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CDM Smith receives NGWA protection award for work in Egypt


October 27, 2015
By Ground Water Canada

Westerville, OH – CDM Smith Inc., of Boston, Mass., has received an Outstanding Groundwater Project Award from the National Ground Water Association for outstanding science, engineering, or innovation in the area of protecting ground water.

The CDM Smith project, which took place from April 2007 to June 2014, focused on ground water modelling conducted to define design parameters for dewatering systems to protect antiquity sites in Egypt – four sites on the Luxor West Bank and one site in Edfu, the NGWA said in a news release.

Many of Egypt’s Pharaonic monuments have begun to deteriorate at accelerated rates due to urbanization and/or changing agricultural practices. Ground water levels in the Nile River Valley have risen around many antiquity sites. The porous sandstone blocks from which the monuments are constructed absorb water. By the process of capillary rise, corrosive salts concentrate as water evaporates, causing mechanical and chemical destruction of the stone blocks over a relatively short period of time.

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The Ministry of Antiquities requested assistance from the United States Agency for International Development, and the government of Egypt.

CDM Smith developed a three-dimensional numerical hydrogeological model for each of the project sites. The models were developed based on extensive field investigations during which borings and test pits were advanced, grain size analysis was conducted, and piezometers were installed for the purpose of collecting water level data as well as serving as monitoring locations during pump tests.

Geophysical surveys also were conducted to support the subsurface data from test boring logs and to provide a broader extent of investigation.

The resulting dewatering systems that were designed and installed have been successful in achieving targeted water levels. Anticipated project benefits include:

  • Conservation and restoration work will no longer be hampered by high ground water
  • Further historic exploration of the sites can continue
  • Public health will improve due to the lowering of ground water potentially polluted with waste water
  • Reduced water logging of agricultural lands, and improved crop production and soil characteristics
  • A continuation of the tourist economy
  • Job opportunities during construction and long-term operation, maintenance, and monitoring of the dewatering systems.

This award will be presented during the 2015 Groundwater Expo taking place Dec. 15-17 in Las Vegas.