Our services are extensive, and our methods thorough and ecologically safe.

What is karst?

Karst is a terrain where dissolution is the dominant geomorphic agent. It is characterized by the presence of sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, and springs. Karst also has a subsurface component.

Dr. Peter Huntoon defines a karst aquifer as "an aquifer containing soluble rocks with a permeability structure dominated by interconnected conduits dissolved from the host rock which are organized to facilitate the circulation of fluid in the down-gradient direction wherein the permeability structure evolved as a consequence of dissolution by the fluid".

Karst is most common in soluble rocks such as limestone, dolostone, and gypsum. However, some well- developed fractured rock aquifers also display many of the characteristics of karst.
Karst is also characterized by rapid groundwater velocities (often measured in hundreds to thousands of meters per day), little attenuation of pollutants,and groundwater flow paths which are difficult to define. Karst presents difficult land use planning issues including catastrophic sinkhole formation, sinkhole flooding, storm water management, sanitary waste disposal, landfill siting, hazardous materials routing and response. 

Land Use Planning

Karst and fractured rock terrains provide many unique challenges including sinkhole collapse and sinkhole flooding, hazardous materials management planning, point and non-point source contamination and groundwater pollution, water quality degradation, and source water protection for public water supplies.

  • Development of risk management plans for sinkhole collapse and sinkhole flooding.
  • Sinkhole remediation consulting
  • Hazardous materials release planning and response.
  • Source Water Protection Plans.

Tracer Testing

Tracer testing is a powerful tool used to determine groundwater flow paths and velocities in karst and fractured rock terrain. Tracers may also be used to determine well bore properties to optimize environmental monitoring. Tracers can also be used as contaminant surrogates to estimate concentrations in water from a hazardous materials release.

  • Study design and work plan development
  • Dyes and sampling materials
  • Tracer injection and sample collection
  • Borehole hydrophysics
  • Karst feature inventories
  • Field analytical services
  • Contaminant source tracking

Laboratory Analytical Services

Our analytical services focuses on fluorescent dye analysis. Our laboratory utilizes a Perkin Elmer LS-50B luminescence spectrometer with synchronous scan capabilities and a detection range of approximately 10 picograms (10 ppt) per liter. We can simultaneously quantify more than five fluorescent dyes in one analytical sweep saving time and expense. We process both water and activated charcoal samples for dye detection and utilize a peak fitting program for all analytical results. 

Karst Works' laboratory has an extensive internal quality control program that includes analysis of prepared standards, laboratory spikes and blanks. We also perform testing on water and charcoal to evaluate matrix interference issues for dye selection and recovery, as needed. We are experienced in working with CERCLA and RCRA sampling protocals. Optical brighteners – common additives in laundry detergents, are utilized as both active tracing agents and to access possible impact from septic waste.