Who are the scientists in your neighborhood?

Aspect outreach connects younger residents with cleanup and redevelopment work at Mt. Baker Housing Association

On a recent cloudy afternoon, about 15 kids gathered on a corner in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood to peer down a hole. The hole isn’t just any hole, it’s a groundwater monitoring well—one of 35 that Aspect is using to measure groundwater contamination levels in the area. The kids, ranging from second grade through high school, are residents of six nearby apartment buildings managed by the Mt. Baker Housing Association (MBHA). This field trip was led by Aspect’s Principal Geologist Dave Cook and Senior Geologist Jessica Smith, who have been sharing their environmental work on an innovative MBHA redevelopment project with some of the neighborhood’s younger residents through an ongoing series of visits that helps kids understand the science that will help shape the future of their neighborhood.

Located two blocks from the Mount Baker light rail station, the cleanup site has sat unused for years due to solvent-contamination from a dry cleaner and gasoline-contamination from a former gas station. Aspect is supporting a first-of-its-kind partnership between the MBHA, the City of Seattle, and the Washington State Department of Ecology that will use state funds to help cover some of the costs for environmental evaluation and cleanup. With significant help from an Ecology Public Partnership Grant, MBHA plans to redevelop the five parcels of land with two new residential buildings to meet the City’s critical need for more affordable housing.

Stepping out of the Typical Cleanup Process to Invite Community into the Project

Outreach and collaboration with the area’s residents, businesses, and other stakeholders is a key part of the project. Dave and Jessica’s work puts community, education, and science into action by speaking directly to a segment of the population not usually directly engaged in these types of projects. The kids get to meet the scientists and engineers working in their neighborhood and gets to find out what’s happening, and what’s going to happen, in their own backyard.

Dave and Jessica collaborated with MBHA’s Resident Services Coordinator Sameth Mell and intern Cristina Pinho to engage with the younger members of the Mount Baker community. “After 26 years of quietly cleaning up and recycling land for better uses, I thought it was time to break out of the standard consulting role and focus on the community in a more direct way,” Dave said. “I’ve always enjoyed educating people about what we do. The science is really cool, it’s practical, very visual, and I figured kids would be totally into geology and engineering. What kid doesn’t like playing with dirt, sampling water and learning about mysteries below ground?”

An Outdoor Classroom to See the Underground Up Close

On this recent visit, Dave and Jessica met the kids inside over pizza for introductions before heading out to the corner in front of the building, where Staff Geologist Na Hyung Choi was already busy gathering samples at one of the groundwater monitoring wells. She filled sample containers with groundwater located about 15 feet below the ground surface and answered questions while Jessica and Dave explained more about her work.

Jessica said, “For me, the best part of being involved in the community outreach is being able to introduce kids to the practical aspects of science and engineering to get them excited about STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math]. As we were watching Na Hyung obtain the groundwater samples, one of the fourth-grade girls asked me if she could be a Geologist or an Engineer when she grows up, to which I enthusiastically replied, ‘Of course!’ Facilitating that curiosity and excitement in these kids is what this is all about.”

Back inside, Dave and Jessica presented a video of how the well they’d just been looking at was created, showing how the hole was drilled and the soil that was unearthed from the drill. Jessica also gave a tangible explanation of just what groundwater is. Marbles in a glass represented the dirt, with a little water poured in to help them visualize how groundwater lives between the soil grains.  A bright green straw inserted into the glass stood in for the groundwater monitoring well that was installed into the soil to suck out the water.

Ongoing Outreach as Work Heads Toward 150 Units of New Housing

This visit was the second one Dave and Jessica have made since beginning their field work in mid-November. They plan to return often as the project continues, to share results from the samples Na Hyung was taking and what that data tells them about how the contaminants are behaving underground. From these data, Dave, Jessica and Ecology will develop the best plan to clean up the contaminated soil and groundwater so that construction can begin.

Cleanup and redevelopment on the MBHA project is slated to begin in 2019. Once complete, there will be an estimated 150 units of new affordable housing on the parcels. The kids Dave and Jessica have been checking in with will be able to tell their new neighbors, “Hey, I know what used to be underneath your building!” 

Announcing John Warinner and Expanded Services for Oregon Clients

Strengthening Aspect's water resources services for Oregon clients, John Warinner, PE, CWRE joins Aspect as Associate Water Resources Engineer in Bend, Oregon.  John is a water resources engineer and certified water rights examiner with over 30 years of experience in water supply, water rights, and geographic information system (GIS) projects for irrigators, public agencies, and private industry.

John Warinner - Headshot 2.jpg

John has applied his engineering and client-service skills to monitoring, assessing, design, and permitting for a variety of water system projects, including watershed; groundwater aquifers; irrigation systems; wastewater and nutrient recovery systems; and water rights. He also brings keen insight into GIS and data management.

“I’m excited to join the Aspect team and to broaden their services to Oregon clients," says John, "Aspect is an excellent earth science engineering firm that values the same innovative and practical approach to solving water resource problems that I do.” 

John will work out of Bend, supporting Aspect’s Portland office and clients as well as expanding Aspect’s capabilities for clients in central and eastern Oregon. 

As he joins Aspect, we asked John to share some thoughts on his work and consulting career:

1.    Where are you from? 
My father was an Air Force fighter pilot, so my family moved around a lot when I was young.  I was born in Charleston, SC, and we moved to Oscoda, MI when I was 10 days old.  After several more stops in California and Florida, our family first moved to the Pacific Northwest in about 1968.  We lived in Medford, OR while my father was serving in Vietnam.  When my father returned from overseas, we moved to Klamath Falls, OR.  We moved a few more times to North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Texas, before ultimately settling back in Klamath Falls for my high school and college years.  After attending college in Oregon and Texas, I returned to Portland, OR for several years, then moved to Walla Walla, WA for over two decades.  In 2013, my wife, Amy, and I moved our family to Bend, OR.  So we are approaching five years now in Bend. 

2.    What inspired/led you to pursue work in water resources? 
My interest in water resources started during high school, living on an irrigated hay-grain farm in the Klamath Basin.  My jobs on the farm included irrigation and hay harvest.  I was initially intrigued by the idea of equipping hay balers to moisten hay as it was baled, rather than having to bale the hay during the middle of the night when the dew was on it.  I also recall rafting with a friend on the Lost River and being surprised and intrigued by the geothermal springs emerging into the stream.  During my study of agricultural engineering at Oregon State University and civil (water resources) engineering at Texas A&M University, I gained a broader perspective of hydrology, hydrogeology, hydraulics, irrigation, drainage, and the more physical aspects of water systems.  During that time, my uncle, who was a physics professor at the University of Michigan, introduced me to the Environmental Defense Fund and increased my awareness of watershed ecology, water quality, water rights and allocation, and the challenges of understanding and managing water systems in various settings and at various scales.

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
The deeper you wade into it, the more you realize that water resources is a very broad and dynamic field.  In some respects, the fundamentals seem simple and straightforward.  But there are many nuances to it.  Water systems and the associated challenges vary greatly with both place and time.  There are differences in spatial and temporal patterns from one place to another.  As they say, you never step twice into the same stream.  When you consider the human elements--population, values, interests, knowledge and awareness, expectations, laws, and policies…which also continually evolve and change--it all combines into very intriguing dynamics and associated challenges.  Each situation has its own unique fact pattern.  

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
I most enjoy getting outdoors, including hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, boating, and mountain biking.  I am a pretty big sports fan; mostly basketball. Our youngest son, Brian, is currently a Junior in High School playing on the basketball team. We enjoy watching Brian and his teammates, as well as college and professional basketball.  I also enjoy writing poetry and making music.  As our kids grow up and move out of the house, I am interested to spend more time doing that.

5.    Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
I am pretty happy exploring the Pacific Northwest with the wilderness areas in the Cascades, the Oregon Coast, the San Juan Islands.  Most of my travel outside of the Northwest is geared toward visiting my parents and other family members in Ohio and Texas.  I would love to go back to Bowron Lakes up in British Columbia.  Perhaps South America and Machu Picchu.  Some day, I would love to spend some extended time visiting Europe.

Wet weather season: When the levees go to work

November is historically the wettest month of the year in western Washington. The seemingly constant mist of precipitation punctuated by storms that dump inches of rain in short amounts of time sends water levels in area rivers rising. The risk of flooding presents a critical need to protect nearby homes, businesses, and habitat. Levees a play a key role in that protection.

In the old days of flood control, a levee was typically little more than a pile of dirt. These days, they’re still dirt, but have evolved into a highly engineered, specifically designed mass, often made from less permeable soil (like clay) and designed wider at the base and narrower at the top. Levees are especially critical in floodplain areas to maintain healthy fish and riparian habitats, and of course near neighborhoods and businesses that would be vulnerable should a river top its banks.

While western Washington’s levees are working to protect their surrounding areas, Aspect is hard at work supporting several levee improvement projects in King County and beyond. Our services for recent and ongoing projects include:

Lower Russel Road Levee Setback, Kent, WA

Lower Russel Road Levee Setback, Kent, WA
Map from King County's Project Website

Lead geotechnical engineer and hydrogeologic support for Lower Russell Road Levee Setback, which is improving 1.4 miles of the flood control system along the Green River in Kent. Once completed, the project will provide greater flood protection and water conveyance capacity while improving both riparian habitat and recreational opportunities. This project is nearing the 60 percent design stage of completion, and is anticipated to be constructed by 2020. More project information and pictures can be found on King County’s project page

South Unit Shillapoo and Buckmire Slough Restoration Design, Vancouver, WA

South Unit Shillapoo and Buckmire Slough Restoration Design, Vancouver, WA
Map from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s project website

Geotechnical engineering and hydrogeologic efforts for the South Unit Shillapoo and Buckmire Slough Restoration Design, along the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. The project will improve hydrologic access to approximately 540 acres of intertidal, freshwater slough and wetland habitat. Our work first includes subsurface explorations and geotechnical design for breaching the existing levee (to clear room for the new levee); constructing three WSDOT bridges along State Route 501; flood control levee construction; roadway raises to meet 100-year flood elevations; and construction of up to 14 interior water control structures in the wetland system. You can read more about the project on the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s website

Countyline Levee Setback, Pacific, WA

Environmental and geotechnical support for the Countyline Levee Setback project along the White River near Pacific, just north of the border with Pierce County. When contaminated materials were encountered during construction of the Levee Setback project, our environmental team advised the County on whether the material posed a risk to the project if left in-place, while also determining proper disposal methods. Our geotechnical engineers conducted a targeted, cost-effective investigation to study flooding during high flows and collected data to inform the levee setback design. The project was finished this fall, just in time for late October rains, and now protects 121 acres of floodplain. See an aerial video of the project below

Pacific Right Bank Project, Pacific, WA

Pacific Right Bank Project, Pacific, WA
Map from King County’s project website

In late November, Aspect will provide both geotechnical and environmental services on the Pacific Right levee setback, along the opposite site of the White River from the Countyline Levee. The project will create a setback levee between the BNSF Railway and Government Canal to significantly reduce the potential for river flooding of adjacent neighborhoods. Learn more about the project on King County’s project website. 

Countdown to the new Pier 62

Seattle’s Daily Journal of Commerce reported yesterday that construction on the city’s new Pier 62 will begin in two weeks. Once completed, this $34.8 million dollar rebuild will create a new park on the pier and reintroduce the public to this part of Elliott Bay.

Aspect helped set the foundations for this new phase of the Pier 62’s history. Read more about the construction on the Daily Journal of Commerce’s website and Aspect’s previous work on our blog

pier 62.jpg

The Beauty and Power of LiDAR in Geology

Kudos to the good people at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR)/Washington Geological Survey for their absolutely incredible Esri Story Map, The Bare Earth.

Here at Aspect, we use regional LiDAR data treasure troves nearly every single day. From landslide hazard analysis, to stormwater infiltration feasibility, to fault identification and mapping–our team of geologists and GIS analysts are well familiar with the power of this incredible, rich data.  

However, we've never seen such a thoughtful, thorough, and beautiful presentation of LiDAR's role in geology as this. In addition to the breathtaking LiDAR visualizations, it's a wonderful example of the narrative and explanatory power of a story map

Bravo, DNR. Bravo.

...oh... and happy GIS Day/Post-GIS Day! This is a wonderful way to celebrate.

An Alternative Approach for Petroleum-Site Cleanups

With around 3,000 historical leaking underground petroleum storage tanks (USTs) and systems across Washington state, petroleum cleanup is a big issue for business owners, homeowners, and regulators. The traditional leaking UST cleanup process is typically counted in years and often stymied by the lack of available regulatory staff to handle the large volume of sites efficiently. 

To help remedy this, the state’s Pollution Liability Agency (PLIA) created a new cleanup route--the Petroleum Technical Assistance Program (PTAP)--beginning in January 2018. The PTAP program offers applicants the potential of lower cost associated with regulatory oversight and a commitment to faster turnaround times for opinions on their UST sites. Thanks to a 2017 change in state law, PLIA now has the statutory authority to provide technical oversight and write opinions--something only Ecology previously had--on UST sites, thus giving site owners and operators a new alternative to the state’s traditional Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) process.

With over a decade of petroleum site cleanup experience, Aspect’s Senior Engineer Eric Marhofer gives a primer on the potential PTAP has for UST owners.

What does the new PTAP Program Mean for Site Owners? 

The nuance of PLIA’s approach is to work more collaboratively with site owners--for example, they plan to hold an intake meeting at the outset upon enrollment to review the site status with the applicant and set achievable milestones. PLIA is looking to provide more certainty upfront, and quicker, more pragmatic opinions and responses throughout the process. The goal is to efficiently move sites toward a “No Further Action” determination and, ultimately, allow the owner to return their site to a business asset instead of a liability. 

Additionally, the PTAP may work more seamlessly for site owners already working in cooperation with PLIA through their Commercial Reinsurance and/or Loan and Grant programs.

There’s a number of PLIA financing and insurance options available to help UST owners and operators move their sites towards closure.

What’s the Process?

PLIA is looking to offer a streamlined application and approval process, a one-time flat fee of $7,500 for service (vs. hourly billing for review and opinions in the VCP), an intake meeting with senior technical staff to review your Site (which does not typically happen in the VCP), and faster turn-around times for written opinions (a goal of 45 days versus 90+ days with Ecology).  

PTAP’s Program begins accepting applications January 2, 2018.

Are there any risks?

Depending on how much regulatory oversight is anticipated, a flat-fee of $7,500 may not make sense for some sites. However, for more complex sites that may need multiple opinions over the life of the investigation and cleanup, that fee will likely represent a good value. 
There are also certain factors site owners will want to consider when determining whether their site qualifies for PTAP. For example, there can be no impacts to sediment or surface water and there can be no co-mingled, non-petroleum contamination. Additionally, sites facing litigation may not qualify. If the site is disqualified for one or more reasons after enrollment in PTAP, it is unclear whether the enrollment fee is refundable.

PTAP eligibility criteria.

PLIA also expects actionable steps to be taken on the part of the applicant/owners to move forward with investigations and cleanups once accepted to the program.  In other words, PLIA will not be a safe harbor for Sites to enroll to avoid Ecology enforcement but not take any actions to investigate or clean up their site.  Sites may be disqualified from the program for inactivity and the enrollment fee may not be refundable.  

Learn more here: http://plia.wa.gov/ptap/ or contact Eric at emarhofer@aspectconsulting.com.

Aspect Staff Volunteers Design and Muscle for new Rain Gardens at Carnation Elementary School

Over this past summer, Aspect’s Owen Reese was invited by Stewardship Partners to provide pro bono design for a pair of rain gardens at Carnation Elementary School. The project is part of a long-standing partnership between the Snoqualmie Tribe and Stewardship Partners to plant and promote native species and educate communities on water quality protection. The goal of this demonstration project is to improve infiltration, replace non-native vegetation, and create wildlife habitat. The rain gardens will infiltrate runoff from approximately 6,500 square feet of the school’s roof.  

This fall, several Aspect staff, along with volunteers from Stewardship Partners and Carnation Elementary School, gave a Saturday to prepare the rain gardens for planting by shoveling dirt to create the final shape of the rain gardens and place 4 tons of river rock to line the conveyance channels. It was great fun and a good workout!

The school kids will be planting the rain gardens in a few weeks, incorporating native plants selected by the Snoqualmie Tribe as culturally significant.

New Yakima County Utility Attempting to Balance Rural Development and Water Use

Yakima County is investing $500,000 in grant money to establish a utility it hopes will help resolve water rights and water use conflicts for new developments in rural areas of Yakima County. Aspect’s Dan Haller was asked to weigh on the current value of water rights in the region based on our work assisting Kittitas, Spokane, Chelan, Klickitat, and other counties facing similar issues.  Read the full article HERE.

Meet Caroline Van Slyke

Caroline Van Slyke recently joined Aspect's Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know her better.

    Caroline Van Slyke, Senior CAD Specialist

    Van Slyke.jpeg

    1. Where are you from?

    I hail from a small town in northeast Ohio that had one stop light. We lived on a dirt road and couldn’t see the neighbor’s house because it was too far away.  After years of high humidity, winter blizzards, and lake-effect snow, I packed everything up and headed west to the Emerald City of Seattle.  I’ve been here for almost 30 years and never tire of this beautiful state.

    2.    What inspired you to pursue CAD? What made you curious about it?

    To me, CAD wouldn’t exist if drafting never existed. One of the classes I took during my senior year in high school was a drafting class where we used pencils and T-squares because CAD did not exist.  The subject matter came very easily and as a result, I was put into a small subset of students affectionately named “All You Others” that did advanced studies while the rest of the class followed the standard curriculum.  it was so enjoyable that I decided to pursue an AA in Mechanical Engineering.

    3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 

    Every day, there is something new and exciting to work on!  Over my career, I have helped engineering professionals with many different projects spanning all engineering disciplines, which affords exciting learning opportunities daily.  It’s fun to have a pulse on the Puget Sound region by way of being involved with projects in our line of work.

    4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 

    I secretly rock out and play the blues on my guitar and when it’s not raining, drive my car around the track at Pacific Northwest Raceways at high velocities.  I also indulge in video games when time permits.

    5.    What is the most unusual thing in your wallet, pocket, or purse right at this moment?

    Just for conversation starters, I have a 45-rpm record adapter that I will occasionally show to a post-vinyl record era person and see if they can guess what it is.

    Carla Brock Appointed to Washington State Geologist Licensing Board

    Carla Brock, an Associate Geologist with Aspect, was recently appointed to the Washington State Geologist Licensing Board. The board consists of 7 members—5 licensed geologists, 1 public member, and the Department of Natural Resources’ Washington State Geologist. The board is responsible for licensing geologists within the state, investigating violations of state regulations related to the practice of geology, and recommending rules and regulations for administering licensing and regulatory laws. In addition to attending board meetings, Carla will join the other members in providing professional knowledge to improve services to geologists and the public. Congratulations Carla!

    Worldwide Great Shakeout: Are You Earthquake Prepared?

    Stocked up? Emergency plan written and communicated? Even if you feel behind, just starting the process is a great first step.


    Today is the Great Shakeout in the Pacific Northwest and worldwide.

    See the resources below to get prepared in our “seismically rich” part of our world, including thoughts by Aspect’s very own geologic expert Dave McCormack on the science and potential of the Cascadia Subduction Zone i.e., the “Big One” occurring:

    Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill

    A Geologist’s Thoughtson the Pacific Northwest Mega Quake Story

    Get Ready to Rumble: A Guide to Earthquake Preparedness by the Seattle Times

    What Can I Do? Emergency Guide: From the City of Seattle's Emergency Management Guide

    Meet Mari Otto and Meilani Lanier-Kamaha'o

    Mari Otto and Meilani Lanier-Kamaha'o recently joined Aspect's Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

      Mari Otto, Staff Geotechnical Engineer

      mari and friend.jpg

      1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
      I am from a little tiny archipelago in the Pacific called Palau. Not a lot of people have heard of it, so if you want to learn about it come find me – I love talking about home. It’s a great place to grow up – lots of great diving spots and pretty scenery. I spent almost my entire childhood running around (or more often than not, swimming around) having a blast. 

      I came to the US to study civil engineering at UH Manoa in Hawaii and I worked in New Zealand before deciding to come to Seattle for grad school at UW. Then I decided I like the Pacific Northwest so much, I might as well stay here for a few more years! 

      2.    What inspired you to pursue geotechnical engineering? What made you curious about it?
      My geotech professor in undergrad was a great teacher and he had a lot of cool stories about working as a consultant on the Boston Big Dig. Taking my geotech courses from him made me want to learn more about working in this field. 

      3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
      My favorite part about geotech is that it involves a lot of hands-on work and going out in the field. Don’t get me wrong, I like being nice and comfy in the office - but if I was inside all the time, I would probably go a little stir-crazy.

      4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
      I’m still a total Seattle/WA noob, so I’m trying to spend more time exploring the area, hiking, and looking for my future favorite food spots. On lazy days, I like to hang out and read, play guitar (badly), and watch sci-fi/horror movies.

      5.    Where would your dream house be located?
      I’ve actually put a lot of thought into my dream house. It’ll be in Palau, at a nice spot not too far from the beach. It’ll be timber-framed, with an awesome deck for BBQs and viewing the ocean. Ideally, it’ll have a good surf/paddling spot nearby so I could go out on the water every morning.

      Meilani Lanier-Kamaha'o, Project Geologist

      Utah's Arches National Park

      Utah's Arches National Park

      1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
      I grew up between Santa Cruz and Valley Center, California – i.e., a proud-to-be-tree-huggers bubble on the Monterey Bay where the Redwoods meet the Pacific Ocean versus the granite hills covered in avocado and citrus groves in the northeast corner of San Diego. In the past dozen years, I’ve lived in Los Angeles, Ellensburg, north county San Diego, and Orange County. The Cascades stole my heart when I flew over them on my way to Missoula in 2010 and after marrying a local – and living throughout the southern California megalopolis – it only made sense to come back to the mountains!

      2.    What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it?
      Like knowing an older sibling, I do not remember I time when I was not interested in the earth and sky. As a child, I was transfixed by characters that made mountains, chased stars, sent storms around the earth with a breath, or pierced into the core of the earth or sea to find whole new worlds. I also had the benefit of living in spectacular parts of California and was surrounded by an environmentally conscious community. By the time geology entered my life academically it just made sense to me. Genie Elliott introduced me to plate tectonics and Dr. Ann Blythe introduced me to research and career opportunities. So, I pursued a career that was intuitive, generally involved being outdoors, and helped preserved the natural resources I love.

      3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
      Geology is pretty unique in its physicality compared to other sciences. Our laboratory is everywhere around us, even if covered by concrete and maybe especially in those instances where we manipulate and apply our knowledge of geology. I love that geology exists on so many scales from mountain building and planetary evolution to fractional crystallization and microns. For me environmental consulting is like conducting many little research projects; predicting what’s in the subsurface then finding out. I love when everything I’ve learned is true but also when something different is going on.  Our work directly relates to society and I love working in teams of multidisciplinary professionals. 

      4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
      Generally being outdoors is what I love, be that hiking, cycling, running, swimming, or sitting with a tasty beer. When there isn’t time for an outing I end up doing miscellaneous projects including building shelves, bedframes, crocheting, sewing, or dabbling in painting and drawing. When I’m not talking with my husband about social justice, the state of education, implicit bias, or all the possibilities of our future, I try to sit down with an instrument and fumble through the process of learning or re-learning how to play it. All that aside, most days my happy place is cooking up delicious food in the kitchen. Vegetables are my thing and trying different spices, sauces, and new ways to prepare could-get-boring-ingredients is fun, calming, and I get to enjoy (EAT) my hard work! 

      5.    Where would your dream house be located? 
      I am a soul divided: 

      1. My dream house would certainly be located in the sky. I’m not yet sure of the logistics, either a semi-permanent cloud city (semi-permanent because I’d still want other clouds, the ones not supporting my house, to be floating by from time to time) or suspended mountains with little root cities on their undersides.
      2. My dream house would certainly be located in the Shire. Beautiful round doorway leading into a cozy home INSIDE A HILL or MOUNTAIN. Gardens, mead, and mountains!

      30 Years and Beyond: Caring for Landfills Post Closure

      For landfill owners and operators, an ounce of prevention can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars of cure. Read Chris Augistine’s DJC article about navigating the regulatory requirements and applying strategies to reduce monitoring requirements, save money, and successfully plan for post-closure care at closed landfills.


      Aspect's Dan Haller Presenting on Water Law, Water Banking, and Water Rights - 9/28 & 9/29

      Washington Public Utility District Association Conference - 9/28

      On day two of this year’s WPUDA conference in Leavenworth, Aspect’s Dan Haller will be participating on a morning session panel titled “What’s a Water Bank and How Does it Work?” During the afternoon sessions, Dan will be giving a Water Rights 101 presentation.  Public Utility District's manage numerous water rights over domestic systems, dams, hatcheries, and Parks, which put them in a unique position to participating water Banks to accomplish their overall District. Protecting District water rights is a key priority to ensure they are available for multiple District business needs.

      Yakima County Bar Association - 9/29

      Dan will be giving a presentation on the Hirst decision and how it affects Eastern Washington water rights to the Yakima County Bar Association September 29th. The Hirst decision changed the regulatory framework of County rural building permit and land use policies and is prompting numerous changes from new regulations, moratoriums on building, creation of water Banks, and water write transactions.

      Aspect's Summer of Sports

      For many Aspect staffers, the dry summer months are usually spent out in the field. This season, it was true in more ways than one. Our summer was bookended by sporting events that took us out into the “fields” down the street from our Seattle office. 

      In June, the women of Aspect attended a Seattle Mariners matinee game vs. the Philadelphia Phillies at Safeco Field. Adorned in matching tees made especially for the outing, the group indulged in gigantic soft pretzels and other ballpark sundries in between cheering for pitcher Felix Hernandez’s fine outing and the Mariners’ three home runs of the day.

      In August, Aspect staff was three rows strong (and several garlic fry orders deep) at Century Link Field as the Seattle Sounders took on the Portland Timbers. Despite both team’s valiant efforts and the ever-present cheers from the crowd, the final score was 1-1. The tie may be frustrating for most fans, but it did make for far less tension between the Seattle and Portland offices at staff meetings the next morning. 

      Finally, in September, two Aspect teams (Aspect Earth and Aspect Water) participated in the 2017 Kickball Without Borders Event - a fundraiser organized by the Puget Sound Chapter of Engineers Without Borders for its international projects in Nicaragua, Uganda, and Sierra Leone. We showed up, we tried hard, we had fun, and we exited the tournament early with pulled hammies and bruised egos. There's always next year!   

      A big-screen Mariners welcome for Aspect's ladies

      The Women of Aspect and their custom tees

      The ladies' vantage point for the Mariners' matinee

      The Aspect crew catches the last rays of sun at the Sounders match

      The Aspect crew catches the last rays of sun at the Sounders match

      The Sounders at sunse

      Can you spot the Space Needle?

      Aspect Earth and Aspect Water kickball teams

      From Water Wars to Water Policy – 100 Years of Washington Water Code

      This year marks 100 Years of water rights in Washington state. In parallel with this centennial, water rights have received a flood of recent attention in the public eye, primarily because of the role the Hirst decision has played in halting the state’s $4 Billion capital budget.

      Image credit: Washington State Department of Ecology

      Image credit: Washington State Department of Ecology

      To take the pulse of the water managers, policy makers, and others who steer water law in the state, Aspect conducted a reporter’s roundtable to hear thoughts on Washington water policy today and for the future. Read their account in this month’s “The Water Report”, as well as a fascinating look back to the pre-code, wild west era where dynamite was occasionally preferred as a dispute resolution tool for water management.

      Also, be sure to check out the excellent story map and video series developed by the Washington State Department of Ecology on this topic. Lastly, the water code centennial will be the center of attention of next month’s American Water Resources Association – Washington Section (AWRA-WA) State Conference,  October 3, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.  

      Seeing the Finish Line on New Lake Chelan Water Resources

      Chelan PUD and Ecology, with technical water rights support from Aspect, are close to finalizing an agreement that frees up over 5,200 acre-feet per year of water rights for new development in the Lake Chelan Basin. This exciting milestone is the result of years of work by Ecology and Chelan PUD to assess how much water remains in a 65,000 acre-feet annual water reserve described in a 1992 Agreement. Read more details in the Wenatchee World article HERE.

      Reach 4 of the Chelan River

      Reach 4 of the Chelan River

      Looking Forward to StormCon – August 27-31

      Aspect is excited to attend and present at the 16th Annual StormCon, August 27-31 in Bellevue, WA this year. This national conference, organized by Forester Media, offers a vast curriculum of workshops, certifications, and presentations focused on surface water quality. A diverse range of topics will be available over six tracks ranging from cutting edge research and technologies to lessons learned managing stormwater in various settings. Aspect’s Tom Atkins, Senior Associate Engineer, and James Packman, Senior Hydrologist, will be presenting on three topics at this year’s event. 

      On Tuesday, August 29th, James Packman will be presenting with Beth Schmoyer from the City of Seattle on the design and testing results of an R&D pilot project to develop a new suspended solids fluvial sampling device (a.k.a. sediment trap). Later in the day, Tom Atkins will be presenting on the systematic approach and successful strategies that were used to achieve stormwater regulatory compliance at Maxum Petroleum’s diesel fueling and petroleum fuel/lubricant shipping and receiving facility located on Harbor Island in Seattle.

      During the Wednesday, August 30th sessions, James will be presenting again, this time alongside Greg Vigoren from the City of Lakewood on the results of a regional evaluation of municipal stormwater source control inspection data. The project is part of the western Washington Stormwater Action Monitoring program and is the first time a regional evaluation of this type of data has been done in Washington.

      Possible Solutions for the Future of Icicle Creek Basin Water Resources

      The 200-square-mile Icicle Creek basin in central Washington is the heart of the region’s agricultural, fisheries, and outdoor recreation resources. For years, the competing demands of stakeholders has resulted in a critical need to improve the basin’s conditions to reliably supply water to a variety of concerned groups.  Mike Kaputa, Director of Chelan County’s Natural Resources Department, recently wrote an in-depth article for The Water Report covering the complex web of conflicts and possible emerging solutions for this highly scrutinized water basin. Read the article HERE