Groundwater recharge to karst aquifers can be quite variable both temporally and spatially, particularly in the central Texas region. Knowing where, when and how much recharge occurs and where the water goes is extremely valuable information for water resources planning but answering these questions is difficult and requires a multi-discipline approach. Our expertise in vadose zone hydrogeology, dye tracing, weather monitoring networks and karst geomorphology make Zara Environmental uniquely qualified to conduct recharge studies. We work with clients to design studies that yield important data that is used to make scientifically sound policy decisions.
Cave Drip Monitoring
Caves are unique environments in which protected troglobites (cave adapted species) are often found. Cave drips are an important source of moisture and energy that many protected troglobites rely upon are particularly sensitive to activities on the surface. Changes in the water quality of drips may also signal the potential for degradation of a cave ecosystem by surface activities and monitoring may be done to ensure that cave drips and a cave environment are not negatively impacted. Zara Environmental is one of the only companies in the nation with the expertise to design and safely execute such studies in these often inhospitable environments. We have conducted studies for many clients including the Department of Defense and local municipalities.
Groundwater in karst areas flows through conduits, unlike the more predictable and uniform flow found in other aquifers. Identifying these flow paths is crucial to managing recharge lands and water supplies and to determining if critical water resources might be affected by contaminant releases. The primary method for doing this is a dye tracing study, where non-toxic dyes are injected into caves, karst features, or wells. Springs, wells and water bodies down gradient are monitored for dye via automated water collection samplers and activated charcoal packets. Our state-registered Professional Geologists work closely with clients to design and execute studies that will meet their needs in a timely, cost effective manner. Zara Environmental is a state-accredited environmental consulting firm and one of the few companies in the nation that perform dye tracing services.
Carbon Dioxide Monitoring
Elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas are common in caves due to naturally-occurring processes, including the growth of cave formations. The concentration of CO2 in cave air is dynamic and is governed by the rate of CO2 input into the cave and the rate that cave air exchanges with outside air. Monitoring the concentration of CO2 in caves has important implications on biological monitoring and cave safety. In commercial caves, monitoring can assist managers with OSHA comnpliance and in improving guest and employee safety. Zara Environmental staff has monitored CO2 in many commercial and wild caves, making us uniquely suited to assist you with your monitoring needs.