Geotechnical / Civil Services

ARM engineers and geologists have considerable experience addressing the geotechnical aspects of shale development. Permitting and design phase services include evaluation of subsurface conditions beneath proposed well pads and impoundments; evaluation of sites with regard to the presence of coal and past mining history; and documenting pavement conditions before and after site development.

Coal/Non-coal Determinations

Performed at sites within areas of known coal deposits in order to evaluate the presence or absence of mineable coal. The presence or absence of mineable coal impacts the minimum required well spacing; therefore the determinations are performed as part of the permitting process. Determination work entails researching available data bases and mapping related to surface and deep mining, in concert with observation of site conditions and discussion with land owners and local residents familiar with past mining activity.

 Exploratory Drilling

At sites underlain by surface deposits of mine-related spoil or by deep mining, drilling is performed to better evaluate these conditions and the potential impacts on proposed site development. Surface deposits of mine spoil are usually not problematic. Underlying room and pillar mine workings, if located at relatively shallow depth, sometimes need remedial treatment to minimize the potential for long-term ground subsidence over mine voids. At sites not impacted by past mining, subsurface investigations consist of less extensive drilling to evaluate the character and condition of the native materials and the occurrence of shallow/perched groundwater.

 Material Evaluations

Subsurface explorations at relatively deep excavations such as impoundments includes evaluation of the materials that will be excavated during construction to determine their suitability for constructing impoundment embankments and for fill use elsewhere across the site. Drilling or testing is also performed to evaluate whether or not the excavation of bedrock will be required.

Pavement Condition Surveys

Increasingly, local governments are requiring pavement condition surveys in response to increased road usage by equipment associated with Marcellus development. Surveys of proposed haul routes are performed before and after changes in traffic patterns; these surveys provide baselines that can be used to evaluate the extent of pavement wear associated with equipment travel. Many municipalities use the pavement surveys as the basis for establishing the cost of pavement rehabilitation to be borne by the site developer.