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CASE STUDY: A Million Dollar Difference

Mar 06, 2018

Client avoids excess project expense via experience and wide toolset.

CLIENT NEED: For years the gun club shot at targets launched over an estuary.  For decades this seemed harmless.  But the shot was lead and after many years the State wanted to figure out where all the lead was and wasn’t.  Under several feet of water was a layer of unconsolidated sediment—black mayonnaise.  Below this strata was a layer of more consolidated sediment and then under all of this, bedrock.  If the lead was scattered top to bottom or if it were found to be in both the black mayonnaise strata and the more consolidated strata, the cleanup cost would be enormous.  If it was only in the top unconsolidated strata, the cost of cleanup would be considerably less.  And, if the lead shot had fallen through and was sitting on the bedrock, no cleanup would be required. 

SOLUTION: Aqua Survey was contracted to provide vibracore sampling in the area of concern.  Cores would penetrate to bedrock.  Providing an accurate look at the sediment strata, the cores would allow the client to know just how deep the lead had settled.

WHAT IF: The client had a concern.  What if the act of coring mixed the lead shot into in all strata, massively increasing the cost of dredging?

SOLUTION: Aqua Survey has many different makes and models of vibracore units.  Some are better suited for certain types of projects than others. They range from heavy duty 350 pound Rossfelders to more lightweight systems.  In order to determine which model would provide the minimal lead shot redistribution, an 8 foot high, 5 foot diameter container was filled with sediment.  As the container was being filled, lead shot painted different colors was placed at varying depths.  Different vibracore units were tested and a unit was found which provided essentially no redistribution of lead shot.  Surprisingly, it was one of our heavier systems, the 350 pound Rossfelder VT6, that proved to be the winner.  The gun club’s field project was completed to everyone’s satisfaction.

We’ve been in the sediment business long enough to not just have one or two kinds of solutions.  As they say, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  That’s not us.  We’re more like a well-stocked tool chest. With over four decades in business we’ve seen and overcome many unique project challenges, and, when presented with a new problem or challenge we know how to engineer the solution.  So if you are dealing with a sediment challenge and need assistance, whether it be the actual sampling or geotechnical or toxicological testing, allow us to be your expert source.

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Can Grain Size predict a sample’s potential for contaminant loading?

Jan 10, 2018

We live sediment.  Sometimes we even dream about it.

If you need thousands of Grain Size analyses or just a few, Aqua Survey can collect the samples and perform Sieve or Hydrometer analyses for you.

“Can Grain Size predict a sample’s potential for contaminant loading?”

The answer is YES.

A sample’s grain size can be a good indicator of contaminant loading. The amount of silt and clay in large part determines the level of potential contamination in a sample.

Have a question about sediment?

Call 908-788-8700

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SAME Flatscreen TV Contest

Dec 01, 2017

We’d like to congratulate the following winners of our SAME contest!

Grand Prize TV Winner

Anthony Moore, Environmental Works, Inc.

Amazon Gift Card Winners

Colleen Rust, Sundance Consulting

Horace Walker, Florabama Geospatial Solutions, LLC

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Bridging the Gap between Land and Water

Oct 17, 2017

Seamless Land and Water Surveys

Click Above for 3D Model

The area between land and water is one that has been difficult to survey with traditional methods. One of Aqua Survey’s specialties is creating engineering quality 3D models of this transitional zone through the application of recent technological advancements.

Seawalls, headwalls, wharfs, piers, bulkheads, sheet pile, utilities and other waterside structures are often difficult to measure and assess.

Urban waterways present unique challenges to engineers due to the density and complexity of objects near the waterline.

Through the combined use of water-side and drone-based survey techniques, ASI can generate a seamless transition between landside and underwater survey data, such as side scan or multibeam sonar, magnetometer and EM (Electro-Magnetic).

Our survey techniques provide you a photorealistic representation that’s not just pretty to look at but contains real-world metrics, allowing you to make accurate measurements right from your desktop.  Models can be viewed through a web browser, the Autodesk Suite or your preferred CAD program.

Sites change over time.  With repeated visits, a historical database can be created to monitor trends.  A leaning seawall or sheet pile’s angle can be measured or conditional assessments can be made and monitored for change.

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UXO Survivor to Break-Dance Advocate

Oct 02, 2017

l just finished watching Ken Burn’s 10 episode documentary series on the Vietnam War. It was a tough watch. It has rekindled my determination to help rid Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam of the millions of unexploded bombs (UXO) that lie in wait; hidden in soils and rice paddies. It’s amazing that after all these years, they still accidentally detonate killing or maiming village children (mostly boys) and farmers.

Aqua Survey is pleased to announce the availability of a new UXO detection system called the EM61-LX2. It is the end product of seven years of collaborative research and development (Geonics/MMG/Aqua Survey). I have personally traveled to Laos 18 times to work on this project.

Why does the LX2 work so well?

It can detect a BLU-26 sub-munition cluster bomb (colloquially called a bombie in Lao) 75 cm below the sensor.

It filters out the background noise caused by the region’s magnetic soils allowing the UXO to be detected.

It is lightweight and reasonably priced.

It is simple to use.

-Ken Hayes, Aqua Survey Founder/President

Linked is a short video narrated by Garrett, depicting the perseverance of Pongsavath, a young man who had a cluster bomb detonate in his hands 8 years ago.

Pong and many other disabled, are the reason Aqua Survey has worked so hard to provide the villagers of Southeast Asia the LX2.

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Strange Reactions Throughout History and the Animal Kingdom

Aug 21, 2017

From the wrath of God to an abbreviated workday, humans have attributed some unusual meanings to eclipses over the years.  Other members of the animal kingdom aren’t too far behind when it comes to strange reactions.

With today’s eclipse just a few hours away, we thought it’d be fun to take a look at a few of the unusual situations eclipses have created for both humans and animals.

Hysteria and The Sublime

Since perhaps our beginnings, eclipses have had an impact on the human psyche.  Eclipses have inspired everything from awe and bewilderment to fear and confusion to even human sacrifice.  As our understandings of eclipses changed throughout the ages so to have our reactions to them.

Records suggest that ancient Babylonians and Chinese were able to predict eclipses as early as 2500 B.C.  However the knowledge of how to predict an eclipse, or what one even was, was not understood by the common person throughout much of history.

Bed Time

When a solar eclipse hit London shortly after sunrise on May 14, 1283 A.D., it caused a great deal of confusion.

12th Century historian Roger of Wendover wrote, “…an unusual eclipse of the Sun took place very early in the morning, immediately after sunrise and it became so dark that the labourers [sic], who had begun their morning’s work, were obliged to leave it, and again returned to their beds to sleep; but in about an hour’s time, to the astonishment of many, the Sun regained its unusual brightness.”

In Europe it wasn’t until the invention of the printing press in the mid-1400’s that information on eclipses became widely disseminated.

Knowledge and Power

At times individuals who understood eclipses have used that knowledge against those who didn’t.

On June 25, 1503, Christopher Columbus beached his fleet on the north coast of Jamaica.  Columbus and his men would spend the next six month forcing the local Arawak Indians to trade their food for trinkets such as tin whistles.  Growing tired of this arrangement (and the occasional murder perpetrated by Columbus’s men), the Arawaks said no more.

Armed with detailed astronomical tables, a reference which had become crucial for seafarers, Columbus knew they would soon witness a lunar eclipse.  Columbus met with the Arawak chief and told him that his Christian god was greatly displeased with the Arawaks’ treatment of his men.  In three day’s time, he told him, the moon would disappear shortly after sunset as a sign of the coming wrath that God would inflict upon the Arawaks if they did not continue to supply the Spaniards with food.  The Arawaks were terrified upon witnessing the eclipse and conceded to Columbus’s demands.

When the moon began to reappear, he announced that God had pardoned the Arawaks as long as they remained faithful to their promise.  Columbus would spend another four months on the northern coast of Jamaica, exploiting the natives.

Although most of us today have at least a basic understanding of what an eclipse is, it’s perhaps telling that the human mind can still remain fascinated with something that has been reduced to a mathematical equation.

The Animal Kingdom

Humans aren’t the only ones who have exhibited strange behavior during eclipses.  During solar eclipses, birds have been known to drop from the sky.  Bats and mosquitos come out.  Dairy cows have been observed returning to their barn for the night.

In Mexico, researchers observed orb-weaving spiders during a solar eclipse.  Exhibiting normal behavior until the eclipse reached totality, they suddenly took down their webs, only to start rebuilding them a few moments later when the sun started reappearing.

Perhaps one of the most touching stories comes from how a captive group of one of our closest relatives, the chimpanzee, reacted to a solar eclipse.

As the sun began to darken during an annular eclipse (a solar eclipse in which the moon appears smaller than the sun creating a ring of fire effect), females, some carrying babies, were observed moving to the top of a climbing structure.  As the eclipse progressed more and more chimps congregated on the top of the structure, orienting their bodies toward the sun and moon.  The group had never been observed exhibiting similar behavior during normal sunsets.

While gazing at the sight, a juvenile stood upright and gestured at the sun and moon.

A Moment to Reflect

Although our scientific knowledge has detached us from the animal kingdom in certain ways, it seems plausible that we continue to be affected by the world we inhabit in manners we don’t clearly understand.  And, in some cases, it appears that we are not the only ones who possess a sense of wonder of it.

Whether or not you find yourself somewhere where you can witness today’s special event, we hope you have a moment to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the universe around us.  Despite what we know (or don’t know) about it, it continues to captivate the human spirit.

Wishing you the best,

Aqua Survey

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CASE STUDY: 2,825 Sediment Cores in 3 Weeks

Aug 08, 2017

Time was running out for the State of New Jersey.  They needed it done and done right.

Client Needs: As a result of Super Storm Sandy, New Jersey’s channels experienced massive sedimentation. The question was, how much was directly attributable to the superstorm and what was the result of normal buildup processes? FEMA would provide the state with 75% matching funds for the dredging of any Sandy-related buildup. The State needed close to 3,000 sediment vibracore samples to be taken at sites up and down the New Jersey coast in order to properly characterize sediment profiles and get the Federal funds. And they needed them fast. The deadline for submitting these results to FEMA was October 31st. Aqua Survey wasn’t contacted until early October. Other teams had been tasked with the core collection earlier in the year, but had only managed to collect a few hundred samples. The clock was running out.

Solution: Aqua Survey mobilized ten vessel-based, vibracoring teams. All crews were OSHA trained with each captain holding a United States Coast Guard operator’s license. We deployed our fleet of coring vessels in locations ranging from lower Raritan Bay all the way down to Cape May and much of the NJ coast in between.

Aqua Survey coordinated our daily efforts with State geologists that needed to dissect each core, looking for an “out of place” strata of “fresh” plant life. Below the plant strata was considered pre-Sandy existing sediment buildup (not FEMA’s concern). Anything above the churned-in plant strata was judged to be Sandy-deposited sediments needing to be removed. In three weeks, Aqua Survey collected 2,825 sediment cores for the State of New Jersey. Data was submitted to FEMA before the October 31st deadline, allowing the state collect 75% matching funds.

Obstructions: Sediment wasn’t the only thing being moved around during Sandy. Cars, boats, even sections of buildings ended up in waterways, presenting serious navigational hazards. We were tasked to locate these strike hazards. Fifty-six areas required detailed assessment.

Deploying Aqua Survey’s side scan sonar towfish, our survey vessels created digital images of the bottom’s relief on each of 56 different areas. Sonar data was processed and our geophysicists provided the State with precise GPS positioning of each obstruction as well as high-resolution imagery.

Do you have sediment sampling or survey needs?

Contact us today: 908-788-8700

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