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The blank slate of a new project can offer invaluable opportunities for innovative design and construction methods. The design and construction of the Water Replenishment District’s (WRD) Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and Environmental Learning (ARC) (Figure 1) offered one such opportunity with regards to green infrastructure and stormwater management in particular. However, WRD has further maximized the...
The Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport (WSA) project is a rare greenfield opportunity for a new airport rather than a reconstruction or renovation of an existing airport. It is also one of the largest civil earthmoving projects in Australia’s history. The airport will open in late 2026 and is projected to serve up to 10 million domestic and international...
Jim Spotts Devotes Career to Learning and Teaching All Things Soil As a young boy with a lot of time on his hands, Jim Spotts learned a lot about soils in the wooded area near his home. “I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and one day my friends and I decided to see how deep we needed to dig a hole...
There is no doubt that the global sea level is rising. The global mean sea level has risen 8 to 9 inches (21 to 24 cm) since 1880. The majority of that rise has occurred in the past 25 years.1 Climate change and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets are adding to the volume of water in the oceans1...
Road construction is a substantial disturbance of the terrestrial environment that may also impact stream water quality. Logging and clearing the right of way, blasting through rock and moving large quantities of earth all have the potential to transport sediment into streams increasing turbidity as well as reducing habitat quality for aquatic organisms. Water chemistry may be altered as...
Topsoil, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “surface soil usually including the organic layer in which plants have most of their roots and which the farmer turns over in plowing.” While this rudimentary definition describes the most obvious use and location of topsoil, it does not account for the complex and dynamic ecosystem that is ubiquitous with healthy topsoil. Topsoil...
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) — also known as drones — are quickly becoming one of the top 21st century tools utilized by the construction industry. Use of drones is not only worldwide, but also goes beyond our planet to the recent NASA Perseverance Rover Mission on Mars. Donald Pearson, a long-time partner of the IECA...
Climate change is expected to have numerous effects, including more intense storms, periods of drought and rising sea levels. These effects are likely to impact different types of wetland systems, including constructed and coastal types. One group of researchers reviewed many studies to determine what types of information are needed to predict future impacts, while another measured the current...
By Gleicy Cavalcante, M.S., EIT; Gary L. Hawkins, Ph.D.; Ernest “Bill” Tollner, Ph.D., PE; Jon Calabria, Ph.D. The increase of urban areas and climate change has made stormwater management and its role in the preservation of water quality and flood-risk events in the U.S. an evolving issue. Research studies have shown that bioretention basins are efficient practices in reducing the amount...
By Andrea McEachran, M.S. Nitrate exported from agricultural lands contributes to surface water quality impairment. Subsurface drainage, often referred to as tile drainage, is commonly used in the midwestern United States to improve row crop production by lowering the water table. However, due to leaching, tile drainage often has high nitrate concentrations. Nitrate export from tile drainage has been identified...

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