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Title: Managing the Complexities and Uncertainties of Soil Sequences:
For Hydrogeological and Environmental Investigations - Part 2, Field Techniques
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 (1pm to 5:30pm)
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.

You're invited to bring your field boring logs (but not required). If you use an electronic device for soil logging, you are welcome to bring it. There are two exercises in this course designed to practice observing the sole independent variable.

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.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Everyone benefits when we do our work right the first time.

Interested in free training dollars?

Submit a Technical Skills Inquiry NOW through West Chester University to find out if your company qualifies for an educational training grant for the Midwest GeoSciences Group courses on campus at West Chester University. Only companies in PA are eligible.

Course Details

"I have attended multiple Midwest GeoSciences Group Courses since it's inception. These courses address current issues and present modern techniques for addressing those issues. The instructors are experts in their fields, and their presentations are clear and easy to understand. I give Midwest Geosciences an A+ rating, and look forward to attending future courses!"

- Al Stone, Hydrogeologist

Testimonial from the 2-day course:
Managing the Complexities and Uncertainties of Soil Sequences: For Hydrogeological and Environmental Investigations - Part 2, Field Techniques

"There is no other course like this one. It teaches the steps to unravel complex soil sequences and make sense of subsurface relationships.

Every person who logs a boring, installs a monitoring well, or needs to develop conceptual models for their site investigation reports should take this course. The course content is priceless."

- Paul White, Brickhouse Environmental, Inc.

Why You Want to Attend:

This 4-hour workshop addresses common uncertainties that can arise when hydrogeologic and engineering projects encounter complex soil sequences. This is a classroom workshop, there is no in-field component to this workshop.

Thinking in the Field, Reading the Subsurface Story, and Preparing Meaningful Boring Logs

  • State-of-the-industry boring log descriptions provide useful information, but often are insufficient for providing the critical information project engineers and hydrogeologists need. Field techniques such as recognizing key beds or attributes can help unravel complexities.

  • This workshop presents helpful techniques for quickly and accurately classifying soils and simple enhancements to boring logs that will take the mystery out of the subsurface.

Applying Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy

  • The 2017 USEPA report about Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy states that AQUIFER HETROGENIETY may be largest challenge to our industry and that the solution is applying principles of sequence stratigraphy to provide geologic context.

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

    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 depositional episodes or in contrast, variable depositional environments often lead to subsurface uncertainty at project completion.

    This course is designed to step you through the process of learning how depositional environments and post-depositional weathering impacts ground water movement and contaminant migration. The course will demystify conventional wisdom about building Conceptual Site Models based solely on grain-size and associated matrix-permeabilities.

Making Sound Field Decisions

  • Field conditions are sometimes not what we expect to find. For those moments it helps to have staff who are willing and capable of knowing what questions to ask, when to ask them, and make sound field decisions. This 4-hour course is designed to empower professionals to recognize unanticipated site conditions and manage them in a logical and reliable way.

Managing Uncertainty and Unanticipated Conditions

  • Uncertainties and unanticipated conditions are frequently encountered while investigating complex soil sequences. This workshop includes a session devoted specifically to recognizing and managing these unanticipated conditions and uncertainties, including how to avoid the misuse of some principles and techniques

This is the only course that teaches the principles of how depositional environments and weathering zones play a role in hydrogeologic and environmental investigations.

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


Interested in free training dollars?

Submit a Technical Skills Inquiry NOW through West Chester University to find out if your company qualifies for an educational training grant for the Midwest GeoSciences Group courses on campus at West Chester University. Only companies in PA are eligible.


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 course completion certificate from West Chester University for qualifying participants.

This workshop is dedicated to field techniques. However this particular course is conducted solely in the classroom using soil cores from various depositional environments. This workshop 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 September 3, 2019)

Early Registration Fee (non-member): $698.00

Early Registration Fee (member): $449.00

Early Registration Deadline: September 3, 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 September 3, 2019. Terms and Conditions apply.

Cancellations may be made up to September 3, 2019, however, 50 percent of the course fee will be charged or a credit will be issued. No refunds after September 3, 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


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.

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

Group Booking Link-
  Book Here for Midwest Geosciences
  The nightly room rate is $139/night.

Map and Directions from Hotel to Classroom

click on map for details

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