Advanced Soils Training Session Offered Prior to Convention on Thursday, March 1

Advanced Soils Training Session
Kelowna, BC – March 1, 2012

Please note that we are offering a reduced rate for Convention Delegates.  If you are a Convention Delegate, please download the registration form.

An advanced level soils training session is being offered on Thursday, March 1, prior to the start of the annual conference and trade show. This training session, while not part of the convention program, is scheduled the day before convention to allow those interested in attending both events the convenience of one-stop. Convention delegates will be able to attend this extra training session at a reduced rate.

The training session will be delivered by Kent Watson from Thompson Rivers University. Kent holds a BSc in Geology from UBC and has extensive soil teaching (classroom and field) experience with various organizations and institutions within BC. The course description is as follows:

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

From the literature and conversations with professionals the understanding of soil is the critical component in onsite wastewater management. The trend is that many believe knowing less rather than more about soils is sufficient for their work. This workshop presents the opposite view. A ROWP or an Engineer planning onsite systems needs to know as much 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 as possible. 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 over-view 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 wastewater manage-ment. 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 criti-cal in planning onsite systems. These variables will be described in detail and where possible related back to orders, for-mation and processes. Participant exercises will be included to enhance the presented concepts and assist in determining loading rates using the SPM 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 juris-dictions 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 Kent has gathered regarding the pro and cons of percolation and perme-ameter 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.