Geotechnical and Materials Testing Services Section
The Geotechnical and Materials Testing Services (GMaTS) Section supports PM&E and other muni departments, offering geotechnical and environmental site evaluation studies, certifying construction materials comply with specifications, and providing quality control and acceptance testing of materials during construction. GMaTS works with design engineers to develop subsurface exploration programs that are cost-effective while still adequately addressing the project needs. Designing for the presence of frost-susceptible soils, other problematic soils such as peat, other organic-rich soils, and random fill, and shallow groundwater are typically some of the biggest engineering challenges faced by our designers on infrastructure projects. Developing an understanding of subsurface conditions early in project design helps focus efforts on mitigating the effects of adverse subsurface conditions. Knowing what lies below substantially reduces the risks faced by the municipality and our contractors.
The Muni considers the testing of construction materials to be an essential component of both the design and manufacturing processes. Both the quality of materials and the production procedures used to place them can affect the performance and durability of the completed project. The GMaTS provides both quality control and quality assurance testing services during construction of Municipal capital improvement projects, primarily on Portland cement concrete mixtures, a multitude of asphalt surfacing products, and various combinations of aggregates and soil combinations to verify compliance with specifications.
Other responsibilities of the GMaTS include liaising with the Geotechnical Advisory Commission, managing records of historical subsurface explorations, providing testing services to other Municipal divisions, such as Street Maintenance and AWWU, and researching possible new or alternative materials.
The Geotechnical Advisory Commission is a nine-member board that provides professional advice to the Municipality on issues relating to natural hazards risk mitigation. Staffed by the Planning Department, the commission's web page is here.
The Municipality's library of subsurface explorations, previously maintained as paper records, was recently digitized and added to the Muni GIS program. The Soil Boring app allows anyone to navigate to a place of interest, see the locations of historical borings in the area, and to view and download individual boring records as pdf files. The app can be accessed by clicking here.