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Horizontal Wells in Groundwater Remediation

Ground Water Hydrology

  1. James A. Jacobs1,
  2. David B. Vance2

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.gw1504

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Jacobs, J. A. and Vance, D. B. 2005. Horizontal Wells in Groundwater Remediation. Water Encyclopedia. 5:178–180.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Environmental Bio-Systems, Inc., Mill Valley, California

  2. 2

    ARCADIS G&M, Inc., Midland, Texas

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Horizontal wells have been used in an increasing number of remediation projects. In addition to chemical and biological reactive barriers, horizontal borings can be used for groundwater extraction and control, air sparging, bioremediation, groundwater injection, for vadose zone soil vapor extraction or bioventing systems, and free product recovery. Although, in areas where there is a great deal of fluctuation in the groundwater table, use for free product recovery can be problematic.

Horizontal well technology was first used in the late 1920s by the petroleum industry to increase oil reservoir thickness per well and greatly increase oil production. In the 1970s, the technology was applied by utility companies to cross rivers and other natural or manmade barriers such as highways. The use of horizontal drilling technology for environmental applications began in the late 1980s and has escalated ever since.


  • directional drilling;
  • horizontal drilling: auger systems;
  • horizontal drilling: fluid cutting systems;
  • horizontal drilling: mechanical cutting systems;
  • horizontal drilling: percussion drilling;
  • horizontal drilling: sonic drilling methods;
  • horizontal permeability;
  • horizontal wells;
  • horizontal wells: remediation