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Soils and Site Evaluation

for Septic Disposal Systems and Stormwater BMPs

Back by Popular Demand!

Course Code: ES0301CA18

Soil and Site Evaluation

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Date & Time

Last Held: September 18-20, 2017
9:00am - 4:30pm (Check-in time on Day 1: 8:30am)

Next Offering TBD


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.

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.

Every 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.

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

Be prepared to leave with mud on your boots! 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

The September 18-20, 2017 offering of this course was approved for the following credits. We will reapply for similar credits the next time the course runs, but we cannot guarantee credit approval for future offerings.

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

ATTENTION HEALTH OFFICERS AND 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). Participants who complete this education program will be awarded 20.75 NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs).

NJ Certified Public Works Managers - 5 Technical, 5 Government

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) Credits - 24 credit hours

NJ Professional Engineers - 20.75 Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) credits

Recommended Textbook

Munsell Soil Color Chart - price TBD

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 TBD Register on or before September 4, 2017 and save!
Multi-Person Registration Fee TBD Register with a colleague and save!
Registration Fee TBD After September 4, 2017

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Continental breakfast and 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.

State Operator Training Center
18 Ag Extension Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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.


Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified when the next offering is scheduled? 
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please reference "Soils and Site Evaluation for Septic Disposal Systems and Stormwater BMPs " or Course Code ES0301) 
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu

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.