Oil wells in L.A. and Residential Health Problems

Source: Oil wells in L.A.: Nearby residents grapple with health problems Magali Sanchez-Hall, a Wilmington resident for over two decades, has struggled with asthma her entire life. She says the health issue stems from her proximity to oil and gas drilling. Emma Newburger | CNBC LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — Stepping out of a coffee shop near Interstate 110 in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, you’re immediately hit by a foul odor. Magali Sanchez-Hall, 51, who’s lived here for more than two decades, is used to the smell of rotting eggs wafting from the hundreds of oil wells operating in the neighborhood. She’s used to her neighbors describing chronic coughs, skin rashes and cancer diagnoses, and to the asthma that affects her own family, who live only 1,500 feet from a refinery. “When people are getting sick with cancer or having asthma, they might think it’s normal or blame genetics,” she said. “We don’t often look at the environment we’re in and think — the chemicals we’re breathing are the cause.” Wilmington, a predominantly working-class and Latino immigrant community of more than 50,000 people, has some of the highest rates of asthma and cancer in the state, according to a report by the non-profit Communities for a Better Environment. It’s surrounded by six oil refineries and wedged in by several freeways and the ports of L.A. and Long Beach. California, the seventh-largest oil-producing state in the U.S., has no rule or standard for the distance that active oil wells need to be from communities. For many Californians, especially Black and brown residents, acrid smells, noise and dirt from oil production is part of the neighborhood. Walking around Wilmington, pumpjacks are visible in public parks, next to schoolyards where children play and outside of people’s windows at home. At night, the sky is lit [...]

How the Concrete Vibrator Changed Concrete Mix Design

Source: How the Concrete Vibrator Changed Concrete Mix Design | For Construction Pros Over the last 60 years, concrete vibrators have evolved into a necessary machine for concrete jobs. Industry studies have highlighted separation issues, vibration energy, surface defects, and mix incompatibilities—leading to the development of a more predictive concrete placement experience. Concrete vibration dates to the late 1960s when Thomas Reading, an engineer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, set vibration placement recommendations through vibration tests. At the time, the normal slump of structural concrete was three to four inches, had a “peanut butter” like consistency, and placed in forms by a concrete bucket. Reading used a larger horsepower motor to maintain a maximum vibrator speed that ran the vibrator heads for the current consistency of mixes. Reading concluded that the vibrator frequency should never exceed 10,000 vibrations per minute (vpm) due to his observation of concrete material separation. At that time, the American Concrete Institute (ACI) 309 Consolidation Guidance Specification reflected Reading’s research and limited the vibrator frequency to that maximum frequency. Surface voids were mistaken for entrapped air. Through today’s research, we’ve come to understand that surface blemishes come from vibration-frequency-forced bleed water. Ten years later, mix designs were being transformed by a chemical additive called a water-reducing agent (WRA) to allow for a more workable concrete mix for the future of economical concrete placements by pumping instead of concrete buckets. By the end of the next several decades, the volume of pumped commercial concrete reached 80%. The increased use and type of WRAs (plasticizers) allows for more possibilities of bleeding. With the increased bleeding in pumpable mixes, present concrete mix designs started to take on a "soup-like" consistency. While the vibrator design remained the same, manufacturers began to increase the amount of vibrator frequency. As [...]

Breakwaters aim to halt ongoing erosion at coastal refuge

Source: Breakwaters aim to halt ongoing erosion at coastal refuge | ASCE Although the new breakwaters were primarily intended to stop erosion, sediment is already building up behind the barriers as a side benefit. (Courtesy of CPRA) A series of breakwaters to protect a coastal wildlife refuge in southwestern Louisiana incorporated an innovative, lightweight design. Despite extremely poor soils and ongoing erosion that kept changing the shoreline throughout the project, the breakwaters are already showing dramatic results. The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Louisiana, which borders the Gulf of Mexico for 26.5 mi, is disappearing at an increasingly rapid rate. The Gulf of Mexico has shores on Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. When it was created in 1920, the refuge originally encompassed 86,000 acres of biologically diverse coastal wetlands in Cameron and Vermillion Parishes. But over time, ongoing coastal erosion has reduced the refuge to 71,000 acres. Twenty years or so ago, a key 9.2 mi stretch of the refuge was losing about 50 ft of land per year, notes Phillip “Scooter” Trosclair III, a biologist program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which manages the refuge. The rate of loss in that region increased to around 70 ft a year, then 100 ft, and then by 2016 surveys indicated that more than 300 ft of land had disappeared in a single year, Trosclair says. People worried that “if we keep getting hit with this pattern, we’re not going to have any land left,” Trosclair recalls. But even as the refuge seemed in greater danger, a solution was already in the works. When erosion losses started to accelerate around 2000, the Rockefeller Refuge Gulf Shoreline Stabilization Project was taking shape. Implemented by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the National Marine Fisheries Service [...]

Soil Nail Walls Design and Construction

Source: Soil Nail Walls - Design and Construction -NEW (7003IW2022) INSTRUCTOR:  Naresh Samtani, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE Participants will have access to the virtual workshop video archives and materials for 60 days from the start day of the workshop. Virtual Workshop Brief Using a collaborative and interactive learning approach, this virtual workshop will help you understand the design and construction aspects for soil nail walls. You will learn newer design approaches based on the LRFD platform that is the basis for guidelines for soil nail walls by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The workshop will help you assimilate the design and construction aspects through active participation by frequent interactions throughout the workshop and real-time expert feedback. The interactions will facilitate a better understanding of the nuances of the newer design principles which would help you avoid costly design errors in real-world projects. In between the two live sessions, attendees will independently work on an application (e.g., exercises) or a reflection (e.g., reading) assignment. Learning Outcomes Upon completion of this course, you will be able to: Explain the terminology for soil nail walls Explain design of soil nail walls using principles of limit state design Explain the essential elements of construction Recognize construction procedures and influence on wall design and performance Explain the importance and concepts of nail testing Identify necessary characteristics of software tools Explain corrosion considerations Discuss facing (shotcrete) analysis Identify the necessary information on plans and specifications Benefits for Participants Become familiar with the latest limit state design approaches and standards for soil nail walls Avoid common pitfalls and costly errors in analysis and design Be able to categorize and streamline limit state evaluation Recognize the importance of considering construction as part of overall design process Assessment of [...]

UD researchers study climate change impacts on soils at military installations

Source: The Ground Underfoot - Civil and Environmental Engineering UD researchers study climate change impacts on soils at military installations We walk over it, drive over it and build on it. Yet, it is probably safe to say, most of us rarely think about the ground beneath our feet. Underneath the grass, concrete, asphalt and other materials in our built environment, however, soil provides structure and stability for what lies above. The United States military wants to understand the role that climate impacts, such as flooding, storm surge or sea level rise, will have on soils at its coastal military bases and facilities, which are critical to national security. Soil conditions can affect the integrity of the ground underpinning buildings, roads, bridges and more. For example, if a soil’s pH were to rise significantly, due to increased salt content-containing ions such as sodium from storm surge, it could create saline conditions that could hamper the ground’s ability to support this necessary infrastructure. Understanding these threats will enable faster and more accurate routing and maneuverability for U.S. forces. The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) is collaborating with the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Louisiana State University to understand how vulnerable military installations along coasts may be affected by soil changes due to sea level rise and coastal flooding. DENIN has received $3.79 million in first- and second-year funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to start this work, and is eligible for an additional $3.82 million in continued funding over the following two years. Led by DENIN Director Don Sparks, Unidel S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry in UD’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, the UD effort includes interdisciplinary collaboration with Yan Jin, Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor [...]

Parameters Variation Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses

Source: Parameters Variation: Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses Parameters Variation Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses A well-known engineering challenge in the framework of finite element (FE) analysis-based design is the large number of input factors involved in geotechnical computational models. There is always a significant amount of uncertainties associated with the properties of geomaterials, being naturally highly heterogeneous materials. In the context of model calibration and validation, conducting a sensitivity analysis is very important. This can determine the key factors which govern the system and efficiently characterize the geotechnical variability for any considered design problem.   Powerful mechanisms for the consideration of parameter variation are also very interesting for speeding up FE model creation and automating results in post-processing. These are also quite useful in reducing model definition for specific types of engineering problems (excavation wall of a specific type under simple ground conditions, simple tunnel shape in uniform rock mass, etc.) to a limited number of parameters that can be inputted in a text file or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet without expert knowledge of the PLAXIS user interface and different modeling techniques and FE know-how. The sensitivity analysis and parameter variation tool in PLAXIS A sensitivity analysis determines how different values of an independent variable affect a particular dependent variable under a given set of assumptions. In other words, sensitivity analyses study how various sources of uncertainty in a mathematical model contribute to the model's overall uncertainty. The Sensitivity Analysis and Parameter Variation tool (see Figure 1) can be used to evaluate the influence of model parameters on calculation results for any particular PLAXIS FE model: The Select Parameters tab sheet will first provide information about all the parameters that can be changed to perform the sensitivity analysis. Available parameters include most model parameters of the data sets for soil and [...]

A Climate Change-Induced Disaster in Denali National Park

Source: A Climate Change-Induced Disaster in Denali National Park | Time The Times has recently showcased an article on the current rockslide situation in Denali National Park. The effects of climate change have been dramatic with the current melting of the permafrost. The National Parks Service has recently upped through gravel removal of the Pretty Rocks Landslide in an effort to keep up as the rapidly thawing permafrost picks up pace. Alaska is right now recognized as the country’s fastest-warming state. The landslide hit unprecedented speed 4 weeks ago causing the team to close the back half of the park weeks earlier than anticipated. This only signals bad news as reservations are canceled in the short term and the long term implications are yet unknown. “This is the canary in the coal mine for infrastructure disruption in Alaska,” says the Camp Denali lodge owner Simon Hamm. “If things continue on the path they’re on, it’s not going to just be Pretty Rock—it’s going to be half of the Alaskan highway system.” Rapid deterioration Denali National Park is one of the U.S.’s largest national parks at 6 million acres, and sits about four hours north of Anchorage. While the entrance to the park is certainly beautiful, many people prefer to hop on buses to access the park’s marquee attractions deep down its single 92-mile road: views of Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), the highest peak in North America at 20,000 feet; the gleaming Wonder Lake; rolling mountainsides that contain an abundance of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, caribou and bighorn sheep. About halfway along the road lies the Pretty Rocks Landslide, a slowly sliding section of earth that acts more like a glacier than a rockfall. Since the 1960s, permafrost deep below the earth’s surface has thawed, causing the soil and [...]

Geotechnical Instrumentation and Monitoring Consumption Market Size to Witness Huge Growth by 2027 | By Top Leading Vendors – Keller, Fugro, Nova Metrix, Geokon, Geocomp, Sisgeo, Cowi – The Daily Chronicle

Source: Geotechnical Instrumentation and Monitoring Consumption Market Size to Witness Huge Growth by 2027 | By Top Leading Vendors – Keller, Fugro, Nova Metrix, Geokon, Geocomp, Sisgeo, Cowi – The Daily Chronicle

Screening for Soil Contamination Levels with CPT

Expanding from geotechnical Cone Penetration Test (CPT) into other services is a great way to grow your business. Evaluating subsurface soil contamination provides many business opportunities and a way to differentiate yourself from other CPT service providers – allowing you to protect your business, while expanding into new regions and adding clients. In many instances, the existence of environmental contaminations in an area is known, but the question that needs to be answered is, “where is it”? In other posts, we explain how CPT works, and how it can be used to characterize the strata underground hundreds of feet deep, depending upon the actual subsurface conditions, the equipment being used etc., In addition to identifying soil types by layer and depth, geo-technical CPT testing also helps to establish groundwater levels and potential migration pathways. This makes it useful for identifying where contamination may migrate or be confined. Establishing a depth profile of the contamination underground and how the ‘plume’ is located and migrated, or where it is likely to expand in the future is vital to establishing a cleanup or remediation plan. Once contamination has been shown to be likely, our discrete soil and ground water sampling equipment delivers physical samples for confirmation. Once CPT became well-established and proven as a geo-technical evaluation tool, it was natural to try and see what other types of testing could be accomplished using the same tools. In addition to mapping groundwater conditions with in-situ pore pressure transducers, CPT tools that sense the direct presence of various types of hydrocarbons and other volatile organic compounds at depth are now available. A variety of cone sensors can be used to test for specific types of contamination. Multiple CPT equipment modules can be configured with multiple sensors, including soil moisture resistivity, video, radiation and sensing for [...]

Hollow Stem Augers Don’t Provide the Accuracy that CPT has to Offer

Geo-technical Boring is less accurate, less efficient and more expensive than Cone Penetration Testing (CPT), here's why. When it comes to selecting a method for subsurface investigation and testing you are presented with different options. From the Standard Penetration Test (SPT), which is a type of Geo-technical Soil Boring to Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) there are many options to consider, and each provides certain advantages over the other. Today we’re going to compare Geo-technical Boring to CPT. Geo-technical boring is a method of drilling which is performed for site investigation. This drilling technique is most commonly used to obtain information on the physical properties of soil and rock under a foundation. This information helps to determine the depth of the foundation, ensure the site is safe and determines if structural compensations will be needed. This also ensures that the foundation, caissons and various supports are built in the right place. Hollow Stem Augers One type of geo-technical boring using a hollow stem auger is the Standard Penetration Test. Like it's name suggests, a hollow stem auger is a drilling tool that enables you to capture soil samples in the hollow portion of the drill for retrieving to the surface. One advantage of this approach is that you have actual soil samples you are working with. In the case of identifying the presence, location and depth of specific types of contaminants, this can be useful. Cone Penetration Testing Though geo-technical boring seems like a sufficient option for site subsurface investigation, geo-technical boring doesn’t provide the accuracy and efficiency that Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) can offer. Geo-technical Boring has the advantage that it uses many of the skills of conventional well drilling. Because the Boring operations and technical analysis, such as laboratory tests, are separate, Geo-technical Boring can require less skilled operators [...]

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