of four wells just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members drill the third of four wells during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. The wells are part of a study that will determine if Camp Lemonnier can transfer its water usage from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer to a beach aquifer, leaving the DFWA solely for the Djiboutians.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members drill the third of four wells during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. The wells are part of a study that will determine if Camp Lemonnier can transfer its water usage from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer to a beach aquifer, leaving the DFWA solely for the Djiboutians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members prepare to drill the first of four wells during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members prepare to drill the first of four wells during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Shane Banks (left), U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, watches U.S. Army Sgt. Francisco Flores, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, as he measures the table height of the drill rig to the ground to ensure accurate depth calculation during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12,. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Shane Banks (left), U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, watches U.S. Army Sgt. Francisco Flores, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, as he measures the table height of the drill rig to the ground to ensure accurate depth calculation during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12,. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members prepare to drill the first of four wells during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 17. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 17, 2012) - U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members prepare to drill the first of four wells during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 17. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Spc. Todd Glandden, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, shovels foam away from the bore hole of the well site as cuttings shoot out of the bore hole during 24-hour well drilling operations just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Spc. Todd Glandden, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, shovels foam away from the bore hole of the well site as cuttings shoot out of the bore hole during 24-hour well drilling operations just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clayburn, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, stands at the control panel of the drill rig as foam and cuttings eject from the bore hole of a well being drilled during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clayburn, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, stands at the control panel of the drill rig as foam and cuttings eject from the bore hole of a well being drilled during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clayburn, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, stands at the control panel of the drill rig as the first of four wells is being drilled during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (March 12, 2012) - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clayburn, U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team member, stands at the control panel of the drill rig as the first of four wells is being drilled during a 24-hour well drilling operation just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)

It's isolated, noisy and messy - but if successful could be beneficial to Camp Lemonnier and local Djiboutians. Thanks to new equipment, U.S. Army National Guard 257th Engineer Team drilled four water test wells in different locations here, March 12-19.

"The wells are part of a study to determine if pulling water from a beach aquifer is a viable option for removing Camp Lemonnier from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer and leaving that resource solely for the Djiboutians," said U.S. Army Capt. Joseph Bzdok, 257th Engineer Team commander.

The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier's initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in future development of camp infrastructure. The team conducted a 24-hour constant rate test for future development and testing of camp aquifer water tables. A constant rate test is a constant pumping of a well to determine what amount of water can be pumped out at a sustained rate for an indefinite amount of time.

"The pump test right now is pumping at 540 gallons per minute," said Bzdok. "If the lowering of the water table level of the static water level does not change significantly, we know it can sustain 540 gallons per minute."

The team finished the last of four test wells four days ahead of schedule.

"The sandy soil conditions have allowed us to drill faster, but the sandy soil is also harder to stabilize from collapsing down the hole," Bzdok said.

"The sea water level is very shallow and doesn't support heavy equipment operations well," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Shane Banks, 257th Engineer Team drill leader.

The rig itself weighs 80,000 pounds, said Bzdock.

"(There's) less than an eight-inch crust (of soil)," said Bzdok. "The rest is goop underneath."

The team set up the rig in three locations around the final well site, but the weight of the rig caused it to sink into the soft sand and underlying glop.

"The third hole had to be abandoned after it was drilled and cased, and a fourth well had to be drilled for the pump test (due to the soil collapsing down the hole.) So the unit actually drilled four complete holes and cased three of them," explained Bzdok.

The team is using this experience as on-the-job training to work out any kinks in the new equipment before using the machines out in the field.

"It is a lot easier to deal with equipment needs and repairs here than eight hours away," says Banks about their upcoming missions throughout the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa's area of responsibility.

Despite the challenges and constant maintenance issues, Banks said the team knows the wells and testing will "help support the success of the camp and the health and missions of the (personnel) stationed at Camp Lemonnier."

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U.S. Army Djibouti Camp Lemonnier

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