Geophysical Introductory Course Making Waves at DWM

Thomas B. Brackman, M.S., P.G., delivers the Geophysical Introductory Course to division staff.  Photo by Kim Greenidge.
Thomas B. Brackman, M.S., P.G., delivers the Geophysical Introductory Course to division staff. Photo by Kim Greenidge.

The Kentucky Division of Waste Management’s Superfund Branch, in conjunction with Northern Kentucky University (NKU), held a one-day course providing staff with practical information on the benefits and limitations of geophysical techniques on hazardous waste and underground storage tank (UST) sites. The course covered the application and methods of shallow environmental geophysics. It was designed for those with little to no experience or background in geophysics who could use it in the course of site characterization and remediation.

Subject matter introduced personnel responsible for inspections, site characterization, site investigations, and removal and remedial actions at Superfund and UST sites, to the benefits of geophysical methods for site characterization and waste location.

The course was taught by Thomas B. Brackman, M.S., P.G., director of the Laboratory for Applied Geophysics at NKU. Brackman also teaches upper and graduate level courses in introductory and applied geophysics at NKU.  Brackman has developed and taught numerous geophysical programs designed to foster and build interest in the use of environmental geophysics for high school students, and various private and government sector professionals.

Brackman uses staff to illustrate various movements of seismic waves. Photo by Kim Greenidge.
Brackman uses staff to illustrate various movements of seismic waves. Photo by Kim Greenidge.

The course focused on simple plan design, targets, types of equipment suitable for hazardous waste site characterization and equipment operation for the various methods and characteristic data displays.
The course was designed to be consistent with the protocol and guidance documents of the Environmental Protection Agency.

This course is a road version of a longer and more involved course usually offered in Columbus, Ohio, at a specially constructed field site.

Instructional methods included lectures, group discussions, and an outdoor field exercise that gave the staff a chance for some hands-on use of the more common geophysical instruments.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet graciously granted access to an adjacent property known as the Wilkinson Boulevard Complex. The location offered an opportunity to demonstrate different remote sensing technologies being applied in a field setting. A small cemetery plot was the location for demonstrating ground penetrating radar and a shallow seismic methodology. Another area used on the property is one of several areas undergoing Superfund remedial actions. A groundwater plume contaminated with chlorinated solvents was used for demonstrating imagery produced by measuring resistivity along a transect across the groundwater plume.

Bart Schaffer illustrates real world scenarios. Photo by Kim Greenidge.
Bart Schaffer illustrates real world scenarios. Photo by Kim Greenidge.
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