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    The Application of Packers in Environmental, Construction & Mining Processes

    Inflatable packers and associated equipment are often used for geo technical applications and hydrological investigations. Typically, packers aid in determining rock permeability and stress conditions in environmental, construction and mining processes. Advances in technology enable packers to play a more vital role in various testing applications such as in-situ deep pressure permeability testing, rockburst mitigation and stress testing.

    Below, we review associated packer processes throughout three different industries: environmental, construction and mining. We examine the role packers play in the recent evolution of more robust systems and deeper, higher pressure sites across all three industries.


    There are many environmental processes requiring packer solutions to ensure project success. From groundwater monitoring and soil vapor extraction to direct isolation and ozone injection treatment, inflatable packers can be customized to suit many variables and project requirements.

    Using inflatable packers for environmental applications means water-quality samples can be carried out and collected to define water and contaminant movement within monitoring wells and aquifers in less intrusive ways. Being able to discreetly sample and inject simultaneously improves the handling and disposal of contaminated water, minimizing purge volumes and downtime regarding purging.

    Developments in environmental processes mean inflatable packers must be manufactured with versatility in mind in order to operate across a wide berth of sampling and hydraulic testing. Inflatable packers must be able to test in discrete intervals and deliver fluids into discrete discontinuities. Whether the job is isolated zone packer testing, pressure injection or water sampling, inflatable packers must be suited to adapt to activities requiring inflatable packer technology.

    The Application of Packers in Environmental, Construction & Mining Processes

    Configurations that serve up better solutions and are designed to be compatible and easily adaptable to various environmental applications include:

    Multiple straddle configuration
    Various pass thru options for sample tubes
    Viton covered packers
    Multiple passes through ports for packer strings
    Fixed packers for injection projects


    The diversity of construction projects mean associated packer equipment must perform across various applications. From foundation digging, stage grouting, tunnel boring, securing a dam or compaction grouting, construction packers must be able to fit specific needs.

    As construction projects respond to increasingly severe application environments, packer technology continues to evolve, meeting specific demands and offering solutions against grout bleed, unstable soil conditions, fractured rock or loose matrix bridge footings, footing instability and leaks in dam repair.

    Packer technology is incorporated across various construction applications. Pressure-grouting jobs, for example, require inflatable grout packers in stage grouting, galleries and grout curtains, and up-hole grouting for tunnels to seal against grout bleed. Permeability testing during core drilling is aided by a range of wireIline packers to isolate various zones. This results in a reduction in the time required to test in open or unstable formations.

    Such technology provides qualitative assessments of job sites, evaluating the effectiveness and strength of the rock masses.


    The mining industry has seen several changes in recent years as the development of tools and technology has transformed how mine sites operate. Progressively deeper underground mines and new activities in underground exploration and mining development have forced the evolution of the tools necessary to operate in such conditions, particularly in remote locations.

    To satisfy the requirements needed in deep and high-stress mining, packer technology now readily offers configurations and modular systems that allow for more remote, more accurate, and far deeper permeability testing and monitoring. The continuous employment of packer technology enables sites to remain as safe and secure environments to avoid disruption in daily production processes.

    As there is no room for error within an active mine site, packer technology must be sourced from quality equipment, delivering success in all applications, from dewatering, ceiling grout, or methane gas control and collection. Current packer systems enable seamless operations in even the remotest areas.

    Packers can be readily dismantled, are easy to use and user-friendly. This ensures easy handling and transport, improving mining application from a logistics standpoint. Problems often associated with deeper mining sites are deterred, and work continues without delays or excessive downtime.


    The packer system is an important and essential element to several key industries. Any job site or testing application that requires borehole sections to be effectively isolated for monitoring and testing would require the use of a range of packers. Optimally designed packer systems require minimal intervention, provide versatility in terms of tool functionality and improve the vertical distribution of samples for testing and monitoring.

    In addition, packer technology has enabled certain applications to keep pace with industry standards. Permeability testing, among other applications, is can now be done in more remote sites and in deeper settings with higher pressure environments. The evolution of packer technology has opened up a range of testing and monitoring processes not previously possible.

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