Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


WALLACE, Ronald J., Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 3650 Garrards Crossing, Roswell, GA 30075,

In the near future, many geology professionals will be retiring from state agencies. This will result in a large number of geology vacancies, and many will be filled with geologists with little or no experience. The purpose of this presentation is to provide geology students and recent graduates insight into the various responsibilities and duties geologists have while working as state employees. Geologists working in the public sector may serve as regulators of solid and hazardous waste sites, underground storage tank facilities, surface mining, or water permitting such as withdrawal and injection permits. They may also serve as field inspectors, routinely checking environmental compliance records and investigating complaints. The geologist must have knowledge of state and federal regulations and familiar with their state guidance documents.

Many geologists are employed by the state geological surveys. The responsibilities of the surveys vary depending on needs of the state, legislative directives, and traditions within the surveys. Most surveys are non-regulatory and conduct scientific research and produce maps and reports for the public. An understanding of the geology is necessary to make decisions on natural resources such as oil, natural gas, coal, and geothermal; water issues related to quality and quantity; and mineral resource development. Many surveys are developing specialty maps for public agencies, private industry, and the general public. Typical environmental and geological hazards reports and maps may include earthquake hazard zones, landslide areas, sink holes, adverse soil conditions, land subsidence and earth fissures, areas prone to flash floods and debris flows, shoreline and stream erosion, radon, arsenic, and other natural occurring minerals.

The state Department of Transportation geologist positions include the following tasks: investigate bridge foundations, classify or survey soils, help identify and mitigate geologic hazards, such as slope failure and sink holes, analyze lake siltation and river migration, and conduct environmental investigations to determine the extent and severity of contamination. In many cases geologists will monitor and test the raw materials to be used for bridge and road construction.