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Field Techniques for Conducting System Inspections #T509-0070

Presented by:
Rick Judd, Registered Sanitarian, Certified Soil Evaluator and System Inspector
Peter C. Fletcher, Certified Professional Soil Scientist, Soil Evaluator/System Insp.
John Viveiros MEd (Bridgewater State) former DEP Title 5 Coordinator

Workshop Description
System Inspectors are often presented with the difficult task of evaluating an on-site sewage disposal system with a limited amount of information in addition to restricted soil testing. This workshop will stress the importance of an analytical approach considering all of the available information beginning with the study of reference materials, followed by conducting a site walk, study of existing plans, verification and inspection of system components using a remote camera, and conducting soil investigations using a soil auger.

This course is designed for professionals who are seasoned System Inspectors. Instruction will include lecture and hands on exercises followed by field exercises. For the field exercises, participants will work in small groups to investigate 4 or 5 field sites. Some of the field sites will have functioning on-site wastewater disposal systems while other sites will present hypothetical situations using undeveloped field sites. A variety of different waste water management/treatment technologies will be inspected. The geology and soil conditions will be investigated at each site.

Workshop Outline

Day 1 – Lecture and Hands on exercises

Date: See current workshops
Time: 2:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: To be announced

Topics Covered (lecture, hands on exercises using soil samples, and small group activities):

  • Review of the Title 5 Inspection Form & filling out the DEP form
  • Why is an inspection necessary & when is an inspection required
  • Identify and discuss the different Steps for research prior to the field work
  • Conducting a Title 5 field inspection
  • Discuss and examine (hands on) the different devices and technologies that can be used to evaluate a system
  • Study and interpret available reference materials and site plans
  • Discuss methodologies used to estimate depth to seasonal high ground water
  • Identify soil color patterns (mottling) that are evidence of high ground water
  • Field method for estimating the percent sand, silt, and clay
  • Know what is meant by “best professional judgment” and discuss liability issues

Second Day – Field Exercises

Date: See current workshops
Time: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Location: To be announced

Field Exercises:

For this portion of the workshop, participants will work in small groups to investigate field sites and document their findings using the Massachusetts, Department of Environmental Protection form - Title 5 Official Inspection Form, for Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems.

Participants will visit 4 or 5 field sites located on different landscapes with varied geology and challenging soil conditions. Some of the field sites will have operating on-site wastewater disposal systems while other sites will present hypothetical situations using undeveloped field sites. For the hypothetical sites, participants will be provided with all of the necessary information (site plan maps, system design plans, soil evaluation forms, use history, reference maps, etc.) needed to conduct a comprehensive system inspection. Depending on the individual field sites, the locations of drinking wells, wetland boundaries, abutting structures and systems, etc. will be provided.

All of the different aspects of completing a State Title 5 System Inspection will be reviewed during the field exercises with special emphasis placed on determining estimated depth to high ground water. A step by step methodology for determining the depth to seasonal high ground water will be reviewed. The use of a soil auger and how to interpret the underlying soil color patterns will be discussed.

In addition to the above, hands on exercises will be conducted using soil samples. Participants will be given instruction on: 1. the field methods for determining the proportion of sand, silt, and clay in a soil; 2. how to identify a restrictive layer; and 3. identifying and interpreting soil mottling.

Course Materials
Each participant will receive handouts.

Field Investigations
Participants are encouraged to come to the workshop with the equipment they use when conducting a system inspection. Additional equipment (soil augers, shovels, monitoring well pipe, etc.) will be available at each site. For this workshop on-site soil investigations will be conducted using hand shovels and soil augers.

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.

Refreshments and Lunch
Snacks and drinks will be provided. Participants are to bring their own lunches for the field exercises on the second day.

Because challenging field sites are essential for the success of this workshop, participants may be required to drive considerable distances between sites.

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, enrollment for this workshop is limited to 25 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, the approving authority, will be notified in writing.

Keep the Certificate of Completion
In order to receive System Inspector (SI) credit from NEIWPCC, you may be requested to send them a photocopy of the Certificate of Completion.

There will be a $50 fee for researching lost 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 P-113, South Dartmouth, MA 02748.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept credit cards.



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