March 2019 Print

President's Report

This month I had several opportunities to meet with ASCE Student Chapters and branch members and celebrate National Engineer’s Week. I really enjoyed meeting members of the Utah State University (USU) and Brigham Young University (BYU) Student Chapters. Getting to meet the amazing members of ASCE is still my favorite part about serving as the Utah Section President.

On Wednesday February 6, 2019 I attended the BYU ASCE Networking Dinner in the new BYU Engineering Building. I was able to sit at a table sponsored by my company (J-U-B Engineers) and talk to several engineering students about their studies and career goals. Students rotated from table to table so that they could visit with as many practicing engineers as they could. The students were really engaged and excited to start a career in the engineering field. What a wonderful event and I applaud the BYU Student Chapter for all their efforts to put together this event.

On Monday February 11, 2019 I was able to visit the USU campus and attend the USU ASCE Student Chapters Networking Luncheon. This event was combined with the Northern Utah Branch monthly luncheon and was held in the Perry Pavilion in the new Business Building. They had a great turnout of practicing engineers and students. I think the practicing engineers outnumbered the students. The student chapter asked me to speak at the event about the benefits of continuing ASCE membership after graduation. I was able to share with them my experience with ASCE and the benefits that I have seen through my service and activity in the organization. I also talked about ASCE’s Dream Big movie and encouraged everyone to watch it and share it with the next generation of engineers. We were also privileged to hear from Mark Nielsen from Logan City about the City’s new wastewater treatment plant. It was very interesting. Thank you to the ASCE USU Student Chapter for inviting me to the meeting. It was a huge success.

To celebrate National Engineers Week this year the Section teamed with ACEC to visit Liberty Elementary in Salt Lake City. There are several students at this school that come from underprivileged situations but have a terrific attitude. Several students are from homeless families or are refugees. We started Engineers Week on Tuesday February 19, 2019 by showing Dream Big to the students. The Salt Lake City Public Library donated the use of their theater, and the students walked the six blocks from school, in bitterly cold weather, to watch the movie. There were several volunteers that met the students and the school and helped escort them and their teachers to and from the library. The movie was a hit and the students really liked it.

The following day we went to Liberty Elementary and visited with each classroom. We had over 25 volunteers show up to the activity and we were able to put a couple volunteers in each classroom to talk about their jobs and then do a fun, hands-on activity. We had a different activity for each grade that would capture their fascination with science and engineering. Below is a list of the activities.

·         Pre-Kindergarten – Sorting Pasta

·         Kindergarten – Straw Rockets

·         1st Grade – Paper Airplanes

·         2nd Grade – Egg Drop

·         3rd Grade – Egg Drop

·         4th Grade – Water Filter

·         5th Grade – Shake Table

·         6th Grade – Building things to scale

We had a ton of fun, learned about engineering and broke a lot of eggs. The school staff dropped the eggs from the roof of the school and the kids had a blast watching them break. There were even a few that survived the fall. One of our volunteers had a very cool groundwater model and shared it with the 4th grade students. It was fascinating, and the kids loved it.

That evening after visiting the classrooms we attended the school’s STEM night and showcased all the activities to the students and their parents. We then allowed the students families to participate in the activities and create their own projects. The egg drop was part of those activities and we broke a lot more eggs. Chemistry students from BYU also attended and put on a chemistry magic show for the kids. It was an amazing evening and I want to thank all the volunteers that helped with the movie, classroom activities and STEM night. You all made a huge difference in the lives of these students.

I would like to recognize the following companies and organizations that provided volunteers for this event (I apologize if I missed anyone).  

·         Utah Department of Transportation

·         J-U-B Engineers, Inc.

·         The Langdon Group

·         Psomas

·         Kleinfelder

·         CRS Engineers

·         HDR

·         Stantec

·         Perigree Civil

·         LDS Church

I also want to announce that the ASCE Utah Section is kicking off the update to the Utah State Infrastructure Report Card that was released in 2015. We are in the organizing stage and doing our research on the process for updating the report card. We will need volunteers help with this effort and I would ask for any of our ASCE members who are interested to contact me or John Diamond. We could sure use your help. Our goal is to complete the report card and release it in February 2021.

Thank you for all you do and keep up the good work.


Craig Friant, PE M. ASCE

ASCE Utah Section President

Liberty Dream Big Movie

Liberty Elementary Dream Big Movie

Liberty Elementary Egg Drop

USU Networking Lunch

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Technical Article

I have had many opportunities to work with Willowstick Technologies in mapping groundwater preferential flow paths for clients in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. Willowstick Technologies, LLC, based in Draper, Utah offers a patented electromagnetic induction technology that is quick, non-intrusive, and revolutionary in its ability to efficiently and effectively gather massive amounts of data to identify and map groundwater flow paths.

How Does it Work?

The Willowstick Technologies method introduces a low-voltage, low-amperage electrical current directly into the subsurface water of interest. This electric current, the same as all electric currents, generates a magnetic field. This alternating magnetic field is then measured with sensitive instruments at the surface of the ground.

The magnetic field is generated by a large electric circuit consisting of three parts: (1) the circuit wire connecting two electrodes; (2) the electrodes or points of coupling with the earth; and (3) the targeted subsurface study area itself, which is typically located between the electrodes that are strategically placed in direct contact with water.

To investigate a leaking dam, for example, one electrode is placed in the reservoir upstream of the dam. The return electrode is placed in contact with water downstream of the dam such as seepages or observation wells to facilitate contact with seepage flowing through or under the dam. The electric current follows any preferential pathways and concentrates in zones within the saturated subsurface that offer the least resistance through, beneath, and/or around the dam’s structure. In most cases, the paths of least resistance for electrical current are those which follow paths of higher interconnected porosity within the saturated subsurface. As the alternating electrical current takes various preferential flow paths through, beneath and/or around the dam, it generates a magnetic field characteristic of the electrical current.

On the Surface

This specific magnetic field is identified and surveyed at the ground’s surface in a grid pattern using roving highly sensitive magnetic receivers. The magnetic field magnitudes are measured at each grid point on the surface of the ground to define the distribution and connection patterns of the electrical current. The locations (coordinates) of measurement stations are obtained using Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and are recorded along with the magnetic field data.

Preferential Flow Path

The measured magnetic data are then processed, contoured, modelled and interpreted in conjunction with existing hydrogeologic information to enhance the characterisation of seepage paths beneath the area of investigation. Following initial data reduction and removal of cultural interferences, a “filtered” magnetic field map or “footprint map” is prepared to help identify the electrical current distribution beneath the study area.

The shape of the contour lines reveals electric current flow patterns related to subsurface conductive pathways intensity and identifies the center position of the preferential electric current flow paths.

Knowledge is Power

The Willowstick Technology is particularly useful in helping to identify and confirm groundwater flow path locations. It is viewed as a means to guide and direct traditional exploratory work such as drilling campaigns in order to improve groundwater characterization efficiencies and to arrive at conclusive answers about specific groundwater issues.

It has demonstrated that a better understanding of groundwater conditions can significantly reduce costs, increase revenues, and improve safety factors for those working with groundwater-related challenges.

- Eric E. Dursteler, P.E., C.F.M.

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Northern Utah Branch Update

In the month of February, our regular lunch and learn was replaced by a networking luncheon with Utah State University (USU). The event was organized by Karl Christensen who is currently serving as the USU ASCE Student Chapter President. We had a large number of professionals in attendance who were able to meet and enjoy lunch with the USU engineering students. Mark Nelson gave an interesting presentation on the Logan City Waste Water Treatment facility which is currently under construction. We also enjoyed a presentation by Craig Friant which helped the students understand the benefits and importance of ASCE.

For March we are planning on having a site visit to the Logan City Wastewater Treatment facility which will serve as a follow up to Mark’s presentation at the networking luncheon. The projected cost for this project exceeds $100 million. Mark is going to accompany us throughout our tour of the project and explain the current and planned processes for construction. During our visit we will enjoy pizza for lunch.

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Younger Member Forum

Recap of Recent Events

Thank you to everyone that was able to help out with our Ronald McDonald House charity event in February. The meal was well prepared and greatly appreciated!

We’d also like to thank those that participated in E-Week outreach activities.

Several of our board members kicked off March by attending the annual WRYMC Conference in Honolulu Hawaii. The event included leadership tips, technical presentations and tours, as well as plenty of opportunities to meet other likeminded engineers across the western region. It’s refreshing to see such a large group of people come together around a common cause with such passion and intent to truly build a better world. We were able to financially support three student chapters as well to help them attend: University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University. Watch for the April Newsletter to hear about their learned lessons and experiences at the conference.

We were also proud to see our fellow Utahn and National ASCE President Elect, Guna Gunalan, make such a positive impression on our ASCE Younger Members. There is no doubt he will be a tremendous leader for ASCE.

 Ongoing and Upcoming Events

From March 12-15 the YMF is judging and presenting awards to Elementary, Middle School, and High School students participating in the annual University Science and Engineering Fair (USEF) hosted by the University of Utah. We are awarding 9 cash prizes to students whose projects demonstrate significant knowledge, research, and application of the challenges faced by civil engineering.

On March 20, the YMF will be doing a joint technical tour of the airport with the University of Utah.

On March 22, we will be joining the Wasatch Branch on their tour of the Holly Refinery.

Please RSVP to [email protected] to coordinate ride sharing for either of the technical tours.

March 25 we will be hosting a joint social with the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Younger Member Group. We will be meeting at Prohibition at 7:30 for Trivia Night starting at 8:00 pm. You don’t want to miss this one!

Finally, we are wrapping up our PE Review Course on March 14. A special thank you to all our instructors for volunteering their time. We’d also like to acknowledge WTS for teaming with us to promote each other and coordinate study sessions alongside our classes to better benefit our members.

Good luck to all taking the exam in April!

Heather Hamilton

ASCE Utah YMF, President

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Central Utah Branch Update


The CUB met with the BYU Student Chapter for Engineer’s Week at the BYU Campus.  Tom Holmoe, the Director of BYU Athletics gave a motivational speech. The presentation was well attended by BYU students and the CUB members.


Call for Presentation Ideas

CUB is still looking for presentation ideas for the upcoming months.  We are interested in having presentations on projects, research, historical information, and ethics discussions from across the civil engineering spectrum (geotech, transportation, water, structures, etc…).  Please contact Ben Willardson at [email protected], or call him at (801) 310-6153 if you are interested in presenting to the group.  We would love to hear from you.


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Southern Utah Branch Update

In February, we held our annual ASCE/APWA Southern Utah Conference. The conference was well attended. We had great presentations and a fantastic golf outing on the final day of the conference. I’ve attached the conference agenda in case you’d like to include it in in the records.


We are also working on organizing an effort to talk about “Dream Big” with several schools here is Southern Utah. We have several volunteers that we will assign to the schools around the area.


Our next activity/luncheon is scheduled for March 21st. Michael Smith with ACEC will be discussing the most recent legislative session with our branch.

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Structural Engineering Institute Chapter

We’ve survived yet another transition to Daylight Saving Time. While I don’t like the process, I do like the result.  I enjoy the evening daylight to play outside with my kids and to coach mountain biking.  Without that hour of evening daylight in the fall, we’d be toast, or riding with headlamps.

We have a couple of events coming up.  Laurie Johnson, president of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) will be speaking in Room ARH 127 at the University of Utah on March 21 at 5:15 p.m.  Her topic is Community Recovery after Great Disasters, which is part of the Year of Resilience series.  

Structures Congress 2019 is next month, April 24-27 in Orlando, Florida.  March 20 is the advance registration deadline, and April 2 is the hotel block deadline. Visit the official conference website for all of the up-to-date information.  It’s a great opportunity to network with our peers and to learn what is happening nationwide.  There are options to livestream some of the conference sessions if you just can’t make it out of Utah.

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Utah Geo-Institute Chapter

Utah Geo-Institute (G-I) Chapter  By Ryan Maw & Taylor Hall

Looking ahead we wanted to provide the Utah G-I updates on the upcoming activities:

·         International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 24-27th.  This GeoCongress is unique in that it focuses on bringing together researchers, practitioners, students, and policy makers from around the globe to share their lessons learned and case histories. Additional information and registration information can be found at the following website: 

·         The Utah Chapter was awarded a guest lecture from the ASCE Geo-Institute’s Cross USA Lecturer Program this year.  Dr. Paul Mayne will be lecturing to our membership on April 24th, 2019.  As part of the event, we are looking for sponsors to support refreshments and other event expenses. If you are interested, in being a sponsor for the event, please email [email protected] for details.


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