ASFE Inaugurates New President

The two additional officers and five directors-at-large who comprise the balance of the ASFE board are:

  • President-Elect Edmond D. Alizadeh, Esq., P.E. (Geotechnology, Inc., St. Louis, MO);
  • Secretary/Treasurer David E. Lourie, P.E., R.B.P. (Lourie Consultants, Metairie, LA);
  • Mark K. Kramer, P.E. (Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc., Plymouth, MI);
  • James W. Martin, P.E., R.B.P. (AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc., Nashville, TN);
  • Ronald M. McOmber, P.E. (CTL/Thompson, Inc., Denver, CO); -David A. Schoenwolf, P.E. (Haley & Aldrich, Inc., McLean, VA); and
  • Michael V. Smith, P.G., C.E.G. (Earth Systems, Inc., San Luis Obispo, CA).

Mr. Johnston chairs the board of directors of PMK Group, a consulting and environmental engineering firm headquartered in Cranford, NJ. He also serves as the PMK executive vice president responsible for the firm’s strategic and client management functions. Mr. Johnston joined PMK in 1986, soon after receiving Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Rutgers University. Since then he has designed and managed numerous projects involving the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites, as well as brownfields and landfill redevelopment. He often serves as an expert witness and frequently consults with planning and zoning boards throughout New Jersey.


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Government and Industry Officials Launch National Three-Digit “Call Before You Dig” Telephone Number

"Now that there is a single number to call, any time, there’s no excuse for putting lives at risk by striking a utility line," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters. "If 911 is the number you call to report emergencies, 811 is the number to call to prevent them."

The 811 number was designated by the  FCC in 2005 at the direction of an Act of Congress in 2002. Its creation was supported by more than fifteen industry stakeholder groups who encouraged its development and creation and now promote its use nationwide.

To ensure that all Americans know and use 811, today’s event on "America’s Front Yard" also kicked off a national public education campaign, which will use an educational Web site (, television and radio PSAs, industry and consumer outreach, and local events to raise awareness of the new number and demonstrate its relevance to consumers and professionals who conduct digging activities. Additionally, the campaign’s national launch partners and promotional sponsors will promote the new number through a variety of tactics designed to leverage the grassroots power of their customers, clients and members, creating awareness and positive behavioral change among those most likely to dig.

"Knowing the approximate locations of where utility lines are buried before each digging project helps protect America’s pipelines, industry and people," said CGA President Bob Kipp. "We believe the new 811 number will encourage more people to have their lines marked to protect themselves, their neighbors and their community."

Nationwide, risky assumptions about the location of underground utility lines, which are buried at various depths below the ground, lead to more than one unintentional hit per minute every day, every year. Even simple digging jobs can damage utility lines and disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, harm those who dig, and result in expensive fines and repair costs. 

Digging accidents can help be prevented with a call to the local One Call Center, a service that contacts appropriate utility companies who then visibly mark the approximate locations of their lines with paint or flags before a caller begins a digging project. Unfortunately, the current statistics on One Call Centers show that the majority of Americans are not using this service. According to a recent CGA study, while 46 percent of Americans are active diggers who have done or plan to do a digging project at home, only 33 percent of do-it-yourselfers plan on calling before they dig, which means they are taking a huge risk each time their shovel disturbs the dirt. 

Created to eliminate the confusion of multiple "Call Before You Dig" numbers across the country and to be an easy-to-remember resource, 811 will make it easier for Americans to call before attempting any digging project, whether it be something small like planting a tree or installing a mailbox or a larger project like building an addition or deck. This quick and efficient one call service notifies the appropriate local utilities, which then send locators or locate technicians to the requested site to mark the approximate location of underground lines.

At today’s event, CGA officials joined with Secretary Peters, and national launch partners the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), John Deere, The Travelers Companies, Inc., and Cox Communications to officially activate 811 and set off a larger-than-life ticker that immediately began "counting" the calls being placed to 811. On average, more than 28 calls are placed to One Call Centers every minute in the United States. Also at the event, the national launch partners unveiled the programs they will employ to educate the public about the importance of calling 811 before each digging job.

"AGC plans to leverage our extensive professional contractor chapter network to support the launch of 811," said Steve Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America.  "In addition to conducting a survey to identify best safe digging practices among professional general contractors nationwide, we will also offer a cash prize to the AGC chapter that does the best job at getting the word out about 811 in their area."

"Since our founding in 1837, John Deere has been devoted to protecting the safety of our customers," said Bob Brock, senior vice president, sales and marketing, John Deere Construction and Forestry. "John Deere intends to deliver the 811 message over one billion times in the coming year through written word and via our Web sites.  We are committed to ensuring that all Americans use this new life-saving resource every time they dig."

"Travelers has been dedicated to delivering risk management solutions for more than 100 years," said Todd Bateson, Travelers Construction President. "We pride ourselves on staying in-synch with our customers’ evolving exposures, and are committed to getting the word out about 811. The 811 message will be included in Travelers billing statements, newsletters and Web sites, which reach more than three million individuals, in the hopes that everyone, whether contractor or homeowner, will call before they dig."  

"Cox Communications will spread the important message in our markets nationwide that dialing 811 is the right call to protect yourself and your neighbors from the many potential consequences of digging without first getting your underground lines marked," said Ellen East, vice president of communications and public affairs at Cox, which is donating more than $200,000 in airtime to advertising the 811 campaign.

In addition to the national launch partners, promotional sponsors such as Yellow Book USA, the Electrical Safety Foundation International, Equipment Now, the Hispanic Contractors Association of Georgia, the Hispanic Contractors Association of the Carolinas, and the Industrial Fabrics Association International will be educating the public about the importance of calling 811 by: including the 811 logo and messaging in advertising, newsletter and training materials; posting web links; mobilizing their membership bases to use 811 messaging with their customers; running the PSAs; distributing information at trade shows and conferences; conducting outreach to local media; running voicemail and direct mail campaigns; and participating in public events.

For more information about the 811 service, campaign, and a new national survey on consumer digging habits, visit

About CGA and Its Partners

CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,400 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at

The Department of Transportation was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966; the Department’s first official day of operation was April 1, 1967. The mission of the Department is to "Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future."

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC represents more than 32,000 firms, including 7,000 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 11,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 13,000 service providers and suppliers are associated with AGC through a nationwide network of chapters. Visit the AGC Web site at  AGC members are "Building Your Quality of Life."

John Deere (Deere & Company – NYSE: DE) is the world’s leading provider of advanced products and services for agriculture and forestry and a major provider of advanced products and services for construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation. John Deere also provides financial services worldwide and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment. Since it was founded in 1837, the company has extended its heritage of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation around the globe.

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance and surety products and of risk management services to a wide variety of businesses and organizations and to individuals. The company reported 2006 revenues of $25.1 billion and total assets of $113.8 billion. Their products are distributed primarily through U.S. independent insurance agents and brokers. Travelers is the second largest writer of auto and homeowners insurance through independent agents. Travelers is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minn., with significant operations in Hartford, Conn. The company also has offices in the U.K., Ireland and Canada.

Cox Communications is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with more than 6 million total residential and commercial customers. The third-largest cable television company in the United States, Cox offers an array of advanced digital video, high-speed Internet and telephony services over its own nationwide IP network, as well as integrated wireless services in partnership with Sprint (NYSE: S). Cox Business Services is a full-service, facilities-based provider of communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses. Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spots and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. More information about the services of Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at, and



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Wold Creek Dam – “Significant chance of failure”

On Jan. 22, USACE lowered the Wolf Creek Dam lake level to reduce the risk of dam failure during the ongoing, accelerated efforts to fix the project.

This is the first peer review report on a high-risk USACE dam, and it provides important input regarding current USACE efforts to investigate, monitor and modify Wolf Creek Dam.

Peer review is a critical component of both the USACE Dam Safety Program and USACE’s 12 Actions for Change, released in August 2006. The 12 Actions emphasize the need to employ dynamic peer review of projects with potential of high consequences; employ risk-based concepts in construction; and effectively communicate risk with the public.

“Public safety is our number one priority,” said Steve Stockton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy director of Civil Works. “The dynamic, independent review is integral to our 12 Actions for Change and provides additional depth to our assessment and analysis of hazards posed by our nation’s aging flood and storm damage reduction infrastructure.”

USACE in 2005 and 2006 performed an initial screening of more than130 dam projects, which represent approximately 20 percent of the Corps’ 610 dams. The screened dams were believed to be the highest risk among those USACE owns and operates. The risk-informed screening process considered performance and failure consequences, allowed USACE to prioritize its dams nationwide, and produced life risk and economic risk information. USACE’s goal is to screen the remainder of its dams by the end of fiscal 2009.

As a result, USACE identified six dam projects that are critically near failure or have extremely high life and/or economic risk, and has made them a national priority for funding, studies, investigations and remedial work. USACE has implemented interim risk reduction measures, which include inspections, monitoring, pool restrictions, public awareness and additional instrumentation at each of the six.
The USACE dams identified as highest risk and highest priority are:

  • Wolf Creek Dam, located in Kentucky
  • Center Hill Dam, located in Tennessee
  • Martis Creek and Isabella Dams, both located in California
  • Clearwater Dam, located in Missouri
  • Herbert Hoover Dike, located in Florida

All dams determined to be of highest risk will undergo a dynamic peer review by an independent external panel to ensure USACE is taking the best approach to reduce risks to the public. USACE employs independent project reviews to provide additional insight to assist with its dam safety management and programming decisions.

USACE owns and operates 610 dams that serve a variety of purposes including navigation, flood control, water supply, irrigation, hydropower, recreation, environmental enhancement, and combinations of these purposes. USACE’s primary objective in its Dam Safety Program is to maintain public safety by making sure its dams do not present unacceptable risks to the public.

The Dam Safety Program uses a risk-informed strategy to:

  • prioritize dam safety studies, investigations and remedial fixes;
  • prioritize program funding;
  • manage and buy down risk with a cost-effective approach;
  • use risk management in the routine aspects of the program;
  • be situationally aware of the risks posed by USACE dams.

USACE asked an independent external panel of experts to review and assess these six dams and the panel’s assessment of the remaining projects is ongoing. USACE will continue to actively work with state and local emergency managers to ensure emergency notification plans for communities affected are in place.
The Wolf Creek Dam Consensus Report, Engineering Risk and Reliability Analysis, can be found at

For Wolf Creek Dam project specific questions, please contact Bill Peoples at (615) 736-7834.
For questions about the Wolf Creek Dam Consensus Report, Engineering Risk and Reliability Analysis, please contact Keith Ferguson at (303) 237-6601.

For additional information about the United States Army Corps of Engineers, please visit our Web site at

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Hayward Baker Completes Ambitious Landslide Repair Project on U.S. Highway 61 in Mississippi

Odenton, Md. (Vocus/PRWeb) April 23, 2007 — Hayward Baker, Inc., North America’s leading geotechnical contractor, announces the completion of an ambitious landslide repair project for the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The work was conducted along a stretch of U.S. Highway 61, one of the nation’s landmark roads that extends from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico.

The purpose of the work was to stabilize a failing slope that had caused the closure of both southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 61 at Signal Hill on the outskirts of Vicksburg, Mississippi. As general contractor for the project, Hayward Baker installed more than 250 buried anchor blocks to stabilize the slope. The project is noteworthy because of the size of the slide (some 1,300 feet) and the depth of the slide plane below the surface, which necessitated the use of the sophisticated anchoring technology and drilled tiebacks as long as 265 linear feet.

Evidence of landslide activity had been observed at Signal Hill as early as 1977, shortly after completion of the roadway. An earthen berm was constructed initially, which reduced the rate of movement. There was also a trench drain-type system installed in an attempt to remove water that had collected under the roadbed in the fill area.

According to Jeff Curtis of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, over the course of the next 25 years the roadbed would sink as much as four feet on occasion, requiring extensive repairs. But with continuing (and increasing) incremental movements being detected, in 2004 the Mississippi DOT contracted with Burns Cooley Dennis, Inc. (BCD) to investigate, evaluate and recommend a new stabilization system.

A permanent ground anchor/buried anchor block system was recommended by BCD due to it being highly-suited to the site. This recommendation was approved by the Mississippi DOT, and the contract was awarded to Hayward Baker to undertake the project following a bid process.

Hayward Baker served as prime contractor for the 10-month, $6 million project.

According to Steve Buckner, special projects manager at Hayward Baker’s Atlanta office which performed the repair work, Hayward Baker was one of several members of the design/engineer team assembled by BCD on the U.S. Highway 61 project. Other participants were ABMB Engineers, Inc., Advanced Engineering Resources, Inc., and the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s own geotechnical branch. "The project was a great success," Buckner remarked. "The MDOT manager reported that he had never worked with a more professional organization than Hayward Baker."

Jeff Curtis, the Mississippi DOT’s designated project engineer on this job, expressed strong satisfaction with the work performed by Hayward Baker. "They’re a very professional group – top-notch. They didn’t have any problem finishing the job on time, even when we … had to add another 100 feet of anchors to get to the end of the slide. That included needing to obtain a right of entry from an adjacent landowner. The entire process went as smooth as it could go," he said.

Because of the Signal Hill project’s noteworthy design, BCD received the 2007 Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies – Mississippi (ACEC-MS). The award was given at the annual ACEC-MS Engineering Excellence Awards banquet held on February 21, 2007 in Jackson, Mississippi.

For more information on the U.S. Highway 61 landslide repair project, or other slope stabilization projects performed by Hayward Baker, contact Steve Buckner (SGBuckner @ or John Wolosick (JRWolosick @ To find the Hayward Baker office nearest you, visit

About Hayward Baker, Inc.
Hayward Baker, Inc. is North America’s largest geotechnical contractor. Ranked by ENR magazine as the #1 Foundation Contractor, Hayward Baker is the industry leader in applying ground modification technologies to site improvement and remedial work, with a 60-year record of experience. Many different technologies are employed in providing foundation support and rehabilitation services, as well as settlement control, structural support, site improvement, soil and slope stabilization, underpinning excavation shoring, earth retention, seismic stabilization, and ground water control. Every service provided by Hayward Baker is designed to be the most effective, cost-efficient solution based on a proven track record of performance in the field. Services are provided through a network of more than 20 offices. Web site address:

Hayward Baker, Inc. is part of the Keller Group, a multinational organization providing geotechnical construction services throughout the world. Web site address:

Jim Hussin, P.E., Director of Marketing
Hayward Baker, Inc.
(813) 884-3441



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Gilbert T. Seese, P.E. Promoted to Principal of the Firm

Schnabel Engineering, Inc., Glen Allen, Virginia, is pleased to announce the promotion of Gilbert T. Seese, P.E. to Principal of the Firm. Mr. Seese, Branch Leader of the Newport News, Virginia office, has more than 30 years of experience in geotechnical engineering on projects including industrial, commercial, and waterfront facilities, as well as elevated and on-grade storage tanks. In addition, Mr. Seese has expertise in earth dams, including stability studies, embankment design, and safety inspections for private, state, and municipal owners. Other expertise includes damage studies and material utilization studies for bottom ash and fly ash roadway fills, pavement base course, and structural fills. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia and West Virginia University.

Mr. Seese can be reached in the Newport News, Virginia office at (757) 947-1220 or by email at .

High-tech Earthquake Monitoring Instruments Reveal Expansion of San Gabriel Valley After Heavy Rainf

Released: 4/5/2007 11:11:46 AM

This surface deformation was discovered through a dense array of Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments to study how the land surface slowly moves due to steady deep slip on faults in southern California. In the San Gabriel Valley in 2005, the land-surface motion due to rainfall-induced groundwater recharge temporarily exceeded the motion due to fault slip.  The instruments were installed by USGS, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Southern California Earthquake Center.

"This is an unexpected benefit and challenge to our existing study of fault slip," said Dr. Nancy King, a geophysicist in the USGS Southern California Earthquake Hazards Program and lead author of the new research. "We know that faults slip slowly and steadily over time, building up strain that can accumulate until an earthquake occurs. GPS has given us an important new tool in understanding this process.  Now it is clear that there is other information to take into consideration. These new findings offer a more complex picture of natural events that influence both the study of fault slip and the hydrology of groundwater basins."

Surface deformation measurements identified by GPS instruments were also confirmed by Dr. Gerald Bawden of the USGS California Water Science Center, using high-tech Interferometric Synthetic Aperture (InSAR) images.
The new report follows a study of data from the San Gabriel Valley accumulated during the exceptionally heavy rainfall in the winter 2004-2005.  A team was put together that included hydrologists and geophysicists from USGS, JPL, Scripps, Stanford University and the Southern California Earthquake Center, led by Dr. Nancy King.

The San Gabriel Valley was the only hydrological basin in the area showing surface deformation from increases in groundwater. The Southern California area is relatively densely instrumented with GPS due to the deployment of an array of 250 instruments completed by the Southern California Earthquake Center in 2001.

Previously, separate studies led by Dr. Bawden and JPL’s Dr. Donald Argus showed that the surface of the San Gabriel Valley has risen and fallen due to groundwater pumping.

EDITORS: Please note that the mobile contact number for Stephanie Hanna, USGS Communications Director for the Western Region, has changed. The new number is 206-818-7411.

USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information, visit

Subscribe to USGS News Releases via our electronic mailing list or RSS feed.

**** ****

Links and contacts within this release are valid at the time of publication.

Contact Information:

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Nancy King –
Phone: 626-583-7815

Stephanie Hanna –
Phone: 206-818-7411



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Corps of Engineers Revises and Renews Nationwide Permits

The new nationwide permits are to be published in the Federal Register on March 12 and take effect on March 19, 2007.

"We have simplified the language of the new nationwide permits to provide clarity and certainty," John Paul Woodley Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), said. "While we will improve regulatory efficiency, we will also sustain essential levels of environmental protection."

The nationwide permits authorize activities that are similar in nature and cause only minimal adverse environmental impacts individually or cumulatively. Activities ranges from work associated with aids to navigation and utility lines to Coast Guard-approved bridges and cleanup of hazardous and toxic wastes.

"We went through the rulemaking process," Mr. Woodley said, "and we benefited from the comments of the many stakeholders and other agencies during the public review."

The current set of permits expires on March 18, 2007, and these permits are to replace them.

The Corps’ division engineers may add, after public review and consultation, regional conditions to protect local aquatic ecosystems such as fens or bottomland hardwoods or minimize adverse effects on fish or shellfish spawning, wildlife nesting or other ecologically critical events.

Here are some highlights:

  • The Corps reissued all the existing permits and added six new ones. The Corps also added a new general condition and eliminated one other.
  • The Corps retained the acreage limits from the current nationwide permits.
  • The Corps added protections for ephemeral streams, including a 300-linear foot limit.
  • The new nationwide permits cover activities such as repairs of uplands, time-sensitive pipeline repairs, repairs to ditches and canals to control erosion, commercial aquaculture operations, reclamation of surface coal mining areas and underground coal mining.

Additional information about the Corps’ regulatory program can be found at Information about the nationwide permits can be found at

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