Subsurface Investigation

Written by Amy Hall
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What Is Subsurface Investigation?

Subsurface investigation is a way of determining what utilities lay beneath the surface using Ground Penetrating Radar. GPR allows people in the fields of engineering, mining, archeaology, and geology determine what subsurface utilities lurk below the surface using non-destructive testing. This means that with specialized equipment, it is entirely possible to accurately locate subsurface utilities without ever having to disturb the surface by digging, cutting, or coring blindly.

This is a much safer alternative to actually manually going in and digging to locate such utilities. Searching for rebar, conduit, and cables in this fashion can lead to electrocution, fires, or flooding. Obviously, this is not the safest way to go about searching for and locating utilities underground.

The Better Alternative

GPR systems really allow engineers and geologists and miners to do their jobs efficiently and safely. Any time a highway structure, a bridge, a parking garage, or a hospital goes into construction, it is necessary to know the layout of utilities beforehand. Subsurface investigation permits workers to go in and start building, without the hassle or worry of having to locate subsurface utilities as they go.

This automatically saves time, which ultimately saves money. In fact, a study was done recently by Purdue University, who was commissioned by the Federal Highway Administration to find out how much money is saved when subsurface investigation is done prior to construction. The research showed that a savings of $4.62 in avoided costs for every $1.00 spent resulted when subsurface exploration was done prior to construction.


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