We often think of the foundation of a building as being absolutely solid. While this is the ultimate goal, it is not often true. Buildings can sometimes be faced with a phenomenon known as vapor intrusion. Contaminated groundwater or soil can emit dangerous gasses that find their way up and into structures.
Anyone who has lived in southern California long enough knows that this is fault country, and if you are a property owner you have an obligation to yourself to safeguard your property against damage from earthquakes. Earthquake prediction science is as yet not developed enough to know when one will strike.
Septic systems have a long history. For developers in the early days, it was cheaper and faster to install septic systems than to install public sewers. Starting in the late 1940s and into the 1960s, the widespread use of septic systems for sewage disposal, with little to no governmental regulation, contributed significant pollution and environmental problems to groundwater, slope instability, and degradation of soils.
What do you do when you need to be at three places at the same time? An experienced geologist or engineer in southern California will be challenged with this all the time. So you set up a Mobile Office! It’s not always pretty, but it should work. Here is a recent example from this week. I was on a job that required two contiguous phases of inspection, so I had to be there all day; but I had reports to write, proposals to send off, and workers to manage.
Wearing suits is cool. But as geologists, we don’t get to wear suits daily. Ours is generally a much more casual dress code, driven mostly by the fact that a practicing geologist will spend at least half of his working hours in the field, climbing in and out of test holes, mapping, hiking, and frolicking around a site. we are typically in contact with mud, dust, water, debris, and of course, earth! So the garb must be comfortable, and not fancy since we often have to get down and dirty.