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Soils and Site Evaluation

for Septic Disposal Systems and Stormwater BMPs

Course Code: ES0301CA20

Soil and Site Evaluation

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Date & Time

September 23-25, 2019
9:00am - 4:30pm (Check-in time on Day 1: 8:30am)


Thousands of septic systems and stormwater basins malfunction for the same reason: failure to understand how water moves (or doesn't move!) through soil. You cannot hope to design and build these structures without a down-and-dirty understanding of these soils. That's what this hands-on course is all about.

Each day, you will spend equal time moving between lectures in the classroom to soil pits in the field, evaluating soils using your eyes, hands, and nose. You will observe, record and evaluate the site-specific soil characteristics required to write and support a complete soil log, as well as evaluate the soil and landscape data to determine design input. Most importantly, you will develop the necessary tools to determine whether a site is right – legally and practically – for a septic system or stormwater runoff Best Management Practices (BMPs) facility.

Be prepared to leave with mud on your boots! In just three days, you will learn:

  • Soil fundamentals for successful septic installation and other applications, such as wetland design and soil remediation;
  • Necessary soil features for estimating seasonal high water tables;
  • Differences between infiltration and percolation;
  • How to be more efficient (and effective!) in choosing where to test and site BMPs and septics; and
  • Why basins fail - know what to look for and how to avoid failure on your next project.

Additional Featured Topics:

  • Determining Soil by FEEL: Soil Physical Properties, Soil Texture, and the Textural Triangle
  • Soils and Geology of New Jersey
  • New Jersey Regulatory Requirements for Site Evaluation
  • The Inner-Workings of Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs)
  • County Soil Survey Reports and Web Soil Survey
  • Soil Physical Properties: Soil Structure, Texture, and Color
  • Soil Physical Properties: Coarse Fragments and Consistence
  • Permeability Testing: Where and How
  • Why Soil Morphology Matters: Septic Effluent
  • Soil Suitability and Safety in the Pits
  • Unique Local Soil Formations
  • Infiltration: What Works and What Doesn't
  • Field Determination of Mottling (Redoximorphic Features)
  • Horizon Nomenclature / Restrictive Horizons
  • Tips for Writing and Reviewing Soil Logs

Feel free to bring your own soil probing tools.

Who Should Attend this Course?

Health Officers/Registered Environmental Health Specialists - The health and safety of the public depends on your site evaluations. Increase your efficiency in the field while earning continuing education credits towards your HO/REHS license.

Engineers and Scientists - In today's economy, you can't afford to be wrong or slow. Using the Soil Survey (now online!) is only the first step in evaluating a site. Get fast in the field, too. With BMP requirements, knowing the soil limitations at the beginning can prevent costly design revisions down the road.

Soils and Site Evaluation Course: Photo Slideshow


Faculty Coordinator:

Marilyn Mroz, PE, President of Cushetunk Technical Services, Inc. and former NRCS staffer, has a unique gift for soils instruction while standing nose-deep in a soil pit. She will be assisted by a team of soil scientists from around the state.

Instructional Team:

Ray Mueller, PhD, Professor, Environmental Studies, Richard Stockton College
Edwin Muniz, Asst. State Soil Scientist, USDA, Soil Conservation Service
Stephanie Murphy, PhD, Assistant Director, Plant Diagnostics and Soil Testing Labs, Rutgers University
Fred Schoenagel, Research Soil Scientist, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Recertification Credits

In addition to 2.1 Rutgers CEUs, the soils and site evaluation course is approved for the following credits:

NJ Health Officers & Registered Environmental Health Specialists: Rutgers University, NJAES, Office of Continuing Professional Education has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Health as a provider of NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs). CEs for Soils and Site Evaluation are still pending.

NJ Certified Public Works Managers: Pending

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) Credits: Pending

NJ Professional Engineers: Pending

Home Inspectors: Pending

Recommended Textbook

Munsell Soil Color Chart - $215.00

Since there will be extensive discussion of soil color, you are encouraged to bring a soil color chart. You may bring your own or order a soil chart through our office with your registration.

Early Registration Fee $825.00 Register on or before September 10, 2019 and save!
Multi-Person Registration Fee $795.00 Register at the same time with a colleague and you both save!
Registration Fee $895.00 After September 10, 2019
Cancellation Fee $50.00  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Continental breakfast and deli buffet lunch will be provided to you at no additional cost.

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.


GPS systems may not recognize campus addresses. Even if they take you to the correct building, they will not take you to the assigned parking lot. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you use the directions we provide.

Extension Conference Center
18 Ag Extension Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Directions, Parking Information & Map

(Day 3 is held at a separate location. Further information will be provided in your registration packet.)


  • All visitors must register their vehicles online with the Rutgers Department of Transportation Services. A link will be provided in your course registration confirmation email. Be sure to complete this important step prior to traveling to campus.
  • All Rutgers faculty/staff/students must use their regular Rutgers permit and park in the nearest lot assigned for their permit type.
  • Citations/fines will be issued for failure to comply with these policies.

Note: Pre-registration is required. We're sorry, but we cannot guarantee a seat, materials or meals for walk-in registrants. Location is subject to change; registrants will be notified in the event of a change.


To Pay By Credit Card:

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First time registering online? Click here for step-by-step instructions.

To Pay By Check, Money Order, or Purchase Order:

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For Registration Assistance:

Please call 848-932-9271, option 2.

Program Questions? Contact Us!

Program Coordinator: Suzanne Hills, 848-932-7234
Administrative Assistant: Maureen O'Connell, 848-932-7703

Attention U.S. Veterans

All of the courses offered by the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education are approved by the New Jersey State Approving Agency for Veterans Training for educational benefits through the GI Bill. For more information about the GI Bill, click here.