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Geo-Institute Seminar Discusses Geohazard Assessment Methods for the Appalachian Region

02 Nov 2017 10:42 AM | ASCE Blog Editor (Administrator)

By Brian Tittmann, Edited By Greg Rumbaugh

More than 60 ASCE members and guests gathered at Cefalo’s Restaurant on Thursday, October 19th for an ASCE Pittsburgh Section Geo-Institute Chapter meeting. As part of the meeting, Mr. Martin Derby, a senior geohazard practice leader with Golder Associates, presented the lecture “Performing Geohazard Assessments and Pipeline Monitoring Methods.” The presentation focused on assessing geohazards, including unstable slopes, seismic events, subsidence and hydrotechnical (water erosion), which have the potential to adversely impact infrastructure, including pipelines, in the Appalachian region.

Performing geohazard assessments along pipeline corridors assists owners and operators in determining if a natural hazard may impact their assests. Mr. Derby went on to outline a three-phase approach used to identify, characterize and ultimately mitigate/monitor potential geohazards. Phase I begins with a regional-scale desktop assessment to identify, initially characterize and qualitatively classify geohazards.  Phase II involves a non-intrusive ground reconnaissance completed at targeted sites that warrant additional assessment. Finally, Phase III involves subsurface investigations such as drilling, test pitting or geophysical surveys carried out at specific sites of concern. Phase III also involves the collection of sufficient data to plan for and design site specific mitigation and/or monitoring such as in-situ pipeline monitoring (e.g. strain gages), slope monitoring (e.g. inclinometers, tilt meters, etc.), InSAR (satellite and ground based), LiDAR (airborne) and fiber optics. Overall, Mr. Derby’s presentation illustrated how important assessing geohazards can be for a client to determine if a natural hazard may impact their assets. Geo-Institute is grateful to Mr. Martin Derby for sharing his experience and depth of knowledge on this subject as well as to Cefalo’s for their delicious food and great atmosphere.  

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