Serving professionals in engineering, environmental, and groundwater geology
since 1957

January Meeting of the
Southern California Chapter

***Tuesday, January 15, 2019***

We are fortunate to host the AEG/GSA 2018/2019 Jahns Lecturer, Deborah Green, visiting southern California and presenting at our AEG Southern California Chapter meeting on Tuesday, January 15th. I hope you will join us for this special event to be held at Cisco’s Mexican Restaurant of Thousand Oaks.

Deborah Green is the 2018-2019 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Applied Geology. The Jahns Distinguished Lectureship, established in 1988, is sponsored by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists and the Geological Society of America Engineering Geology Division. Its purpose is to provide funding for distinguished engineering geologists to present lectures at colleges and universities to increase awareness of students about careers in engineering geology. The lectureship is named in honor of Dr. Richard H. Jahns (1915-1983), an engineering geologist who had a diverse and distinguished career in academia, consulting and government.

Our speaker for this meeting will be Deborah Green. Deb worked as an environmental and engineering geologist for 34 years in consulting and industry. She earned a B.S. in geology from the University of Rochester and an M.S. in engineering geology from Texas A&M University. These days, Deb spends most of her time writing and publishing essays on her website Through her writing, Deb strives to understand and convey the wonder of the landscape and the complexity of earth processes, while also exploring the terrain of our lives.

Topic: "A Tale of Two Waste Sites"

Speaker: Deborah Green
AEG/GSA Jahns Lecturer

Location: Cisco's Mexican Restaurant
1712 E Avenida De Los Arboles
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 493-0533

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 15, 2019
5:45pm - Social Hour
6:45pm - Dinner
7:45pm - Program

Cost: $40 per person with reservations in advance for AEG members,
$45 without reservations (at the door) and non-members,
$25 for students with a valid student ID.

Reservations: Please email Matt Pendleton at: or call (213) 321-8398
Please make reservations prior to
12:00 noon, Monday, January 14th.

Once upon a time, decades ago, before many an environmental regulation was promulgated, a consulting geologist was contracted to evaluate a site for development as a low-level radioactive waste facility. The geologist summarized the regional and site-specific geology and hydrology. In his report, based on what he’d researched and observed, he discussed potential consequences depending on how the facility would be operated. If waste containers were emplaced in a manner that maintained their integrity and the trenches were covered when not actively in use, the geologist surmised the site had a high probability of functioning safely and effectively. In that case, the possibility of leachate accumulating within the trenches, resulting in perched water tens of feet higher in elevation than the regional groundwater level, would be minimized. Unfortunately, the tale of that waste site is fictional. The non-fictional waste site’s story has the same opening chapter, but the operational constraints outlined by the geologist were not followed. The site received and co-disposed low-level radioactive wastes and those that would later be classified as hazardous wastes in a total of 52 trenches. Waste containers haphazardly filled the trenches, were breached as they settled, and precipitation collected. Indeed, the warnings in the geologist's report were correct. Leachate formed in the trenches resulting in numerous contaminants, from tritium (which migrated at the same rate as water itself) to complex organic compounds (which underwent retardation, but still impacted the surrounding environment), flowing from the site in a newly-created shallow, perched water zone, years later daylighting on the hillsides and in the creeks down gradient of the site. This waste site’s last chapter was written in a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study when it was listed as a Superfund site. We'll talk about how more sites can have happy endings, when the story the geology tells is heeded.