Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can AirBurst® harm my well structure?
AirBurst® energy output is infinitely adjustable and can be tuned to develop just a few foot pounds of energy or energy equal to two pounds of dynamite. If the well is structurally sound and the proper energy is applied, damage should not occur. The well should be televised and the customer should be advised of any potentially weak ares of the well structure. In heavily encrusted wells it may be advisable to wire brush the well and then televise.
Q. Can AirBurst® be used on PVC well screens?
Yes it can, the thickness of the PVC dictates the amount of energy which will be used to develop the screen.
Q. Will the bottom of the well need to be bailed or airlifted after AirBursting?
If the well does not have a sump below the screen the bottom will usually need to be bailed. Airlifting during bursting can minimize the fill material. Rock wells will need to be bailed if water bearing formations are located in the area that the fill exists. Development of a well requires that material be move out of the water bearing formation, this is true for all types of development.
Q. What is the operating life of the AirBurst® equipment?
The life of the equipment is very long. The air gun is stainless steel and requires only occasional replacement of seals and wearing parts. The hose and cable will last for 10 years if they are properly maintained and not abused. The air compressor requires routine maintenance as with any motorized equipment, major servicing is required at about 3000 hours.
Q. Can the air gun be serviced by field personnel?
Yes, the equipment is easy to service and we train the operator to perform routine maintenance. Disassembly and cleaning is suggested after each use unless projects are are undertaken on successive days. When not in use the air gun should remain disassembled.
Q. How many wells can be AirBursted before air gun servicing is required?
This depends upon the air gun and typical operating pressure. The higher the pressure and the more abrasive the environment, the more often servicing is required. Typical serving requires cleaning and occasional replacement of seals, a fast and inexpensive procedure. Service intervals for large air guns in high pressure applications can require routine serving every 3-10 wells. Smaller air guns in low pressure applications may do 100 wells before servicing is necessary.
Q. What is the maximum and minimum operating pressure of the air gun?
The minimum pressure for smaller air guns is 300 psi with a maximum of 2500 psi. Larger air guns require 600 psi minimum to keep them sealed and can be operated up to 3000 psi.
Q. What is the maximum pressure that the air compressor generates?
The air compressor is capable of developing 3500 psi but is regulated at 3000 psi.
Q. What is the maximum depth that the air gun can be used?
There in no practical maximum depth at which the air gun can be operated. Submergence is a factor but that is only restricted by the amount of pressure available from the air compressor.
Q. What chemicals can be used with AirBurst®?
Most any new age chemical can be agitated and distributed by AirBursting without major concern. The most aggressive is HCL acid, which will harm the components of the air gun and hose connections. Some contractors have used HCL with great success in the toughest of applications but repairs to the air gun after long term exposure to the acid were costly. There are new highly inhibited HCL acids available that are harmless to the AirBurst equipment.
Q. How does AirBurst® work in rock wells such as limestone, sandstone and granite?
Development of rock wells is actually easier than screened sand and gravel wells. It is first necessary to locate the fractures in the well bore as these are the areas in which bursting will be concentrated. The exception is sandstone where the entire bore hole will be treated. AirBurst is capable of extending fracturing and cleaning material from fractures. In the most aggressive development AirBurst may break fractured rock which may require the rock to be drilled out.
Q. Can AirBurst® decrease the capacity of a well?
Yes it can in finer formation sand and gravel wells. If too much pressure and/or too large of a firing chamber is used it can compact the geological formation (does not apply to rock wells) thereby reducing the near bore permeability of the formation. There is a bursting procedure to correct this if it occurs.
Q. Are regulatory permits required for contractors to use AirBurst® in wells?
There are a small number of states that require some type of permit to rehabilitate or develop a well with AirBurst®. AirBurst® uses only compressed air or inert gas, it does not generate any chemical byproducts.
Q. How many bursts are needed to develop a well?
This depends upon the well structure and the diagnoses of the problem. A screened well may only require 2 bursts per foot of screen and a rock well may require an hour of continuous bursting at each fracture. A sandstone well with 800 feet of formation may require 2400-4000 bursts.
Q. How does a contractor learn to use AirBurst®?
On site training is provided and a step-by-step manual is provided. Initially, most operators find it helpful to call AirBurst® Technology, LLC for advice until they reach their own comfort level.
Q. Why Franchsing required for contractors to use the AirBurst® process?
AirBurst® was originally patented process and but still involves certain trade secrets, proprietary and confidential information which are not available to the general public. The franchise contract protects that information as well as the registered AirBurst®. It also allows us to provide information and help to our franchisees on a mutually confidential basis.
Q. What amount of well capacity increase can be expected?
That is a difficult question to which the answers are complicated. It can range from no improvement to over 1000%. Well structure design, structure deterioration, previous treatment attempts, previous chemicals used and excessive decline in original specific capacity before rehabilitation attempts are only a few of the issues which can affect the restoration process. Typically a 50% to 100% increase in the specific capacity at a given flow rate is easily attained. Wells which have undergone overly aggressive treatment or have been allowed to severely degrade in specific capacity may not see the desired rehabilitation results with any process.
Q. How long does it take to AirBurst® a well?
The shortest recorded AirBurst® project was five minutes; one burst per foot up and down the screen was all that was required. A 1600 foot deep sandstone well may take up to 40 hours with a burst every 30 seconds. Typically it takes four to six hours for sand and gravel wells, depending upon depth.
Q. What is the cost for the AirBurst® equipment?
The cost varies with the well structure, formations, well depth and geographical location. The cost is usually less than a new full sized diesel pickup truck.
Q. Why is pumping or airlift pumping helpful during AirBursting?
Development of a well requires that material be removed from the water bearing formation. Airlifting produces a constant out flow from the formation thereby removing the fine silts and sands which may be plugging the formation or that are packed into a fracture. Conventional pumping is helpful in the same manner but is undertaken after each pass of the screen with the air gun. Pumping rates are gradually increased during each pump out session as would be normal for developing a new well.
Q. How long will an AirBurst® treatment last?
On an average the treatment will benefit the well for several years. In the case of rock wells that are not bio-fouled, 10 years is not uncommon. Coarse formation sand and gravel wells will benefit for longer terms than those wells with finer and more silty formations.
Q. Can AirBurst® be used in environmentally sensitive wells such as those which supply water to fish hatcheries?
Yes, AirBurst® is truly a green process. Hatcheries are the most sensitive wells that we know of; we have even treated such wells in Canada and the USA.
Q. Can AirBurst® stop wells from producing sand?
Yes, we have been involved in many projects where the well was producing sand. Because AirBurst® can be directed to every inch of the well screen or well bore, sand issues can be addressed and cured at the exact source point by concentrated development to disrupt sand channeling and realign the gravel filter, something only AirBurst® can do.
Q. How can AirBurst® be used to restore a well with a failing well structure?
If the well structure is weak, a new well screen can be installed prior to AirBursting , the old screen is then AirBursted through the new screen and the well remains in tact regardless of what happens to the old screen and the well continues to produce water. Very coarse screens can be place in rock wells ate highly fractured areas and the area can be AirBurst®developed without the concern for caving.