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What Lies Beneath? Subsurface Investigations and Recommendations

It’s amazing what you can find when you start digging in the dirt. On the surface of parking lots and greenspaces, there’s usually little evidence to suggest that anything is amiss. But hidden deep within the subsurface you’ll often find residual contamination from buried structures, storage tanks, or previous site activities. Finding this out during construction or redevelopment can quickly lead to costly delays, worker safety concerns, as well as additional management and disposal fees that were not included in the initial budget. Similar to geotechnical investigations, it’s important to conduct appropriate environmental due diligence activities prior to construction. Due diligence can be invaluable in identifying potential site concerns early on and allows changes to be made accordingly during the design stage.

Due Diligence Investigations

Due diligence can include reviewing historical records for a property by conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. This review evaluates the potential for residual contamination or buried structures to be present in the subsurface. In addition to affecting proposed development or future site use, these issues could also present a chemical or physical hazard to workers during construction. In many cases, there is a benefit in collecting environmental samples to confirm residual contamination levels or utilizing tools like ground-penetrating radar to identify the extent of buried structures.

Due Diligence Recommendations

If environmental concerns are verified, environmental consultants can provide guidance and recommend options to address these concerns during project design and satisfy environmental compliance. Planning assistance can include coordination with regulatory agencies to get buy-in on the proposed reuse plans, identifying and getting approval for disposal or recycling facilities to receive impacted soil or debris, and assembling bid documents to confirm contractors have the necessary information to accurately bid the work. During construction, onsite technical support can assist in economically segregating materials for either onsite reuse or proper off-site disposal; confirm that construction activities are conducted in a manner that protects the owner, workers, and adjacent public; prepare summaries of construction activities for submittal to regulatory authorities and maintain compliance with environmental regulations.

Whether it is identifying and addressing these concerns from the initial due diligence investigation or through confirmation and design recommendations, the environmental consultants at Braun Intertec work seamlessly alongside our geotechnical, nondestructive examination, and construction materials testing services team. These onsite technical experts can oversee recommended solutions and provide cohesive support in meeting your project needs. For more information, please contact Joshua Kadrmas.

Learn more on this topic by watching our on-demand webinar titled What Lies Beneath: Environmental Concerns in Construction.

Joshua Kadrmas Project Engineer, PE

P: 701.730.2302