Master of Science in Applied Geosciences Project Designs



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Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Publication
    Swan Creek Reservoir Investigation
    (2018-01-01) Nogier, Matthew J
    Swan Creek Reservoir is 23 acres in area and located within West Amwell Township, New Jersey. The reservoir serves as a source of public drinking water for residents of the surrounding area and is owned and operated by SUEZ Water New Jersey Lambertville, a water utility. Prior to distribution, SUEZ Water New Jersey Lambertville treats reservoir water to applicable drinking water standards. An investigation of current phosphorus levels in the reservoir was investigated to aid in the future management of algal blooms within the reservoir as it was hypothesized that nutrient levels had increased. A monthly sampling program was developed from four locations during January, February and March 2018. Water quality parameters recorded at each location included appearance, dissolved oxygen, pH, oxidation-reduction potential, specific conductivity, temperature and turbidity. Ammonia-N, chlorophyll a, nitrate-N, soluble reactive phosphorus, total dissolved phosphorus, total particulate phosphorus, total phosphorus and total suspended solids were also analyzed. All collected data was compared to applicable historic data made available by SUEZ Water New Jersey Lambertville with results showing that the reservoir is hypereutrophic, similar to other nearby water bodies. Additionally, total phosphorus levels were found to have increased over time in the reservoir, and as overland flow is a primary mechanism for phosphorus transport, it was hypothesized that phosphorus was being carried via overland flow from neighboring agricultural lands where phosphorus containing fertilizers may have been applied. Therefore, the uses of properties within or adjacent to the reservoir’s approximately 690 acre watershed were examined. Information regarding these properties was reviewed from EDR, Inc., government databases, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and West Amwell Township. This review, however, did not identify a source of phosphorus to the reservoir as the majority of surrounding land is either undisturbed woodland/wetland habitat or land utilized for farming on a small-scale.
  • Publication
    A Graphical Approach to Analysis of Individual GSI Project Stormwater Mitigation in Urban Settings
    (2017-01-01) Bronz, Igor
    Within the field of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), a generalized, data-driven, quantitative approach into analyzing the stormwater mitigation efficiency of individual GSI projects with regard to their cost has not yet been published. Previous attempts have been made to determine the costs and benefits of using green infrastructure in certain municipalities, but these analyses quantify multiple aspects of green infrastructure, not just stormwater mitigation, and their conclusions are often specific to that municipality. To produce this missing component, a data table was created to break down the technical characteristics of interest for GSI projects and a graphing approach was used to compare the GSI projects to each other with the hopes of being able to make conclusions regarding the efficiency of certain projects at mitigating stormwater. Two types of linear-linear scale graphs were constructed: stormwater mitigation capacity vs. cost, and stormwater mitigation capacity vs. area of BMP. The goal of the stormwater mitigation capacity vs. cost graph is to determine which GSI projects are better at mitigating stormwater for their cost. This would prove useful for developers who desire to meet certain stormwater goals and want to have an understanding of how GSI project cost can vary, and why. The goal of the stormwater mitigation capacity vs. area of BMP graph is to determine whether GSI projects with deeper substrates or better technology are more efficient at mitigating stormwater despite having a smaller footprint, irrespective of cost. This would be useful for understanding how the stormwater mitigation efficacy of smaller, but higher quality projects varies compared to projects with a larger footprint, and would be of particular interest to those who desire to meet certain stormwater goals but have space constraints. Both graph types demonstrate clear variation between different GSI projects and their efficiency. Their relationships to each other coincide well with the respective GSI projects’ intent and physical characteristics.
  • Publication
    Hydrogeological and Preliminary Wetland Delineation Assessments of Peatland on North Side of Camel's Hump Farm, Bethlehem, PA
    (2018-05-01) Barakat, Michelle
    On the north side of Camel’s Hump and south of Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem, PA lies a spring-fed peatland that was referred to as the “Detweiler peat deposit” and described as having about 4.5 feet of peat over clay, glacial till, and decomposed gneiss and limestone in Miller (1925). Today, part of this peatland is located on the property of Friends of Johnston, Inc. who, along with federal officials, require an understanding of the peatland hydrology and boundaries to aid in the implementation of a storm water management plan upstream of the wetland. Although the peatland will only undergo minor replanting and quality maintenance throughout the extent of this project, upstream hydrologic alterations could affect the character and limits of the peatland. In advance of the project, baseline information was gathered including a hydrology assessment and a preliminary wetland delineation. An electrical resistivity survey using SuperSting technology was conducted and revealed an intricate subsurface network of water flow, springs, and the piezometric tendencies characteristic of the karst topography found in the area. A preliminary wetland delineation was conducted using the Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Eastern Mountains and Piedmont Region (Version 2.0) (USACOE 2012) and determined the approximate upland/wetland boundaries that should be considered when implementing the storm water management plan. The bedrock geology was obtained from the most recent mapping of the area (Aaron and Drake 1997) and it was observed that springs feed the peatland. Going forward, this information will be important to consider in implementation of the stormwater management project and efforts to the restore the wetland.
  • Publication
    Respiration and Organic Matter Field Study of the Soils at Wissahickon Valley Park
    (2018-01-01) Fettrow, Sean A
    The field work done at the Wissahickon was aimed at collecting soil biochemical health indicators. The indicator data collected were soil respiration and soil organic matter content. Soil respiration is defined as the production of carbon dioxide as a result of the aerobic or anaerobic decomposition of organic matter by microbes (Das et al., 2014). Soil organic matter is defined as biologically derived plant tissue such as leaf litter and root material. The data were collected at two separate study areas within the park (Figure 1). The first study area at the park is heavily forested with moderate human disturbance. The second is a grass field which has been developed and disrupted by human activity (figure 10). These two study areas with varying levels of impact, allowed for investigation into the following research questions. First, is soil respiration correlated with soil organic matter? Secondly, will the two sites, with varying levels of impact, show differing biochemical indicator values? The research hypothesis is therefore composed of two parts. First, there will be a significant positive correlation between respiration and organic matter content. Secondly, site 2 (heavily impacted) will show lower levels of both respiration and organic matter content compared to site 1 (moderately impacted). The reason soil respiration and organic matter content have been selected to analyze the soils is for their common use as biochemical indicators of soil health in published soil biochemical research. While researching potential correlations between organic matter pools and respiration rates, the two study area’s soil health, according to these biochemical indicators, can also be assessed. The main sources of data collection were soil basal respiration—collected using a field respirometer—and organic matter content, collected using laboratory techniques provided by Penn State’s Agricultural Services Laboratory. Regional geologic data, as well as open source regional soils data, have also been included in the research in order to better understand the building blocks of the research site soil. Knowing the geologic building blocks of the soil, as well as the specific soil type being studied, will allow for more detailed observations relating to the biochemical indicators. All of the mentioned data were then used in combination with several software packages including ArcGIS, and Excel. These programs were chosen to represent data and observations both statistically and geospatially. After statistical analysis was performed, it was concluded that the first hypothesis cannot be confidently accepted. The correlation coefficients (R-values) between the respiration and organic matter values at both sites were less than 0.50, indicating a weak relationship. Site 1 had an R value of -0.26, meaning there was a weak negatively correlated relationship between the organic matter and respiration data. Site 2 had an R value of 0.47, meaning there was a weak positively correlated relationship between the organic matter and respiration data. On the other hand, the second hypothesis was accepted. The statistical data shows strong differences in mean respiration rates between sites 1 and 2, as well as strong differences in mean organic matter content between sites 1 and 2. Also, site 2 consistently showed much lower levels of both respiration and organic matter in comparison to site 1.
  • Publication
    A Comparative Evaluation of Green Stormwater Infrastructure Tools: Co-Benefits and Alternative Funding
    (2021-01-01) Nichols, Olivia Wolfe
    Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) is a complicated concept for the majority of the population due to complexities of the technologies and the dearth of research done on co-benefits offered by the multiple types of GSI. As GSI and its co-benefits are an interconnected complex system, it is important to create tools that can offer accurate information and predictions of the co-benefits. These tools also offer more chances to identify places for alternative funding for GSI beyond water related organizations. This study compares and evaluates the differences between three tools, the Green Values National Stormwater Management Calculator, the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Stormwater Calculator, and the Community-enabled Lifecycle Analysis of Stormwater Infrastructure Costs tool. Each tool offers a detailed analysis of different parts of the GSI selection, from life-cycle cost analysis to the variety of co-benefits offered to the level of performance of the BMP in stormwater management. This study is conducted by evaluating five representative rain gardens for the city of Philadelphia, and simulating their effects through each tool to examine data requirements and outputs. The results indicate functionality, ease of use, similarity and/or dissimilarity of the estimated hydrologic results, water quality, cost, and co-benefits of these tools. Co-benefit considerations may inform possibilities for leveraging funding from multiple utilities in a city. The Green Values Tool is the easiest to use, with the EPA Stormwater Calculator and the CLASIC Tool requiring more detailed inputs and handlings. The CLASIC Tool offers both the most detailed and highest number of co-benefits, the Green Values Tool offers some co-benefit analysis, and the EPA Stormwater Calculator did not cover co-benefits at all. All three tools contain a cost analysis function where the analysis for the CLASIC Tool and the Green Values Tool are similar, but the EPA Stormwater Calculator differs. The CLASIC Tool and the EPA Stormwater Calculator provide alike hydrologic budgets but the Green Values Tool estimates tends to vary. The CLASIC Tool is the only tool that provides water quality estimates. By analyzing and comparing the three tools, better choices can be made by governments and communities and offer more opportunities to look for alternative funding for GSI projects, all of which offer a healthier and greener future to the world.
  • Publication
    Landslide Occurances at Maierato, Italy. An Engineering Geological View
    (2010-08-01) John, Jaithish
    This paper focuses on the 15th February, 2010 Maierato landslide in the Calabria region of Italy. The slide is believed to have been induced by heavy rainfall and happened just west of the town. The Italian basin of the Mediterranean and the peninsula are often affected by patterns of intense precipitation. About 2300 people have been evacuated just before the slide happened. No deaths or injuries have been reported. The authorities have predicted that a landslide could be happening as they have indicated the signs on the road (Figure A1) The town of Maierato was affected by slope instability not only due to the heavy rainfall but also due to the existing geological structure, the plastic properties of soil of sliding surface, infiltration of water into the soil , erosion of soil at the toe of the slide and increasing ground water level. Back analysis indicates that cohesion is the most critical factor contributing to slope stability.
  • Publication
    (2020-05-01) Long, Meighan
    Studies specifically focusing on effects of contamination migration to the environment and human health pertaining to hurricane activity are minimal, yet necessary to understand risk and mitigate future impacts of these devastating storms. A hurricane’s speed and direction are heavily dependent on the intricate interaction between the atmosphere and ocean, including the presence or absence of additional weather patterns. The complexity of these conditions makes it very difficult to predict the impacts of such a storm, including threat to human health by exposure to contaminants, damage to structures and facilities housing hazardous substances, and contamination dispersion from a facility into the environment and surrounding communities. Since the intensity of hurricane events has been increasing globally, many efforts have been made to predict these natural storms. 1 Evaluations of the consequences that storms pose on impacted coastal communities and environments once they pass must not be neglected. A limited number of previous studies have discussed the destructive influences natural disasters have on technological industries, known as “na-tech” events. However, the majority of those studies are conducted with a wide lens, considering all the possibilities of natural disasters together and overlooking non-industrial cases. This project will review available data to analyze risk posed on environments and communities specifically from hurricane impacts. Thorough examination of public records will be conducted for industrial and non-industrial facilities that handle hazardous substances and contamination, such as chlorinated solvents, heavy metals, and organic compounds. The goal is to more accurately assess how communities and their surrounding environments will be affected by hurricane-induced contaminant releases in order to support future preparation, mitigation, and response efforts.