News and Events

Kleinfelder Accepts 2018 Outstanding Environmental and Engineering Geology Award from the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologist for the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project

Friday, 14 September 2018

Bookmark and Share

San Francisco, CA (September 17, 2018) – Kleinfelder and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) accepted the 2018 Outstanding Environmental and Engineering Geology Award from the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologist (AEG) for the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project (CDRP) at the 61st AEG Annual Meeting/13th IAEG Congress in San Francisco, California. 

With work beginning in 2011, the CDRP consisted of building a new seismically-resistant 220-foot zoned earth and rock fill embankment dam immediately downstream from the existing dam, which was last rebuilt in 1925. The CDRP, which is owned and operated by SFPUC, included a major environmental geology component that is unique in its scope, size, and technical level: Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA). The NOA program was implemented and managed by Dr. Bradley Erskine, a Kleinfelder Professional Geologist, producing the largest data set of its kind in the United States and providing fundamental research of national and international significance.

Working closely with Certified Industrial Hygienists at the SFPUC Department of Safety and Health, Dr. Erskine characterized asbestos in each rock unit within the Franciscan Complex mélange, reservoir water used for dust control, and more than 35,000 air samples analyzed by Transmission Electron Microscopy. Combining standard geologic principles and investigatory techniques with innovative fiber dimensional analysis and forensic chemical fingerprinting of amphibole fibers, Dr. Erskine assessed the potential for off-site exposure from asbestos and the efficacy of dust control measures used at the site to protect on-site workers and the public from asbestos exposure. In addition, the cumulative asbestos air emissions measured at perimeter monitoring stations were tracked daily and compared to predicted trends, assuring that the cumulative asbestos emissions remained well below the site-specific risk-based thresholds that were calculated for the CDRP project.

The NOA program was significant due to its complexity and the coordination required to ensure its success. NOA is highly regulated by each of the four environmental and worker protection regulatory agencies in California. In addition, the investigation and characterization of rocks and soil that may contain these carcinogenic particles are required by statute to be conducted by a California Professional Geologist, following guidance criteria issued by the California Geological Survey. SFPUC’s NOA program at the CDRP is the most comprehensive NOA investigation and monitoring program to be conducted in the United States, producing the largest data set of its kind and providing fundamental research of national and international significance.

The results of the program have been showcased by Dr. Erskine at many professional meetings and regulatory agencies, including those invited or convened by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), California Air Resources Board (CARB), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and Association for Environmental Health and Science Foundation (AEHS). The role of the geologist within this discipline is central and singular; the SFPUC/CDRP NOA program has demonstrated to toxicologists and air quality experts that any significant conclusions regarding NOA exposure to the public or workers are inadequate without a sound geological and mineralogical characterization by a competent and professional geologist.

Kleinfelder and SFPUC are proud to accept AEG’s Outstanding Environmental and Engineering Geology Award for this nationally significant project which showcases the application of a unique and highly technical environmental geology component on a major engineering project. 

About Kleinfelder
Kleinfelder has been connecting great people to the best work since 1961. We are engineers, scientists, and construction professionals providing solutions that improve our clients’ transportation, water, energy, and other private infrastructure. As an integrated, cross-disciplinary team of bright, curious, and innovative problem-solvers, we are dedicated to doing the right thing, every day, on every project from over 60 offices in the US, Canada and Australia.