With the Fisher Hydrogeology Group at UCSC, Paul Karim is working on a project to enhance groundwater conditions by increasing the input of surface waters (groundwater recharge) and improving water quality by stimulating microbial removal of nitrogen (denitrification) in shallow soil. This work is a collaboration with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County.
Here, he and the crew are in the field creating the field site for the experiments to test different types of soil additions that may affect how surface waters enter the soil (infiltration) and are also rich in nitrate: native soil, redwood chips and charcoal (biochar).
Three plots installed in 5 hours! The walls are reinforced with fiberglass sides to prevent collapse and encourage vertical infiltration:
Paul adds bentonite chips to seal the gap between the native soil and plot wall:
All plots are instrumented to collect temperature, pressure, and water level data (to determine flow rates), and to collect fluid samples from ~10 locations down to 1.2 m below the ground surface. Solar panels and batteries provide continuous power, and some data is transmitted in real time from the field to the laboratory.
Here’s to Paul getting his hands dirty with terrestrial hydrogeology and microbiology this summer!