Primarily roaming within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia, TRISTATE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES performs a broad range of environmental field services in New Jersey and Southeast Pennsylvania. Project Manager Ted Sobieski credits their “jack-of-all trades” approach for allowing the 30-year-old company to stay in business through market fluctuations.
“For a company that’s as small as we are and has been around as long as we have, we’ve diversified our skill set to do a little bit of everything,” Sobieski said. “Limited access work is our niche.”
When drilling regulations in New Jersey changed, the company running “some of the oldest second generation Geoprobe® rigs” sought to provide broader services to their existing clients but were limited without auger capabilities or a larger percussion hammer.
“We’d been running a 5400 and 4200 day-in and day-out for years. However, there’s a limit to what you can do with those types of machines,” Sobieski said. “We wanted to maintain our limited access footprint but also be able to install shallow auger wells and prepack wells through 3.75 rods to 30 feet so when we were working in contaminated ground we could minimize cuttings.”
The 6712DT proved to be the solution to broadening their capabilities within a compact platform.
“It’s not one feature on the 6712DT, but the combination to do so many things in one compact rig. We can push to significant depths, have the ability to auger, and flexibly switch back and forth. It’s the whole package. It’s a versatile machine in a well-engineered, compact platform,” Sobieski said. “Geoprobe® rigs are well engineered so I expected the 6712DT to be an outstanding machine. We expected perfection and got it. Geoprobe® is the 'Cadillac' of subsurface exploration.”
On a fairly standard dry cleaner job, completing delineation prior to remediation, they planned to install prepack wells to minimize cuttings. However, clay and moisture content created too much wall friction to be able to drive 3.75 rods, so the team switched to augers.
“With the 6712DT we had the capability to seamlessly switch from one drilling approach to another to get the job done,” Sobieski said. “We were able to make a change of borehole advancement method on the spot.”
For Sobieski, the 6712DT compliments capabilities of their team, allowing them to be an even stronger, more flexible company.
“Our company has always survived by being able to fill different niches and be nimble to react on site to changes in job scope. The 6712DT further advances the ability of our people to be flexible in their thought process to find solutions to problems,” Sobieski said. “As a company, we have gone through many iterations and at one time had full-size, conventional rigs. After the progression of Geoprobe® rigs, I don’t know why you would have a conventional rig when you can have the same power in a compact platform.”
Their projects also include fuel oil and pesticide investigations. On some of them PFAS forever chemicals has become an ancillary issue or even a major component. For all their jobs the past 15 or 20 years, they’ve exclusively used Geoprobe® tooling.
“We’ve been around and run Geoprobe® rigs for such a long time that we repeatedly found knockoff tooling to be less refined — from heat treating to fit and finish. Geoprobe® has quality machining using defect-free steel and heat treating for a more durable product,” Sobieski said. “All the thought put into tooling is innovative — the screenpoint sampler, closed point MC5 sampling, dual tube — all bright ideas from engineers in the shop that make their way to the operator to use.”
On PFAS forever chemicals investigations they’ve used 1.5-inch rods, MC5, and screenpoint samplers.
“In our experience, screenpoint accomplishes vertical delineation without putting in multiple depth zone wells,” Sobieski said. “We literally can accomplish screenpoint sampling in a single day in the field versus multiple-day installation events.”
He attributes the engineering and manufacturing behind new — and old — Geoprobe® products for continually producing profit.
“We are 29-year users of Geoprobe® equipment, and it's a testament to brilliant engineering that we’re still using machines we first purchased, which doesn’t negatively affect our ability to be competitive from a footage standpoint,” Sobieski said.
Reflecting on decades using Geoprobe® equipment reminds Sobieski of TV shows presenting the 100 greatest inventions of all time.
“I rank the Geoprobe® system and the approach to direct push technology as one of the greatest inventions ever. It certainly revolutionized our business and the entire environmental industry. Not only was the application of the technology groundbreaking, but the engineering of the machines is exceptional. We have run other machines and there’s no comparison,” Sobieski said. “Geoprobe® revolutionized the environmental industry. They’ll do a Netflix series on it 20 years from now.”
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