Value-Added Solutions, Firm Strength & Community Leadership

July 14th, 2017

Value-Added Solutions, Firm Strength and Community Leadership. At Geotechnology, we strive everyday to achieve our Vision and Mission statements.

Value-Added Solutions,
Improving our Services to Our Clients –
Master Special Inspectors

Tim Gorline, Master Special InspectorMr. Tim Gorline, a Geologist in the St. Louis construction materials testing (CMT) group, has achieved International Code Council (ICC) designation as Master Special Inspector. Tim is one of only two Master Special Inspectors in the State of Missouri, the other being in the Kansas City area. Of the 16 Master Special Inspectors in the State of Illinois, only Gorline and one other reside in the St. Louis metro area.

Tim is now certified by ICC to perform inspections in reinforced concrete, soils, fireproofing, structural steel and welding, structural steel and bolting, and reinforced masonry.  Tim also holds other certifications including the following: Level I Technician, American Concrete Institute (ACI);  Level II Technician, Post-Tensioning Institute; Level II Soils, Level II Asphalt and Level III Concrete Technician from National Institute of Civil Engineering Technicians (NICET); and Soil and Concrete Technician from Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

Joseph Moore, E.I, Master Special InspectorMr. Joseph Moore, an Engineer in Training in the Lexington, Kentucky CMT group, has achieved the International Code Council designation as Master of Special Inspections. Moore is one of only five professionals with the MSI certification in Lexington and one of nine in Kentucky.

Joe is now certified by ICC to perform inspections in reinforced concrete, structural masonry, structural steel and bolting, and structural welding. In addition, Joe also holds certifications for  ACI Concrete Field Testing Level I and is an AWS Certified Welding Inspector.

Confidence in the Firm you Hire –
​​​​​​​Top 500 Design Firm Ranking

2017 ENR Top 500 Firm, #391

Engineering News-Record (ENR), the highly regarded construction industry publication, has ranked Geotechnology, Inc., #391 of the nation’s Top 500 Design Firms for 2017.

ENR ranked firms by revenue for design services performed in 2016. The list includes firms that categorize themselves as architect, engineer, engineer-contractor, engineer-architect, environmental, geotechnical engineer, landscape architect and planner.

 

Leadership in Professional Organizations

Ed Alizadeh, P.E., President/CEOACEC Missouri announced on June 29th that Geotechnology, Inc.’s President and CEO, Ed Alizadeh, P.E., will be the chapter’s National Director. The National Director represents the State Member Organization (ACEC Missouri) at national ACEC meetings and has traditionally been filled by the past president of ACEC Missouri.

Value-Added Services That Help Our Clients

April 19th, 2017
Geotechnology, Inc. provides a number of services related to development and construction, including geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, construction materials testing and drilling and our clients appreciate our responsive and integrated package of services. In addition to these services, we also provide value-added services that can reduce costs to save our clients’ money. These value-added services include geotechnical desktop studies, geophysical assessments, site-specific seismic assessments and cone penetrometer testing.

Desk Study

A geotechnical desktop study assists clients in identifying potential ground hazards and corresponding primary risks quickly and non-intrusively at an early stage so that these risks can be better managed during the design and construction process. The desktop study can provide an early warning of hazards such as slope instability, abandoned mines and elevated seismic potential which reduces risk and associated costs.

Geophysics

SuperSting
Geophysical investigations can reduce project costs by designing a subsurface investigation program to achieve targeted results which may reduce the number of borings at a site, reducing the project cost. Geophysics is also used to identify subsurface voids and unknown utilities that can impact the schedule and cost of a project. This is particularly helpful on sites where historical records may be unreliable or unavailable.

Seismic Assessment

Site-specific seismic hazard assessments can be used to predict the seismic potential of a site. The assessments have the opportunity to revise the IBC seismic code for a site to a less conservative level, potentially saving the site owner thousands of of dollars in design and construction costs.

Cone Penetration Testing

20-ton CPTCone Penetration Testing (CPT) is Geotechnology’s newest drilling method and provides a detailed, in-situ testing method used to map soil stratigraphy and estimate many fundamental geotechnical engineering properties. Since the daily production rate of CPT is often 1.5 to 3 times faster than conventional drilling methods, we can save our clients time and money, especially on larger sites.
In addition to the above services, Geotechnology strives to save our client’s money through continuous project communication, recommending options that will provide cost-effective including using our in-house resources. These in-house resources include owning our own equipment and cross training staff who can provide multiple functions on a site.
There are numerous examples of specific project cost savings based on innovative Geotechnology recommendations and services.

Design-Build Interchange, Cincinnati, Ohio

October 25th, 2016

oct1The Thelen/Geotechnology – Cincinnati Branch has just begun the third year of a three-year design-build project for the new MLK interchange in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Prime Contractor is Kokosing Construction and the lead designer is HDR Engineering.  This $80+ million project includes the construction of two new bridges, widening and/or improvements to three additional bridges, removal of two bridges, construction of six ramps, extensive retaining walls and improvements to other roadways in the vicinity of the interchange.

Thelen/Geotechnology provided geotechnical drilling and laboratory testing services during the design of the project.  Project challenges included significant changes in rock elevation with rock excavation required in some areas, wick drains necessary to expedite consolidation of weak soils in other areas, and urban fill that required overexcavation and replacement.

oct2During the construction phase, Thelen/Geotechnology is providing ongoing construction review services including density testing for the embankments, wall and utility backfill, concrete testing, and testing for the cement stabilized subgrade.

The project will significantly improve the travel time and access to Cincinnati Uptown, Cincinnati Zoo, and University of Cincinnati areas. The project began in the fall of 2014 and is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017.

Please contact us for more information regarding our services for your next Design-Build project.

Revised Federal UST Regulations

August 10th, 2016

2226 N 1st UST Picture 1Due to recent litigation regarding the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) revised Underground Storage Tank (UST) regulations we want to update and remind our clients about the regulations that went into effect on October 13, 2015. The changes represent the first revisions to USEPA UST rules since they were enacted in 1988, and apply to tanks that hold petroleum or hazardous chemicals.

Some changes go into effect on October 13, 2018; however, some specific changes were set to go into effect immediately. These changes will affect some installations, repairs, and reporting requirements at current UST facilities.

What Are the Changes?

Some changes currently in effect:

  • Ball float valves replacements must be with an automatic shut off flapper valve or an overfill alarm system.
  • Operators must notify the regulatory agency at least 30 days in advance of switching to blended fuels containing greater than 10% ethanol, greater than 20% biodiesel, or when compatibility can be an issue for other regulated substances.

Some changes with an implementation date of October 13, 2018:

  • Monthly walk through inspections of UST facilities must be performed. Currently the rule allows for quarterly inspections.
  • Spill bucket testing for tank tightness at three year intervals (not previously required).
  • Inspection of overfill prevention equipment at three year intervals.
  • Training of UST Operators into A/B and C classes.

What Does This Mean for Illinois UST Operators?

USTIllinois UST operators will have to follow both the current Illinois regulations and the USEPA regulations until the Illinois regulations are updated. These updates are in progress at the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and are expected to have the same deadlines as the USEPA.

Also in Illinois, enforcement of the existing operator requirements has changed. A new Notice of Violation (NOV) for specific Operator Certification deficiencies began being issued on April 1, 2016. Instead of the 60 day compliance period that was previously allowed for correcting violations, this new Operator Certification NOV will lead to immediate red tagging of USTs at the facility when any of the listed violations are found. According to the OSFM, UST NOVs will continue to have a 60 day compliance period.

How About Missouri UST Operators?

Missouri’s UST regulatory program has “State Program Approval” from the USEPA, which allows the state to continue to use its own regulations as long as it updates the regulations and obtains approval by the USEPA within three years of the new USEPA regulation.

Currently, Missouri is in the preliminary stages of the rulemaking process, and USEPA rules are not in force. However, the proposed Rule Changes are being provided to the public in the following document: Proposed Changes to Missouri UST Regulations. Details of some of these proposed changes are also provided in its most recent newsletter: August 2015 MDNR UST Newsletter.

Ask Us If You Have Any Questions!

The first step in compliance is understanding the rules and regulations. Geotechnology continues to monitor these technical and regulatory changes on behalf of our clients. For a more detailed explanation of the USEPA rule changes and how they are different from the 1988 rules you can contact us or visit https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/regs2015-crosswalk.pdf.

Special Inspections

June 28th, 2016

Chapter 17 – What is so Special about it?

Chapter 17 of the International Building Code (IBC) – and thus almost all adopted State and Local jurisdictions Building codes – relates to all Special Inspections.  The “Special” connotation can throw some for a “loop”.  Simplified, Chapter 17 Inspections can be defined as Third Party Tests and Reviews requiring “Special Expertise”.  These are construction reviews and construction materials testing that the jurisdictional Building Department will not be performing; however, the Building Department will require that the reviews/tests are performed in order to issue an Occupancy Permit for the project at the conclusion of construction.

It’s a bit of a Mystery….

River City Casino Special Inspection

Special Inspection Services

We are often asked to help interpret the Special Inspections portion of the Building Code. Sometimes it is difficult to understand exactly what will be enforced on the Code, but actually the tables within the Code are specific as to types, frequencies and referenced standards for reviews and tests required for the listed Special Inspections.  These can be looked at as the default required Inspections of the building being permitted.  These types of construction (concrete, masonry, structural steel, etc.) are also referred to as life safety items of the building construction. The Designer of Record (usually the Structural Engineer or Architect) can increase or decrease these if they feel that is appropriate based on the level and type of construction. However, the Plan Examiner can accept or reject those changes or may request a reason for requiring less Special Inspections than what is listed in the Code for typical construction.

For example, if a project requires Special Inspections for the structural masonry, the Code provides the frequency that grouting is to be reviewed and what items are reviewed during grouting, as well as the allowable construction tolerances.  The Code provides our scope.  Our role, as the Special Inspector, is to coordinate with the Contractor and provide the Inspector with the Special Expertise to review the work.  The appropriate reports are sent to the Design/Construction Team.  The completion of the Special Inspections will allow the Special Inspector to issue a final summary letter of the Final Report of Special Inspections (the required reports may vary by the individual Building Departments). This Final Report will meet one of the requirements for issuance of an Occupancy Permit.

How do we help you solve the “Mystery of Chapter 17”

Geotechnology, Inc. performs Special Inspections consistent with Chapter 17 of the IBC.  We are well versed with the requirements and can review your Statement of Special Inspections in order to submit the inspection report to the Building Department who is reviewing your plans and issuing your project’s permits.

Contact us for more information.

Natural Systems Consulting Services

May 20th, 2016

Natural Systems Consulting

NaturalSystemsConsulting1Are you considering a new development or improvements to an existing development? Depending on the size and location of your site, you may benefit from natural systems consulting services. Should your site possess water features that might be considered Waters of the United States (WOUS), the development may require Section 404/401 permitting. WOUS include waterbodies such as streams, ponds, and wetlands that are protected by the Clean Water Act (CWA). Under Sections 404 and 401 of the CWA, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and state natural resource agencies, respectively, maintain jurisdiction over the filling and dredging of WOUS, including wetlands.

NaturalSystemsConsulting2Since 1991, Geotechnology has been offering natural systems and wetlands consulting services to guide clients through the regulations and to provide cost-effective, ecological solutions for their project sites. These services assist clients on projects from initial due diligence delineations and biological surveys, to final monitoring of mitigation areas. Through our years of experience with projects of varying complexity, we’ve established excellent relationships with regulatory agencies including the USACE, various state natural resource agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). We can assist with wetland and WOUS delineations, Section 404/401 permit applications, alternatives analysis, public notice comment responses, stream or wetland mitigation plans, and mitigation monitoring.

Endangered Species Consultation

NaturalSystemsConsulting3Additionally, we provide threatened and endangered species consultation, including bat habitat assessments. In recent years, a fungal disease called white nose syndrome, has killed millions of bats in North America. As a result of the spread of the disease, USFWS has been looking more closely at potential bat habitats, including small stands of trees that may be used by bats for roosting or foraging. Should your development require tree removal, you may need a bat habitat assessment and USFWS consultation to facilitate site permitting.

For more information contact us!

Future Uses of Fly Ash

April 22nd, 2016

The future beneficial use of fly ash seems to be ‘up in the air.’ Recent USEPA air pollution control regulations are resulting in the production of fly ash with uncertain chemical properties, typically additional carbon and heavy metals content. These properties may restrict or possibly prohibit the use of some historically available fly ash sources for use in concrete or for soil stabilization/modification.

The spotlight on fly ash is due to operational and equipment modifications at coal-fired power plants to meet new air pollution control regulations. Changes include the introduction of powdered activated carbon (PAC) into the flue gas upstream of particle control devices to reduce the expulsion of heavy metals into the air. Fly ash with higher heavy metal and carbon content is expected.

Fly Ash and Concrete

The use of fly ash to produce a more durable and stronger concrete is a well-established practice.  Historically, fly ash included a small percentage of unburned carbon. Carbon can adversely interact with the concrete surfactants used to induce air entrainment. Consequently, current practice limits the percentage of carbon in fly ash designated for use in concrete. The concrete industry recognized this adverse effect and is developing processes to use high carbon content fly ash in concrete.

Fly Ash and Soil Improvement

fly ash soil stabilizationFly ash is frequently used to reduce the swell potential of highly plastic soils, increase the workability of wet soils, and increase the strength of pavement subgrades. The increased heavy metal content in some fly ash sources is resulting in some States (such as Missouri) reviewing a maximum amount of fly ash that can be used in unencapsulated beneficial reuse without receiving prior authorization or demonstration that adverse effects to human health and the environment would not occur.

Geotechnology continues to monitor these technical and regulatory changes on behalf of our clients. During this transition, our engineers communicate with regulators, the fly ash brokers, and review the fly ash chemical analysis reports to provide sound recommendations based on the available information.

It is important to know that individual states may have more restrictive requirements or permitting but to learn more follow the link below.

Coal Ash Reuse

 

For more information, please contact Matt McQuality, P.E. or Anna Saindon, Ph.D., P.E., R.G.

Tim Wilson, promoted to Field Safety Specialist

April 20th, 2016

Geotechnology, Inc., a leading provider of geotechnical and environmental engineering, geophysics, water resource management, materials testing and drilling services, has announced that Tim Wilson has been promoted to Field Safety Specialist working in the Geotechnology Corporate Group.

A registered geologist, Wilson has been a member of the Geotechnology team for more than 15 years. He most recently served as a Senior Geologist in the Geophysics Group in St. Louis where he led geophysical investigations for the past eight years.

As Field Safety Specialist, Wilson’s primary responsibilities include conducting field safety observations and providing safety resources to Geotechnology staff on project sites throughout the United States. He will be based in the St. Louis office.

“Tim’s diverse and hands-on experience in several of Geotechnology’s operational groups will be an asset to identifying and controlling the hazards that our field staff face on a daily basis,” said Geotechnology Corporate Risk Manager Joe Darmody. “I am looking forward to working with Tim to improve the safety of our field operations company-wide.”

Wilson is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University, where he received a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in Geology/Earth Science.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for Pavement Projects

March 30th, 2016

Our geophysics team explains the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR) for pavement projects for Fox 2 news.

Fox 2 Link: Creve Coeur using radar for pavement projects

 

 

Geotechnology Engineers Save Project $30 Million Dollars

March 23rd, 2016

IMG_20160216_105859152The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is currently constructing a new facility in Memphis, Tennessee. The facility includes combustion turbine-generators, a turbine hall building, two heat recovery steam generators, one steam turbine generator, tanks, pipe racks, cooling towers, warehouses, and an administrative building. The project site is approximately 1 ½ mile to the east of the Mississippi River and approximately ½-mile to the south of Lake McKellar. The soils in the general area of the site consist of dredged materials, uncemented and young river deposits. The site is within the zone of influence of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), which has produced large earthquakes in the past.

TVA had a preliminary geotechnical subsurface exploration (SE) conducted during the planning phase. Kiewit Power (KP) retained Geotechnology to provide a geotechnical review of the preliminary SE during the bidding process. Based on the review, it was concluded that a supplementary SE is needed to provide sufficient design information. TVA then selected KP to provide design and construction services. KP retained Geotechnology to perform the supplementary SE, which included additional conventional drilling and in situ testing (SPT), sampling, laboratory testing, Cone Penetration Testing (CPT), and a site-specific seismic study. KP also retained Berkel and Company Contractors, Inc. (Berkel) to install Displacement Auger Pressure Grouted (APG-D) piles to support heavy loads and Cast-in-place Ground-improvement Elements (CGEs) for ground improvement purposes.

KP engineers faced a major challenge during the design phase: lateral spreading during the design earthquake event required by the 2012 International Building Code (IBC). Based on the results of the preliminary SE, a lateral displacement (LD) of 60 inches was estimated. To mitigate the LD impact, additional ground improvement was required by installing the CGE’s at tighter spacing. Additional piles were also required to limit the expected lateral movement of superstructures. The expected additional cost was around $30M. KP requested that Geotechnology perform analyses to evaluate the potential for lateral spreading due the design seismic event stated in the IBC.

Geotechnology engineers used two methods to estimate lateral spreading. The analyses utilized both SPT and CPT results, actual topographical information between the site and Lake McKellar and the site-specific seismic study results. The engineers also considered the database used for developing the analysis methods, the nearest distance to the possible seismic source, the uncertainty in developing the analysis methods, and they reviewed historical data (a 1910 USGS report) related to LD observations in the NMSZ. Based on the extensive study performed by our engineers, an estimated average LD of 6 inches was recommended. Accordingly, KP design engineers concluded the additional ground improvement and piles are not necessary, thus reducing the estimated construction cost by approximately $30M. The project is currently under construction, and it has a target completion date of early 2017.