Geophysics Projects

ECA’s Managing Principal (Brett Smith, PE) began his Geophysics career after earning a Master of Science degree in Geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines (1984). In 2014, USA Today rated Mines as the Number 1 Engineering College in America.
After graduating from Mines, Mr. Smith advanced through the Oil Industry ranks to become a Technical Studies Geophysicist who advised oil/gas exploration staff as to the most effective seismic data to utilize in developing prospects and was recognized by the Corpus Christi Exploration Manager as a primary reason why one of their oil/gas Gulf Coast wells came on line ahead of schedule.
After leaving the Oil Industry in 1987, Mr. Smith retooled himself into a registered Professional Environmental Engineer (PE) and is currently licensed in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, where he helps commercial / retail / oil / other clients stay in compliance with regulatory agencies such as the EPA. This diverse experience and knowledge helps Mr. Smith design pertinent, cost-effective geophysical surveys that assist engineering/ commercial / industrial clients effectively locate groundwater or buried waste, thus saving them precious time and money in achieving their Construction and/or Site Remediation objectives.
Some typical geophysical surveying projects performed by ECA Geophysics are listed below:

GEOTECHNICAL GEOPHYSICS: ReMi™ Surveys for New Construction in downtown Waikiki
PROJECT: Refraction Microtremor (ReMi™) surveys for Geotechnical Engineering firm
LOCATION: Waikiki, Oahu, Hawai’i
DESCRIPTION: Designed and acquired ReMi™ survey data at 6 predetermined locations within and around the footprint for a previously razed multi-story building, to noninvasively measure microtremors within the upper 100 feet (30 meters) of the subsurface.
The primary goal of this interesting investigation was to identify potential low-velocity (less indurated or rock-like) subsurface zones representative of corraline deposits, instead of the desired crystalline igneous bedrock upon which high-rise buildings prefer to rest. This information confirmed what the geotechnical design engineers suspected as the cause of a nearby building collapse.

GEOTECHNICAL GEOPHYSICS: ReMi™ Surveys at US Army Facility
PROJECT: ReMi™ surveys for Geotechnical Engineering design
LOCATION: Southeast of Boise, Idaho
DESCRIPTION: Designed and acquired ReMi™ survey data at predetermined locations within the United States Army’s Tank Training Area located near Boise, Idaho.
The goal of this interesting investigation was to determine the depth to weathered and “fresh” (competent) basalt bedrock, the rippability of the weathered basalt and the depth to the competent basalt bedrock at 12 proposed construction locations. The ReMi™ data correlated nicely with test pit “ground truth”, as well as coincident electrical resistivity data.

GEOTECHNICAL GEOPHYSICS: ReMi™ Surveys for New Construction
PROJECT: ReMi™ surveys for Geotechnical Engineering design
LOCATION: Idaho
DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed ReMi™ Surveys for proposed construction at vacant and existing land to passively measure microtremors within the upper 100 feet (30 meters) of the subsurface, to acquire Vs, the average shear-wave velocity required to ascertain the proper NEHRP / IBC site class.
This information provided an ACCURATE (vs asumed) seismic site classification from which to design the safest and most cost-effective building foundation.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS: ReMi™ Survey at a Haz Waste Landfill
PROJECT: ReMi™ surveys at a closed waste disposal site
LOCATION: The Dalles, Oregon
DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed ReMi™ Surveys at a closed 8-acre waste disposal site to passively measure microtremors within the upper 55 feet of the subsurface, to determine the depth to competent (non-rippable) basalt bedrock.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS: Augmenting Phase 2
PROJECT: GPR survey to locate buried tanks (USTs)
LOCATION: Spokane, Washington
DESCRIPTION: A project that employed the capabilities of our two firms, ECA Geophysics and Environmental Compliance Associates (ECA).  The client was required to have a Phase 2 environmental site assessment (ESA) comprising subsurface soil sampling to address possible petroleum and chemical contamination associated with buried storage tanks. The geophysical survey (Ground-Penetrating Radar – GPR) was initially performed, to determine whether or not USTs exist at the Site. Findings from the GPR survey determined that no USTs were located at the Site, thereby greatly simplifying the drilling program and most importantly, making the strong argument that contamination SOURCES do not exist. Currently waiting on analytical results that should confirm a lack of significant subsurface contamination. Favorable findings deemed the Site “clean” and therefore classified as an “unrestricted property”.When you hire ECA, you reap the benefits of this “integrated approach” that can significantly reduce your site characterization (ESA) costs!

GEOTECHNICAL GEOPHYSICS: Refraction / ReMi™ Surveys at a Proposed Wind Farm
PROJECT:
Refraction / ReMi™ geophysical surveys at a proposed Wind Farm
LOCATION: West of Ellensburg, Washington
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed seismic refraction / ReMi™ surveys at 22 proposed Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) sites for the primary purpose of obtaining shear-wave (Vs) and compressional-wave (Vp) velocities. This information provided an ACCURATE (vs assumed) seismic site classification from which to design the safest and most cost-effective foundation for each WTG support structure.

    

GROUNDWATER GEOPHYSICS: RES Surveys to Locate Drinking Water
PROJECT:
 Multi-electrode surveys at a large tract of farmland
LOCATION: California (specific location is Confidential, per client’s request)
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed a reconnaissance VLF survey and subsequent exploratory SuperSting 84-electrode geophysical surveys across a suspected water-bearing trend occurring within a large tract of farmland at a confidential location in California. The resistivity data enabled the owner to install a water-well that is producing at a satisfactory flow rate of 200 gpm!

REMEDIATION GEOPHYSICS: RES Surveys at a Mine Processing Facility
PROJECT:
Multi-electrode electrical resistivity (RES) surveys at a mine tailings processing facility
LOCATION: Western United States (specific location is Confidential, per client’s request)
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed SuperSting 84-electrode rollalong resistivity surveys across approximately 65 acres of land within a well field compliance zone. The RES data provided client with the depths to aquitards and bedrock to achieve optimal placement of recovery wells, to meet State regulatory compliance guidelines.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS: Integrated EMI / GPR Surveys
PROJECT:
 Integrated EMI and GPR surveys to locate buried tanks, drums and utilities
LOCATION: Aberdeen, Washington
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed an integrated electromagnetic induction (EMI) and ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of select areas situated within the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport nearby the town of Aberdeen, Washington. Utilizing solely GPR, 24 proposed drilling locations were successfully “cleared”. The integrated data provided locations of metal debris zones, one underground storage tank (UST) and numerous buried utilities. The anomaly maps helped the client optimize their environmental drilling and sampling program.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS: Locating Buried Fuel Lines / USTs at a Closed AFB
PROJECT:
 GPR Survey of a closed Air Force Base (AFB)
LOCATION: Galena, Alaska
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Performed GPR surveys of 14 AOCs (areas of concern), to locate buried fuel storage tanks (USTs), fuel lines, piping and electrical conduit. Performed detailed surveys so as to provide accurate locations to Client for subsequent environmental drilling and sampling activities.

OIL / GAS GEOPHYSICS: Magnetometer Survey to Locate Wellheads
PROJECT:
 Using the Magnetic Method to locate abandoned wellheads
LOCATION: Forks, Washington
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed a total field magnetometer survey of a heavily-wooded area situated nearby the town of Forks, Washington. The data located metal debris and one wellhead. Depth estimates to the top of the wellhead were provided.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS: Magnetic Gradiometer Survey of a Solid Waste Landfill at an active Army Depot
PROJECT:
 Magnetic Gradiometer survey of a 26-acre landfill
LOCATION: Tooele Army Depot, Utah
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Designed and performed a high-resolution (1-meter spaced survey transects) magnetic gradiometer survey of a total of 26 acres of landfill area (solid waste management unit or SWMU) situated within the Tooele Army Depot’s south area. The data provided the client with locations of metal debris zones and trench-fill areas, to satisfy Utah Department of Environmental Quality regulatory compliance guidelines.