A Geotechnical Engineer's Perspective on World Soil Day

Preserving Soil Sustainability: A Geotechnical Engineer’s Perspective on World Soil Day

Written by Vanessa Marshall, National Practice Leader, Geotechnical ServicesPinchin Ltd.

“As a geotechnical engineer I am involved with industrial, commercial and residential projects of greenfield lands. On this World Soil Day, I am reminded that the geotechnical recommendations that I provide for future development need to be sustainable recommendations for future life on our planet.” – Vanessa Marshall

World Soil Day is an annual event that promotes the significance of soil in supporting life on Earth. It aims to educate individuals and communities about the essential role that soil plays in agriculture, food security, biodiversity, climate regulation, and more. This year’s theme is Soil and Water: A Source of Life and reminds us that soil and water are interdependent to providing the necessities for food production, healthy ecosystems, and human well-being.
At Pinchin, we are always looking for innovative and sustainable solutions to better manage the reuse of soil at a Site. Soil is a finite resource, meaning its loss and degradation is not recoverable within a human lifespan. The conventional removal of poor soil (fill and organics) and replacement with granular material will continue to rise in costs as we deplete our aggregate resources. Rather than removal and replacement, the use of crushed concrete instead of imported granular material and geogrids reduce granular thicknesses and soil improvement techniques. These solutions all allow a site to become “buildable” without excessive soil waste or the need to use excessive aggregate resources.

Soil Movement and Removal

Another area of focus is providing solutions that minimize soil erosion along rivers, creeks, and streams. Ensuring that channels are designed and finished on the surface in such a way that groundwater is allowed to infiltrate and flow slowly and rapidly runoff. Additionally, ensuring that the design assists with the handling of rainfall and snow melt that are continuing to occur and increase from these larger climate events we are experiencing. Allowing water to infiltrate along creeks and channels will trap pollutants and in turn, prevents them from leaching into the groundwater, assisting with keeping our food and drinking water sources safe.

Groundwater discharge
Melt of snow and rapid runoff
A geotechnical engineer investigating soil erosion

Soil is generally ignored or forgotten about but is always underfoot. On this World Soil Day remember that soil is not just dirt, but that soil and water provide the foundation for food production, ecosystems, and human well-being. Recognizing their invaluable roles, we need to continue to take proactive measures to safeguard these resources for future generations.

At Pinchin, our commitment to environmental care is deeply ingrained in our company values and Corporate Social Responsibility. Preserving the environment is fundamental to our identity. Within our Geotechnical Services, we combine technical expertise with a strong focus on environmental responsibility. We take proactive steps to minimize our impact, especially in safeguarding water and soil resources. For a detailed insight into our initiatives for water and soil conservation, explore our comprehensive Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report here and visit our Corporate Social Responsibility web page. 

To learn more about our Geotechnical Services, please visit – Geotechnical Services (pinchin.com)