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Mysterious Rocks – Secret Glyph, a Privateer’s Pride or Heavy Lawn Ornament?

Oct 11, 2018

Has time forgotten the meaning behind these rocks? Do you have a theory?

Last week on an archeological project in Jamestown, RI we encountered a mysterious stone arrangement. Organized in a cross formation, they aligned perfectly with the four cardinal compass directions.

We were on the Cajacet homestead, built in 1690 by famous Privateer Thomas Paine. More infamous than famous in his day, Paine skirted the line between pirate and privateer and rubbed shoulders with questionable characters like Captain Kidd.

Ultimately achieving legitimacy and high status in New England colonial society, Paine left his outlaw tendencies behind. In 1690, his naval experience proved of instrumental value when he led a small fleet in open water combat against French ships attempting to raid Block Island, forcing the would-be invaders to retreat.

Various stories surround the rocks. Some claim they were put there by Thomas Paine himself. Others believe they were put there long before and held significance to an American Indian tribe. Some even speculate that Norsemen laid them long before the Dutch settled the area.

Whether it was the Native Americans, Norseman, Dutch or Paine himself, did they hold a hidden meaning or were they simply a source of pride for a man who amassed his wealth navigating the high seas?


If you have an insight or theory behind the origin of this “compass”, we’d love hear from you.

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Do you have a Rival?

Oct 04, 2018


ri-val

late 16th century: from Latin rivalis, originally in the sense ‘person using the same stream as another,’ from rivus ‘stream.’

Rivalries have been part of the world’s history: who gets water and how water gets shared has always been a big deal. Alison M. Jones of No Water No Life recently reminded us where the word rivalry comes from. It is such a key word when governments, citizens and industries square off.

Most elementary school kids had rivals at the water fountain right after recess on a hot spring day; competing for water rights. When there is a drought, sprinkler people, pool people and car washers square off with local ordinances. Ordinances are not always easy to follow (e.g., you can wash your car on even numbered days… provided the number of the day before ended in a vowel, the moon was full and your last name started with a consonant).

We are a niche provider of rather unique, waterborne services. Providing hard scientific data, our services often help resolve rivalries. Mostly, we pinpoint and characterize things that have gone missing: UXO (bombs), contaminants, murder weapons and treasure. It’s fascinating work. We are good at it. We enjoy offering these services worldwide.



A few pop culture rivalries:

-Newman vs Seinfeld
-Good vs Evil
-LeBron James vs Stephen Curry
-David vs Goliath
-Republicans vs Democrats
-Yankees vs Red Sox

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Jul 24, 2018

View the gallery here

Blue Peter Awards Gala 2018

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NJ Governor and 23 Environmental Professionals Honored at Princeton Gala

Jun 23, 2018

“The Blue Peter Awards recognize those who have shown the difference that leaders--in any field--can make. They remind everyone that leaders are everyday people who want to make their communities better. Their example helps others to recognize that they can make a difference as well.”

-Christie Todd Whitman,
NJ Governor and Former EPA Administrator

Governor Christie Whitman and 23 environmental professionals were presented Blue Peter Awards in recognition of their remarkable leadership skills earlier this month at a special gala in Princeton, NJ.

Whitman’s acceptance comments encouraged fellow awardees and all attendees to be exceptional leaders in this time of change.

Master of ceremonies, news anchor Karen Lee, greeted guests on the red carpet and presided over the awards ceremony.

A nautical symbol, the Blue Peter signifies the ship’s crew is outward bound. The crew will ultimately share a common fate, therefore is of extreme importance to function as a team.

The projects we tackle together as an industry are complex, often involving many firms, organizations and disciplines. Just like a ship’s crew, we are in this together.

This was the fourth Blue Peter Awards event.

Ken Hayes, Aqua Survey’s president, founded the Blue Peter Awards to pay tribute to excellence in environmental leadership; honoring individuals with management skills that help projects to run more safely, timely, effectively and professionally.

For a full list of Blue Peter recipients, Click Here.

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Congratulations to the 2018 Blue Peter Award Recipients!

Jun 12, 2018

View the gallery here

Blue Peter Awards Gala 2018

Steven Sands – Clean Earth, Inc.
Stewart Abrams – Langan
George Hicks – Tetra Tech, Inc.
Cynthia Liu – Engineering/Remediation Resources Group, Inc.
Kris Hallinger – ERM Group, Inc.
Carol Shobrook – JT Cleary, Inc., A TULLY GROUP Company
Rick Beach – GZA Environmental, Inc.
Ram Mohan – Anchor QEA, LLC.
Eric Stern – Tipping Point Resource Group, LLC.
Andrew Timmis – J.F. Brennan, Inc.
Diane Evers – NOAA
Beth Styler Barry – The Nature Conservancy
Al Modjeski – American Littoral Society
Anthony LeCroy – SNF Environmental, Inc.
Matthew Behum – Integral Consulting
Jim Cleary – JT Cleary, Inc., A TULLY GROUP Company
Darrell Nicholas – Geosyntec Consultants
Tom Dolce – Aqua Survey, Inc.
Steve McGee – Tetra Tech, Inc.
Marian Young – Brightfields, Inc.
Eric Emery – Ramboll Group
Meg Pinza – EcoAnalysts, Inc.
John Hull – Hull & Associates, Inc.

- With a Special Lifetime Achievement Blue Peter Award presented to -

The Honorable Christine Todd Whitman


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Blue Peter Awards Gala Nominees Released

May 21, 2018

Celebrating Excellence in the Field of Environmental Remediation

-June 11th Princeton, NJ-


The Nominees are:

Steven Sands – Clean Earth
Stewart Abrams – Langan
George Hicks – Tetra Tech
Cynthia Liu – ERRG
Kris Hallinger – ERM
Carol Shobrook – JT Cleary
Rick Beach – GZA Environmental
Ram Mohan – Anchor QEA
Eric Stern – Tipping Point Resource Group
Andrew Timmis – J.F. Brennan
Diane Evers – NOAA
Beth Styler Barry – The Nature Conservancy
Al Modjeski – American Littoral Society
Anthony LeCroy – SNF Environmental
Matthew Behum – Integral Consulting
Jim Cleary – JT Cleary
Darrell Nicholas – Geosyntec
Tom Dolce – Aqua Survey
Steve McGee – Tetra Tech
Marian Young – Brightfields
Eric Emery – Ramboll
Meg Pinza – EcoAnalysts
John Hull – Hull & Associates

Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

What is a Blue Peter?

A nautical symbol, the Blue Peter flag signifies the ship’s crew is outward bound. The crew will ultimately share a common fate, therefore it is of extreme importance to function as a team.

Buy Tickets

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CASE STUDY: A Million Dollar Difference

Mar 06, 2018

Client avoids excess project expense via experience and wide toolset.

CLIENT NEED: For years the gun club shot at targets launched over an estuary.  For decades this seemed harmless.  But the shot was lead and after many years the State wanted to figure out where all the lead was and wasn’t.  Under several feet of water was a layer of unconsolidated sediment—black mayonnaise.  Below this strata was a layer of more consolidated sediment and then under all of this, bedrock.  If the lead was scattered top to bottom or if it were found to be in both the black mayonnaise strata and the more consolidated strata, the cleanup cost would be enormous.  If it was only in the top unconsolidated strata, the cost of cleanup would be considerably less.  And, if the lead shot had fallen through and was sitting on the bedrock, no cleanup would be required. 

SOLUTION: Aqua Survey was contracted to provide vibracore sampling in the area of concern.  Cores would penetrate to bedrock.  Providing an accurate look at the sediment strata, the cores would allow the client to know just how deep the lead had settled.

WHAT IF: The client had a concern.  What if the act of coring mixed the lead shot into in all strata, massively increasing the cost of dredging?

SOLUTION: Aqua Survey has many different makes and models of vibracore units.  Some are better suited for certain types of projects than others. They range from heavy duty 350 pound Rossfelders to more lightweight systems.  In order to determine which model would provide the minimal lead shot redistribution, an 8 foot high, 5 foot diameter container was filled with sediment.  As the container was being filled, lead shot painted different colors was placed at varying depths.  Different vibracore units were tested and a unit was found which provided essentially no redistribution of lead shot.  Surprisingly, it was one of our heavier systems, the 350 pound Rossfelder VT6, that proved to be the winner.  The gun club’s field project was completed to everyone’s satisfaction.

We’ve been in the sediment business long enough to not just have one or two kinds of solutions.  As they say, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  That’s not us.  We’re more like a well-stocked tool chest. With over four decades in business we’ve seen and overcome many unique project challenges, and, when presented with a new problem or challenge we know how to engineer the solution.  So if you are dealing with a sediment challenge and need assistance, whether it be the actual sampling or geotechnical or toxicological testing, allow us to be your expert source.

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