Training Available (Problem Soils in Your Backyard)

Problem Soils in Your Backyard and How to Spot Them
From Classifications to Descriptions to Wastewater Implications

Kent Watson
Thompson Rivers University

From the literature and conversations with professionals the understanding of soil is the critical component in onsite wastewater management. The trend appears to be that many believe knowing less rather than more about soils is sufficient for their work. This workshop presents the opposite view. An Engineer or designer planning onsite systems should want to know as much as possible about soils and the relationships between the classification of soils, soil forming factors, soil development processes, the description of soils in the field and their interconnected relationships and their implications in wastewater management. Knowing what you don’t know is the corner stone to avoiding costly problems and/or legal setbacks.

How soils develop, factors of soil formation and processes are introduced to set the stage for soil classification. A brief overview of the World Reference Base, US Soil Taxonomy and the Canadian System of Soil Classification will be presented. The ten Canadian soil orders will be covered with specific attention to limiting horizons and their relationship to waste water management. Classifications systems developed as soils were described in the field. “When mapping soils, we can record individual properties at each observation point. We soon discover, however, that sets of properties co-vary, and that we can recognize classes of soils.” ( From soil descriptions elements such as horizon designations, depths, textures, structure, colours, consistence, to name a few, is collected. Some of these variables are critical in planning onsite systems. These variables will be described in detail and where possible related back to orders, formation and processes. Participant exercises will be included to enhance the presented concepts and assist in determining loading rates using the effluent loading rate tables.

Water movement in soils is a critical factor in system design. Some jurisdictions use percolation tests and texture alone in an attempt to determine a hydraulic loading rate. Others use percolation tests, texture, structure and consistence. Other jurisdictions do not use percolation or permeameter testing at all since from literature reviews it is the least accurate variable in the equation regarding loading rates. The research gathered regarding the pro and cons of percolation and permeameter testing will be presented. It is then anticipated that an open discussion will take place in the afternoon portion of the workshop.

At the end of the workshop it is anticipated that one will see that a more in depth understanding of soil, rather than less, will prompt one to learn more, specifically to understand the big picture in their own area regarding the soils they work with daily.

The more one knows the easier the task of describing soils becomes and the more confidence one would have in their work. Knowledge is power: limit your liability.

Numerous training web resources will be provided that cover many of presented topics and ideas. The PowerPoint presentation notes will also be provided in colour for participant’s future reference. Reference to Watson, 2007, Soils Illustrated – Field Descriptions manual will be incorporated within the workshop presentation.

Where: Edmonton, AB
When: February 24, 2013

Registration Fee:
Convention Delegates – $100.00 + applicable tax
Non-Delegates – $250.00 + applicable tax

Please note that this training is being offered in conjunction with our Convention & Trade Show.  You can register for this training at a reduced rate if you are a convention delegate.  For more information, and to register as a convention delegate,  please click here.

Please click here if you wish to register for this training and you will not be attending the convention.

For more information you can contact our office (877.489.7471).