CDM Smith Inc. receives groundwater protection award for work with Egyptian monuments

Oct. 29, 2015

The project focused on groundwater modeling conducted to define design parameters for dewatering systems to protect antiquity sites in Egypt.

WESTERVILLE, Ohio — Oct. 27, 2015 — CDM Smith Inc. has been recognized for a groundwater project that helped preserve monuments in Egypt, according to a press release.

The Boston-based company received an Outstanding Groundwater Project Award from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) for outstanding science, engineering or innovation in protecting groundwater, noted the release. This award will be presented during NGWA’s 2015 Groundwater Expo scheduled for Dec. 15-17 in Las Vegas.

The CDM Smith project focused on groundwater modeling conducted to define design parameters for dewatering systems to protect antiquity sites in Egypt. It took place took place from April 2007 to June 2014 at four sites on the Luxor West Bank and one site in Edfu.

Many pharaoh monuments in Egypt have started to deteriorate at accelerated rates because of urbanization and/or changing agricultural practices. Additionally, groundwater levels in the Nile River Valley have risen around many antiquity sites, and the sandstone blocks that the monuments are made of are porous and absorb water, stated the release. Corrosive salts concentrate as water evaporates, causing mechanical and chemical destruction of the stone blocks over a relatively short period of time.

To resolve the issue, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities requested assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 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 that included advancements of borings and test pits as well as analyzing grain size. They also installed piezometers to collect water level data and monitor locations during pump tests.

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

According to the company, the dewatering systems they designed and installed have been successful in achieving targeted water levels. They said that the anticipated project benefits include:

  • Conservation and restoration work will no longer be hampered by high groundwater.
  • Further historic exploration of the sites can continue.
  • Public health will improve due to the lowering of groundwater potentially polluted with wastewater.
  • There is now reduced water logging of agricultural lands as well as improved crop production and soil characteristics.
  • The tourist economy can continue.
  • Job opportunities were during construction and long-term operation, maintenance and monitoring of the dewatering systems.

You can find the entire release here.

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