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:

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.


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!

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 flow rate of 250 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 roll-along 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.


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
 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.