Environmental Remediation and Geotechnical News
Geo-Solutions - Supporting both Excavations and Students with Slurry
Canada Geo-Solutions was happy to provide the technical talk "Liquid Shoring - Applications of slurry-supported excavation for construction of low permeability vertical barriers (cut-off walls), bulk excavation, drain installation and reactive barrier installation" at an evening meeting of the Vancouver Island Geotechnical Group (the local section of the Canadian Geotechnical Society) on March 17, 2017. The talk was held at the University of Victoria (UVic) in Victoria, British Columbia. UVic is graduating its first Civil Engineering class this year and Professor Cheng Lin took the opportunity to introduce the program. We were very happy to see the student turnout and hope we conveyed some sense of the great potential for specialty construction methods in sustainable development. [As a side note, Dr. Lin is currently accepting Master's and Ph.D. students in the field of geotechnical engineering:
Introducing the Geo-Trencher
Ideally suited for deep and narrow cutoff walls, in lieu of more conventional construction methods like slurry trenching, the Geo-Trencher is essentially a large mixing chain mounted on a tracked chassis. As a result, it can be used to mix soils in place with wet or dry reagents for creating an in-situ mixed-low-permeability cutoff wall or it can be used to excavate and replace in-situ materials with permeable material for building collection trenches or permeable reactive barriers.
Talk to one of our seasoned experts today to determine if the Geo-Trencher can help solve your soil or groundwater problem. If the Geo-Trencher isn't right, we can also discuss other approaches that might work in your unique conditions. Please contact us at
Geo-Solutions: Technical Training for Professional Development
On February 8, 2017, in Edmonton, Alberta, Dan Ruffing, our US Engineering Manager, and Pete Craig, our Western Canada Regional Manager, were happy to support the Environmental Services Association of Alberta (ESAA) by putting on a day-long technical course "Fixing Bad Ground In Situ" at ESAA's Environmental Business 2017 event at the Marriot Cree River.
The course includes over six hours of lecture, videos, hands-on demonstrations, and practical exercises. The full title of the course is "Fixing Bad Ground In Situ: Practical Seepage Control, Site Remediation and Ground Improvement using Slurry-Supported Excavation, Single-Pass Trenching and Soil Mixing". Participants in the Edmonton course came from a range of backgrounds, but all left with a basic understanding of some of the industry's most innovative approaches to solving geotechnical and environmental soil and groundwater problems.
For more information on ESAA, visit their website:
For more information on "Fixing Bad Ground In Situ" download the summary:
Geo-Solutions gets SMART
Evading Canadian winter field work, Canada Geo-Solutions' Regional Manager Pete Craig snuck into the Smart Methods in Advanced Remediation Technologies (SMART) seminar series in Toronto (January 26) and Ottawa (February 16) to present on cutting-edge Permeable/Passive Reactive Barrier (PRB) technologies and related installation methods, including biopolymer slurry trenching, soil mixing and the Geo-Trencher™ single pass continuous trenching machine. Pete's presentation, "Passive (Aggressive) Barriers for Plume Remediation" focused on non-chlorinated compounds, pointing out practical approaches for contaminants as diverse as non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL - free product) and acid mine drainage.
For more information on SMART, visit its website:
For more information on PRBs and their installation - contact us at email@example.com.
Geo-Solutions would like to thank the Pittsburgh Geological Society and the Pittsburgh Chapter of ASCE's Geo-Institute for allowing Dan Ruffing the opportunity to present at their joint dinner meeting held at Foster's Restaurant on January 18, 2017. Dan's presentation was titled "Slurry Supported Excavations for Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Applications". Dan would like to thank the 70+ engineers, geologists, and contractors that were in attendance for not only attending his talk, but also for asking thoughtful questions.
Regional Technical Seminar - Fall 2016
Thanks to everyone who attended Geo-Solutions' 2nd Regional Technical Seminar held in Denver, Colorado on October 27. We had close to 40 attendees from a variety of stakeholder groups including engineering consultants, contractors, academics, and regulators. The seminar titled "Specialty Construction Techniques: Geotechnical and Environmental Remediation Applications" was similar to the presentation given at the Spring seminar held in Pittsburgh with content focused on the application of slurry trenching and soil mixing to solve problems with soil and groundwater, but also included regionally relevant case studies. Geo-Solutions' representatives Steve Artman - Western Regional Manager, Tony Moran, P.E. - Project Director, and Dan Ruffing, P.E. - Engineering Manager presented at the seminar. If you're interested in a seminar in your area or would like a Geo-Solutions' representative to do a brown bag presentation at your firm, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven Day Retires
After more than 4 decades in the geotechnical and environmental construction industry, Steve Day has retired. Steve began his career in 1973 after graduating from South Dakota State University, partnering with his father in their family utility and excavating company, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He continued his studies earning a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Utah, while simultaneously working for Peter Kiewit & Sons. He furthered his education at the University of Texas - Austin, where he studied clay liners under the mentorship of David Daniel, eventually earning a Master's of Science in Civil Engineering with a geotechnical engineering emphasis. In 1984, he began his employment at Geo-Con, in Pittsburgh, PA. In his 13 years with Geo-Con, he advanced from Project Engineer to Senior Vice-President and Technical Director responsible for slurry walls, soil mixing, grouting and research. In 1997, he moved to Inquip Associates as the Vice President of Marketing/Research & Development. In 2000, Steve reunited with Chris Ryan at Geo-Solutions, Inc. where they focused on providing technical assistance for specialty construction projects. Geo-Solutions eventually grew to include 5 partners, including Steve and Chris, over time transitioning from providing primarily technical assistance to full construction services. In 2012, the partners brought in a private equity group to assist with ownership transfer. Steve continued his full-time employment at Geo-Solutions through 2015 and stayed on as a consultant until February, 2016, when he officially retired.
In his long and diverse career, Steve participated in a number of innovative projects, including many "firsts". Some of the "firsts" Steve was involved with in the US include in situ soil mixing with hot air injection, bio-polymer slurry drainage trench installations, attapulgite slurry walls, reactive barriers installed using bio-polymer slurries, and in situ soil mixing with zero valent iron. He was also instrumental in the application of US technologies to international markets, including the first application of the permeable reactive barrier technology, installed using bio-polymer slurry trenching, to contaminated sites in Italy and Australia. He was involved in technical assistance on innovative slurry wall projects in Barbados and Canada.
In addition to his project work, Steve also participated in numerous studies for the implementation of geotechnical solutions on special projects including research funded by the US EPA, US DOE, US DOD, EPRI, and numerous private industry and consulting clients.
At the time of his retirement, Steve was a recognized specialist by a variety of agencies and organizations, including:
- Slurry Trench Specialist by US Army Corp of Engineers, US Bureau of Reclamation, and US Department of Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Soil Mixing Specialist by US Department of Energy
- Permeable Treatment Wall Specialist by US NASA, EnviroMetals Technologies
- American Society of Civil Engineers (member of Geo-Institute, served on Environmental Geotechnics committee)
- American Society for Testing and Materials (served on Hydrologic Properties (standard D-5084) and Hydraulic Barriers subcommittees)
- Association of State Dam Safety Officials
- International Containment Technology (served on workshop committee, co-authored Assessment of Barriers, and lead trainer for Quality Control of Vertical Barriers)
- Technical Information Exchange of DOE (served as technology vendor representative)
Finally, throughout his career, Steve authored and co-authored more than two dozen technical papers and articles beginning with his Master's Thesis "Field Permeability Test for Clay Liners" (1985) by ASTM, Philadelphia, PA, to "Compatibility Evaluation of Groundwater Cutoff Using Salt-Resistant Bentonite and BFS/Cement for Deep Soil Mix Barrier Wall", (2007) Geo-Denver, Denver, CO.
Steve and his wife, Mary, reside in Highlands Ranch, CO and also spend a considerable amount of time at their second home in Princeville, HI.
Geo-Solutions if proud to be an Honorary Member of the World Safety Organization, dedicated to raising standards in all safety fields, inlcuding occupational and environmental safety and accident prevention.
Geo-Solutions takes safety very seriously and is committed to maintaining a safe work environment for all of its workers, site visitors, and the public at large.
Regional Technical Seminar
Thanks to everyone who attended Geo-Solutions' Regional Technical Seminar held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 12. We had close to 50 attendees from a variety of industry firms such as Lafarge, J Carpenter Environmental, Geotechnics and various engineering firms. The seminar titled "Specialty Construction Techniques: Geotechnical and Environmental Remediation Applications" focused on the application of slurry trenching and soil mixing to solve problems with soil and groundwater. Contact us at email@example.com to find out where/when our next seminar will be or to schedule a shorter brown bag presentation at a location of your choosing.
Chris Ryan Retires From Geo-Solutions After 20 Years of Service
After more than four decades in the geotechnical and geo-environmental construction industry, Chris Ryan is heading into retirement. He founded and led Geo-Solutions as well as a predecessor firm, Geo-Con, and was well known for applying new technologies to solve difficult soil and groundwater problems.
Chris was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned three degrees in the Civil Engineering Department, focusing on geotechnical engineering and construction management. His early work was with a Pittsburgh-based contractor called Engineered Construction International (ECI). ECI had two joint ventures with the leading French specialty construction companies, Soletanche and Menard. Through his work with these two ventures, he was introduced to sophisticated technologies applied to geotechnical issues. As a young engineer, he worked on sites around the US and several in Europe as he trained.
In 1979, after 7 years with ECI, Chris left and founded a new specialty construction company called Geo-Con. Geo-Con grew from a one-man operation to a nationwide specialty contractor with operations overseas as well. Chris developed a unique specialty contractor business model, called Technical Assistance. With this model, Geo-Con provided specialty equipment and experienced supervisors to a project, with a local contractor providing the local labor. This business model allowed Geo-Con to expand rapidly and to work in difficult labor markets in the US and also to work on sites as far away as Australia.
Under Chris's leadership, Geo-Con expanded into the environmental remediation market as it started to develop in the early 1980's, using some of the techniques from the geotechnical construction industry applied to the environmental issues like Superfund sites and other contaminated situations. Geo-Con always had a strong technical focus and was responsible for bringing a number of first-time technologies to the construction market, including:
- The use of high-volume grouting techniques to solve mine-subsidence problems.
- The first use of mulit-stem jet grouting equipment in the US.
- The first use of soil mixing with multi-shaft equipment in the US.
- The first use of large-diameter soil-mixing for block stabilization.
- The first use of in situ soil mixing on an environmental remediation project.>
- The first use of biopolymer slurry technology to create a collector drain at a remediation site.
Internationally, Geo-Con was also leading the way, with the first use of a US-style slurry wall containment in both Japan and Australia.
In 1995, Geo-Con was sold and Chris stayed on for a year, leaving in 1996 to found yet another specialty contactor, Geo-Solutions. Geo-Solutions worked in the same markets, but focused on developing relationships with owners earlier in the design process. Many Geo-Solutions projects started with an initial consulting assignment relative to construction feasibility or a laboratory project to develop a specialized mix design for a containment barrier or a soil-mix reagent for a particular site. These up-front assignments led to unusually strong client relationships. Geo-Solutions also relied more heavily on the Technical Assistance business model for expansion into new markets, while at the same time developing a fully capable construction company. Geo-Solutions worked in the entire US market as well as on sites around the world. A Canadian subsidiary was founded to handle its extensive operations throughout Canada.
Geo-Solutions continued with the Geo-Con tradition of innovation and finding new ways to solve soil and groundwater problems, particularly on contaminated sites, including:
- The use of in situ soil mixing combined with chemical reagents to de-toxify sites.
- The development of specialized backfill blends to be used in slurry wall containments around highly toxic sites.
- The use of the biopolymer drain construction technology to install passive reactive barriers.
In 2013, Chris began the process of retiring. He handed over leadership to the team that had supported him for most of the firm's history. Bob Schindler became the new CEO. At about the same time, Geo-Solutions acquired Geo-Con, bringing all of the staff back together again. With the beginning of 2016, Chris completes his retirement, although still remaining available to the company and its clients as needed. Officially retired, he continues to accept occasional assignments as an expert witness in court cases where his experience may be relevant.
Chris was an active member of a number of professional organizations, including:
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
- American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)
- Deep Foundations Institute (DFI)
- Young Presidents Organization
- American Entrepreneurs Institute
- The Moles
He published numerous technical papers and articles, primarily on the topics of containments and in situ mixing. He was selected as the Entrepreneur of the Year in 1988, recognition for his role in the growth of Geo-Con.
Emsworth Dam (Backchannel, Neville Island, PA) - GSI is working with Armstrong Drilling, Amherst Madison, and the USACE to drill and grout existing voids under the dam's concrete apron. 19 holes have been drilled through the concrete and GSI is placing a specialized grout material into the voids beneath. Check out a photograph of the project at facebook.com/Geo-Solutions
Coal Ash Management Solutions
Geo-Solutions (GSI) is at the forefront of geotechnical construction and environmental remediation of projects involving residual wastes such as coal ash impoundments. Depending on project specifications, area limitations, and challenges identified for the project, GSI is able to utilize one of our specialized technologies to aid in project objectives. For more information download our Coal Ash Management Solutions Technical Bulletin.
Click here to download the Coal Ash Technical Bulletin
Geo-Solutions used single auger soil mixing to install a 40' deep cutoff wall on a Superfund site in the Southern US. Check out a photograph of the project at facebook.com/Geo-Solutions
Geo-Solutions has been engaged in numerous jet grouting projects in 2015. Check out a photograph of jet grouting on a project in the Southeast at: plus.google.com/GeoSolutions
ENR Top 200
Geo-Solutions once again made the Engineering News-Record's (ENR) list of Top 200 Environmental Firms. Geo-Solutions ranked #99, up 60 spots from #159 in 2013 and up 76 spots from #175 in 2012. The company first made the list in 2012 and has been named every year since. Geo-Solutions also ranked #27 in the Top 30 All-Environment Firms list for the first year. Congratulations to the whole Geo-Solutions team for achieving this special honor once again!
ENR's Top lists are leading indicators of success in this industry and Geo-Solutions is pleased to have again ranked so well. With all our years of experience in this industry, Geo-Solutions is very well positioned for continued growth and development.
ENR is a well-respected magazine for construction industry professionals that provides key developments, analysis, breaking news, trends and industry commentary. ENR rates the leading U.S. Contractors according to percentage of gross revenue for environmental services. ENR reported that many of the top 200 environmental firms are experiencing growth due to improvements in the real estate market and expanding energy sector projects.