Uncontrolled artesian well in permafrost

Dennis Filler
Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Abstract. Artesian wells in permafrost are common in interior Alaska. Hundreds are known to exist in the Fairbanks-North Pole metropolitan area and satellite communities. These wells can be problematic when installed and catastrophic with loss of control at some future time. Significant damage to infrastructure and property, property depreciation, and liability issues can result. In cold regions, wells must be heated through the active layer to keep them from freezing. Heating is routinely accomplished with heat tape on a timer system. The question is: How much heat is too much heat to melt permafrost and lead to loss of control of the well? This presentation documents one case study of an uncontrolled artesian well that occurred in winter 2006 in the Goldstream Valley, north of Fairbanks.

For more information contact: Jeff Derry (907) 322- 3026