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Title: Managing the Complexities and Uncertainties of Soil Sequences:
For Hydrogeological and Environmental Investigations - Part 1, Principles
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 (8am to 12:30pm)
Location: West Chester University Graduate Center, West Chester, PA

Instructors: • Martin Helmke, PG, PhD, Hydrogeologist, Professor, and Department Chair,
  West Chester University

• Tim Kemmis, PG, PhD, Hydrogeologist with Midwest GeoSciences Group

Partner with us: Be affiliated with an amazing course experience. More here

Send your entire staff Send your entire staff for one low price. Call for pricing: 763.607.0092
(Imagine how your projects would immediately benefit!!)
Continuing Education Information: 0.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
(4.0 Professional Development Hours)

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and a Course Completion Certificate will be administered by West Chester University.

PA PG (240 minutes, pre-approval not needed)
NJ LSRP pending
MA LSP pending
DE PG approved per course number
CT LEP pending
NH PG pre-approval not needed
NC PG approved
IA CGWP approved
Who should attend: Everyone who performs subsurface work.

Especially professional ground-water scientists, engineers, project managers, compliance-program managers and remedial-design managers characterize complex soil sequences, relate geotechnical properties to the site-specific soils, understand groundwater flow through the sequences, and install dependable groundwater monitoring systems.
How to Prepare: Be prepared to immediately dive into self-tests that are designed to help empower you unravel subsurface complexities like no other course.

We start at the beginning and boldly address the challenges we all face in our profession...and then move into principles and strategies for managing subsurface uncertainties for ground water and geotechnical projects.
Course Details

Why You Want to Attend:

This four-hour short course is an "Executive Summary" of the two-day course dedicated to the same subject: Principles.

These geologic principles are not generally taught in school but are demanded for our professional work.

You will learn the essential steps to "read the story the sediments are telling" and discern subsurface relationships from boring-to-boring...while building (or revising) the Conceptual Site Model.

Applying Basic Geologic Principles to Solve Complex Issues

A proven field strategy for managing complex sequences of soil, sediments and saprolite begins with applying basic geologic principles. Field staff are often busy with field screening or collecting environmental samples and/or sometimes just not equipped or experienced to recognize key indicators for meaningful subsurface characterization.

This workshop features a comprehensive review of applied geologic principles about saprolite formation, physical decomposition, and chemical disintegration. Portions also include a generalized segment about various depositional environments and how they are applied to ground water monitoring and contaminant transport.

Deciphering Subsurface Heterogeneities and Uniformities

Despite the validity about the challenges of aquifer heterogeneity and finding a meaningful solution through geologic principles, sedimentary sequences require additional attention to scale of depositional processes, stratigraphic unit definition, and post-depositional weathering effects.

For sedimentary sequences, aquitards play a major role in the ground water flow regime; but the secondary permeabilities originating from oxidation and weathering complicate ground water movement and can impact the hydraulic integrity of aquitards.

PLUS, MANY FIELD STAFF ARE SIMPLY NOT TRAINED on identifying depositional environments or deciphering subsurface relationships from boring to boring. Boring log quality reflects staff skills about defining geologic units, unit correlation, geologic context leading to unit variability or uniformity, and environmental sequence stratigraphy.

IF THAT'S NOT DAUNTING ENOUGH, multiple sequences from fluvial and lacustrine depositional environments often lead to subsurface uncertainty at project completion.

Our industry faces challenges with complex geologic conditions, staff training, standards and procedures, and business elements such as budgets, schedules, tools, technologies, and project management philosophies.

Each of these challenges impact how we approach the subsurface for environmental work. However the principles of subsurface relationships do not change.

Take the Time to Sharpen Your Skills

This affordable course will reinforce the main principles starting with creating meaningful boring log descriptions and translating that into Conceptual Site Models.

When we struggle with deciphering simple subsurface conditions, then complex ones seem impossible. This abbreviated course presents helpful techniques that will take the mystery out of the subsurface. For the short duration you spend in this course, you will reap the technical and financial benefits for the remainder of your career.

An Abbreviated Course Version

This course is offered as a prelude to Part 2, Field Techniques. With the newly added exercises, even those who attended last year will benefit from the new course content.

Get more from your existing borings
instead of always wanting more.



Limited seating.

Advanced registration is necessary for participation in this limited-enrollment short course. Pre-registration is required to reserve space and receive course materials. If you require special arrangements for diet, equipment, or handicap facilities, please indicate when registering for the course.

Register online for this course.

Participants receive 4.0 contact hours of instruction, Printed course summary, a FIELD GUIDE FOR SOIL AND STRATIGRAPHIC ANALYSIS, course completion certificate from West Chester University for qualifying participants.

This course is uniquely designed with lectures and exercises that create a meaningful learning experience contained within a classroom.


ONLY $249*

* When members register for both Part 1, Principles and Part 2, Field Techniques. (expires August 31, 2019)

Early Registration Fee (non-member): $698.00

Early Registration Fee (member): $449.00

Early Registration Deadline: August 31, 2019

Late Registration Fee: $798.00

Govt and student discounts: Call for pricing

Terms and Conditions


The online registration allows registrants to add items to their course registration.

Item No 1:
Full-Color Printed Notebook for $59.00.

Early registration discounts may be applied when payment is received by August 31, 2019. Terms and Conditions apply.

Cancellations may be made up to September 2, 2019, however, 50 percent of the course fee will be charged or a credit will be issued. No refunds after September 2, 2019.

One substitute is allowed for each registrant who is unable to attend. However substitutions are not allowed between Part One and Part Two courses.

Technical Questions: For registration and technical questions about the course, contact Dan Kelleher at either 763.607.0092 or dan@midwestgeo.com


Martin Helmke is an accomplished hydrogeologist with over 20 years experience as an educator and environmental consultant. Before joining West Chester University, he taught at Dickinson College, Iowa State University, Antioch College, and Directed the Geology Field Camp for Iowa State University and University of Nebraska in Shell, Wyoming. He has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey (Reston, Virginia), Versar (Springfield, Virginia), HydroLog (Yellow Springs, Ohio), Boyden Caverns (Kings Canyon, California) and Aquadrill (Coralville, Iowa).

Martin is also a licensed hydrogeologist specializing in groundwater contaminant transport, fate, and remediation. He has twenty-two years experience as a project manager, environmental consultant, professor, and researcher. Professional experience includes:

Martin contributes to the community in several ways, but especially through employing service-learning in most of his upper-level courses by encouraging his students to apply their geologic skills to assist the community with real-world, geologic issues and projects (Way to go, Martin!). He also serves the community alongside his students as a member of the Chester County Hazardous Materials Team, the Pennsylvania Company 2 Natural-Disaster Response Team, the Fame Fire Company, and the WCU QRS Medical Service.

Oh yes, Martin is also the President-Elect of the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists. [ Midwest GeoSciences Group is proud to have Martin's leadership for this special collaborative course with PCPG! ]

Tim Kemmis is recognized for his multidisciplinary work in geology, pedology, and geotechnical engineering. Working as a research geologist at the Iowa and Illinois State Geological Surveys, he has conducted extensive research in glacial and fluvial sedimentology, geomorphology, stratigraphy, fractured tills, soil science, and sand-and-gravel aggregate resources. In the environmental industry he has worked for over 20 years as lead hydrogeologist and project manager. For the Midwest GeoSciences Group, Tim has conducted workshops and webinars on use and misuse of the Unified Soil Classification System, how to create boring logs that take the mystery out of the subsurface, and how to unravel complex glacial successions for environmental and engineering projects.

Tim's unique perspective between research and consulting enables Tim to recognize efficiencies in every aspect of work. He teaches consultant's not only how to create accurate and complete boring logs, but Tim helps consultants read the story that the sediments are telling.


Feedback from the Soils Workshop, "PART ONE, PRINCIPLES"
[ Feedback Forms are anonymous ]

  • This course was great - I wish I had it at the beginning of my career.

  • Good course, it exceeded my expectations. I was happy to see practical examples in contaminant transport, far beyond just soil classification.

  • Very qualified instructors who were also engaging speakers.

  • Instructors were very knowledgeable, and I could relate very well to their discussions.

  • High quality course with relevant content.

  • All of it was excellent.

  • The entire course was excellent.

  • Excellent instructors with helpful case studies.

  • Great course!

  • The overview of field analysis and geotechnical methods was excellent and most relevant to my work.

  • I really enjoyed this course and learned a lot. It also refreshed a lot of ideas.

  • This course should be the standard for all geologic logging and managing subsurface uncertainty.

Venue and Accommodations


West Chester University Graduate Center
1160 McDermott Drive
West Chester, PA 19380

Map and Directions to Classroom

click on map for details


Holiday Inn Express
120 N. Pottstown Pike
Exton, PA 19341
Phone: 610-561-9762

Rates forthcoming

Map and Directions from Hotel to Classroom

click on map for details

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