Hydrogeology Careers: What Do Hydrogeologists Do?

Hydrogeologist Career

Hydrogeologists focus on how groundwater is transported and distributed in the soil, rock and crust of the Earth.

About 50% of the people in the world rely on groundwater. So, this is why we have to conserve and protect this precious resource.

That’s where hydrogeologists come in. Hydrogeologists manage groundwater as a resource.

Today, you’re going to learn about hydrogeology. How much do they earn? And what job duties do they perform?

How much do hydrogeologists earn?

Hydrogeologist Salary

Hydrogeologists earn an average salary of about $80,000. Job growth is faster than average in this field with a positive outlook.

They tend to work in an office or outdoor setting. For example, hydrogeologists may work in the field assessing water quality, contamination, well or borehole sites.

They may also work in the office preparing reports and analyzing groundwater models.

Common degrees for hydrogeologists are in:

  • Geology
  • Civil engineering
  • Hydrogeology

Who hires hydrogeologists?

Various industries need hydrogeologists to assess groundwater for different purposes. The vast majority of hydrogeologists work in environmental consulting doing remediation.

  • ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: These hydrogeologists may focus on groundwater protection and management for mining operations.
  • GROUNDWATER SUSTAINABILITY: Some hydrogeologists work in pure hydrogeology which involves more of the water supply side and sustainability issues.

What do groundwater supply specialists focus on?

Groundwater

Water supply is another issue that hydrogeologists are concerned with so groundwater supply specialists focus on water availability.

About 50% of the people in the world rely on groundwater. For example, it is an important source of drinking and irrigation water across the globe.

So instead of focusing on contamination or remediation, water supply hydrogeologists analyze long-term monitoring, availability and quality.

As groundwater has to be carefully managed to guard against overuse, there will always be a need for hydrogeologists.

Do environmental consulting companies hire hydrogeologists?

Environmental consultancy mainly looks into factors like:

  • Contaminated groundwater (or land)
  • Assessing risk
  • Site remediation

Contaminated land is a big issue. This is because only in the recent past have petrochemicals, chemicals, construction industries had to ensure they weren’t polluting groundwater.

This is why the most demand for hydrogeologists is in the environment sector. For example, industries must ensure they are following laws and regulations such as in:

  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Construction

This is where groundwater model development, assessment and reporting for water management plays a key role.

How much field work do hydrogeologists perform?

Entry-level hydrogeologist jobs

Entry-level hydrogeologist jobs tend to involve more field work. For example, entry-level hydrogeologists often do the following:

  • Install monitoring wells
  • Perform groundwater sampling
  • Borehole logging

In addition, this comes with a fair share of data entry and reporting.

In regards to the actual chemical and geotechnical testing of soils and water, this is almost entirely done by specialist in an environmental lab.

Environmental investigations and remediation

Senior hydrogeologists often oversee environmental investigations and remediation.

Instead of collecting the physical groundwater samples, they perform and oversee the detailed hydrogeologic, hydrologic and hydraulic studies.

This comes with a fair amount of hydrogeology modeling and analyzing groundwater flow.

Senior hydrogeologists are also often more involved in flood protection designs and developing construction documents for engineering drawings and technical specifications.

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