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Describing, Documenting, and Interpreting Soil Conditions within Deep Holes #T508-0026

Instructed by:
Peter C. Fletcher, Certified Professional Soil Scientist and Soil Evaluator

All attendees are required to be Certified Soil Evaluators and listed on the State list of Soil Evaluators.

Workshop Description
This course is designed for professionals who are Certified Soil Evaluators. The focus of the course is describing, documenting, and interpreting soil conditions within deep observation holes located in areas with varied soil/geologic conditions. The lecture portion of the workshop will be a review and update of all of the different aspects of Soil Science that are needed by Soil Evaluators to accurately describe the soil/geologic features in a deep observation hole. During the field portion of the workshop participants will work in small groups and describe, document, and interpret soil conditions within 5 or 6 deep observation holes. Participants will document their finding using the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Form 11 – Soil Suitability Assessment for On-Site Sewage Disposal. Certified professional soil scientists will be available to provide individual or small group instruction. At the completion of the workshop, soil scientists will discuss their interpretations of the deep holes and lead a question and answer session.

Workshop Outline

Day 1 – Lecture and Hands on Exercises

Date: See Schedule on the right
Time: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Location:See Schedule on the right

Review of Geology and Soil Science:

  • Glacial geology of Southern New England
  • Common landscapes and landforms found within Massachusetts
  • Effects of soil formation within Southern New England
  • Logging a deep hole
  • Identifying and interpreting soil horizons and layers
  • Field methodology for determining soil texture
  • Documenting soil colors
  • Understanding the different groundwater systems common to New England
  • Estimating the depth to seasonal high water table using soil features (redoximorphic features)
  • Field methodology for determining soil consistence (firm, very firm, extremely firm) and soil structure

Day 2– Field Exercises

Date: See Schedule on the right
Time: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Location:See Schedule on the right

Field Exercises: Describing, documenting, and interpreting soil/geologic conditions within deep observation holes.

  • Participants will work independently or in small groups. A Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Form 11 – Soil Suitability Assessment for On-Site Sewage Disposal will be completed for each deep hole.
  • It is anticipated that each participant will have the opportunity to describe and log 5 to 6 deep holes.
  • A Certified Professional Soil Scientist / Soil Evaluator will review the soil/geologic conditions within each deep hole and address any questions and/or differences in interpretations.

Course Materials
Each participant will receive handouts and a field guide.

Field Investigations
This workshop will be conducted using hand shovels and soil augers. Participants are to bring their own field equipment (soil color book, trowel, water bottle, etc.). Soil shovels and augers will be provided by the instructor. Because this workshop focuses on “keeping your head out of the deep hole” and interpreting the landscape, there will be no excavated deep observation holes and only limited field testing using hand tools.

Field Conditions
The field exercises for this workshop are strenuous and require participants to traverse rough terrain, walk long distances, and dig test holes using shovels and augers. Each participant needs to evaluate their own health and physical conditioning before registering for this workshop.

Weather Conditions
Participants should come properly dressed for the field and wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. If the weather conditions are extreme (driving rain and lightning), participants will be notified via the Internet and the second day of the workshop will be rescheduled for to be announced.

Field Equipment
Participants are to bring their own field equipment that is needed to describe and log a deep observation hole.

Light snacks and drinks will be provided.

All participants are required to be present during the times stated for the workshop. Attendance will be taken at the start and close of each day.

Limited Enrollment
To allow for small group instruction/discussion, enrolment for this workshop is limited to 30 participants.

Certificate of Completion
A Certificate will be awarded to each participant who successfully completes the workshop specifying the completion of 10 Training Credit Hours. The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), the approving authority, will be notified in writing.

Keep the Certificate of Completion
A list of participants and their SE or SI number is sent to NEWIPCC when the participant completes the 10 credit hour workshop. HOWEVER in order to receive Soil Evaluator (SE) or System Inspector (SI) credit from NEWIPCC for any workshop presented by Peter Fletcher, a photocopy of the Certificate of Completion must be sent to NEWIPCC before your renewal date.

There will be a $35 fee for researching attendance records and the reissue of a Certificate of Completion. the request and the fee must be received by mail addressed to: Peter Fletcher, PO Box 141, Bridgewater, MA 02324



Workshop Schedule for T508-0026

None scheduled at this time