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Services | Environmental Sampling | VIBRACORING

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Vibracore Equipment
The following is a list of frequently used vibracore and bathymetric equipment. The systems listed are complemented by custom made vessels and deployment equipment designed by our scientists.

Rossfelder P-3 Underwater Vibracorer

PVL VC-3.5 Vibracore

"Clamp-on" Vibracore

VC-STABIL Stabilizer Accessory

Bathymetric Equipment & Services

Hydrolite Portable Survey System

Trimble GPS Total Station 5700

Remote Area Benchmarks

Additional Aquatic Survey Equipment

Side-Scan Sonar Surveys

Fisheries and Benthic Studies Equipment

Water Quality Study Equipment

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Surveys

Survey Vessels

Complete List of Subsurface Data Collection Equipment and Applications

Characterization of an aquatic system usually involves assessment of the water chemistry or quality component. Equally as important, the bottom sediment of a water body not only reflects the current and past impacts on the water quality component, but also reflects the long term ecological impacts caused by past actions that have occurred in the water body or watershed.

Perhaps most commonly, vibracore samples are taken to simply collect sediment beneath the water for purposes of physical/geotechnical characterization and chemical analysis testing of sediments for construction or dredging projects. Normandeau has provided vibracoring services for remedial investigations and feasibility studies for dredging and construction projects, and has also deployed in situ geotechnical data collection methods, like shear vane equipment, for onsite physical characterization. Our bathymetric/ hydrographic equipment enables us to electronically collect and analyze depth data to ascertain both the sediment characteristics and the bottom topography of a water body.

Sound Science

In addition to providing physical data collection using vibracore equipment, Normandeau has the ability to approach a project scientifically for the proper collection and characterization of biological data collected by vibracore equipment. Our clients find that Normandeau's methods in applying sound scientific methods to their study plans provides credibility to their projects in the eyes of regulators. Good science provides strength to any project and our field staff consists of biologists trained in the scientific method. We are equipped and experienced in the proper deployment of equipment to collect data for risk assessment studies as well as for collection of in situ biological samples for characterization of the macroinvertebrate community of a water body. Our bathymetry studies are also conducted most often with the biological community in mind, from characterizing shallows bathymetrically and ecologically to using bathymetric features of a water body to map habitat for endangered mussels, for example.

Experienced Staff Using the Right Tools

The strength of any environmental consulting firm is in the education and experience of its staff, the tools with which they are provided, and the overall commitment to excellence in their work. For over 40 years Normandeau has provided custom equipment and consulting advice to clients who have unique needs and who rely on getting the right answers on which to base crucial decisions. Normandeau has provided these services with a level of understanding of their clients' specific needs using creativity and advanced technology to collect information efficiently and accurately. Our vibracoring services are not an exception to this. When unique equipment is needed, we have the ability and resources to design it ourselves by working with custom fabricators. Our bathymetry services also reflect these ideals.

Rossfelder P-3 Underwater Vibracorer

Normandeau's latest addition to its sediment sampling capabilities is the Rossfelder P-3 Underwater Vibracorer. This vibracorer is a lightweight, mid-size model that operates in a vibro-percussive mode and is intended for standard survey work in a variety of sediments.

The Rossfelder P-3 vibracore system is deployed from a portable, aluminum, pontoon boat with a deck space of 12- x 20-ft. The coring barge is powered by a 60-hp, 4-stroke outboard with console steering and a draft of < 2-ft. Two sidemounted, 20-ft. adjustable spuds can be used for anchoring the system in waters to 18-ft in depth. To allow for area restrictions, the deck area of the coring barge is adjustable in width from 8- to 12-ft.

When coring, the vibracore unit is deployed through a moon pool in the bow from an A-frame. The A-frame is adjustable to 23-ft. in. height to allow for maximum efficiency and coring penetration depths to 20-ft. The coring head and sample cores are deployed and retrieved with a 4,000-lb. capacity, 120-volt winch. Coring tube options include stainless steel, aluminum, and cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) in diameters of 3- and 4-in.

Complementing this vibracore system, the coring vessel is outfitted with Navionics Charts, a fathometer, GPS, and side-scan sonar system. Additional bathymetric survey and GPS equipment is available for sub-meter accuracy and bottom profiling.

PVL VC-3.5 Vibracore

In addition to the larger P-3 coring unit, Normandeau's inventory includes a VC- 3.5 vibracoring system manufactured by PVL Technologies. It is a lightweight (96 lb., 43 kg) submersible electric vibracorer designed specifically for sediment core collection of soft marine and fresh water sediments. The compact, watertight, anodized aluminum housing permits sampling at shallow depths and in waters up to 100-ft. (30.0 m) deep. The high frequency vibration unit is well suited for collection of relatively undisturbed samples for routine chemical and physical sediment characterization, as well as for radionuclide dating. Core collection tube options include stainless steel, aluminum, and clear, thin-walled CAB plastic in diameters ranging from 3- to 4-in. Additional weights can be attached to this vibracore head to allow for greater core penetration. The 2-sets of weights add an additional +100 lbs. to\ the coring force of the system.

"Clamp-on" Vibracore

Normandeau rounds out its sediment vibracore sampling capabilities with a small, portable "clamp on" vibracore. This custom design allows the use of a vibracorer in confined areas, such as under piers, or wherever a winch and davit assembly cannot be used to retrieve the core. It is even portable enough to carry into wetland areas for specialty work. This unit fits on almost any size work vessel and has a depth capacity of 20-ft. including water and sediment penetration depth. Core collection tube options include 3-in. diameter stainless steel, aluminum, and CAB. Additional weight can be attached to the assembly to allow for greater core penetration.

VC-STABIL Stabilizer Accessory

Accessories are available for deep water core collection including vertical stabilizers and weight packages. The VC-STABIL Stabilizer Accessory, which is attached to the P-3 vibracore, features a weighted base and four 14-in. diameter submersible buoys. The buoys create tension on the guide wires, maintaining the vibracore in an upright position while permitting it to penetrate the sediments. All of Normandeau's sediment sampling equipment is portable and can be towed or shipped anywhere in the continental U.S.

Hydrolite Portable Survey System

When conducting bathymetric surveys, water depth measurements are recorded with Normandeau's Hydrolite Portable Survey System, using a single frequency Sonarmite Echosounder. At a normal operation frequency of 235 kHz, this active transducer is accurate to ±0.025 m (RMS) and will work in depths of 0.3 to 75.0 m. Normandeau also has an Odom Hydrotrac recording fathometer available for use with our Hydropro survey system. The Hydrotrac fathometer is a 200 kHz single beam transducer that works to a maximum water depth of 600 m and an accuracy of 1.0 cm per 0.1% of depth.

Trimble GPS Total Station 5700

In marine environments where fluctuating elevations occur or elevation changes, Normandeau uses a Trimble GPS Total Station 5700 for recording position and elevation. This unit, equipped with a Real Time Kinetic radio (RTK), GPS antenna and receiver and used in conjunction with a first or second order benchmark, will obtain 1.0 cm horizontal and 2.0 cm vertical accuracy for position and elevation, respectively. With use of the RTK unit, real-time water elevations are maintained.

Remote Area Benchmarks

In remote areas where first and second order benchmarks may not be available, Normandeau has the capability of creating first order "equivalent" bench marks. For example Normandeau conducted a bathymetric survey on a two mile stretch of the Susquehanna River consisting of a series of riffles and pools surrounding an island. We needed to create our own first order "equivalent" benchmark, since none were located close to the survey area, and the process worked flawlessly.

Once all field data is collected, the georeferenced water depth or elevation data is imported directly into AutoCAD or ArcGIS. With use of these software packages bathymetric contours are generated, as well as cross sectional charts, 3D graphic representations, and volume calculations of the surveyed area.

Side-Scan Sonar Surveys

This equipment is useful for dredging, channelization, and dam construction, operation, and removal investigations. Our side-scan sonar equipment can be used for sediment characterization of submerged surfaces and harbor/port operations. Installed on company boats and used in coordination with our GPS, this system creates a real-time geo-referenced digital image of submerged substrate and physical features in water from 5-ft. to hundreds of feet in depth.

Fisheries and Benthic Studies Equipment

This equipment is useful for both freshwater and marine studies. It includes electrofishing units (benthic grids, backpack, pram- and boat-mounted), seines, trawls, gill nets, and ichthyoplankton tow nets, impingement and entrainment systems (316(b) studies), radio and sonic fish tags (fish tracking passage), and Surber and PIBS samplers.

Water Quality Study Equipment

This equipment provides Normandeau with capabilities to conduct dye dispersion studies, plume tracking surveys, water quality monitoring for dredge and NPDES discharge studies, and fisheries assessments. We have a large assortment of composite samplers (ISCO/SIGMA), discrete water samplers, electric, pneumatic, and peristaltic pumps, flow meters (open and closed channel), flurometers, and multi-parameter water quality meters.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Surveys

These surveys deal with detailed flow velocity studies, thermal impact studies, modeling. Normandeau owns and is able to deploy, operate and maintain ADCP equipment. Our coastal scientists download and process data as requested by our clients.

Survey Vessels

Normandeau's sampling and survey vessels include the 37-ft. Pannaway, the 42-ft. Woody I, three 25-ft. Privateers and a 21-ft. Maritime, all fully outfitted for ecological research. These boats are equipped with GPS, VHF radios, electronic depth finders, and deployment booms, davits, and winches. Our fleet also includes several 21-ft. and 19-ft. work boats, four electrofishing boats, three vibracoring/work barges, as well as inflatable boats, canoes and numerous smaller work boats.

Normandeau Subsurface Data Collection Equipment and their Applications
Sampler Collection Device Material Collection Device Dimensions Weight Penetration Depth Maximum Water Depth SampleVolume Application
RossfelderP-3 Vibracore Plastic(CAB), SS,& Alum. tubes; SS core catchers 7.62 - 10.16 cm
(3" - 4")
330 kg (150) 0.5 - 6 m
(20')
1 - 30 m
(100')
Up to 2.5 L per foot
(4")
Lightweight, mid-size model operates in a vibropercussive mode and is intended for obtaining long, well-preserved cores in consolidated water-saturated sediments from wetlands, harbors, lakes, and estuaries. Limited high percentage sand recovery.
PVL Vibracore CAB, SS,& Alum. tubs; SS core catchers 7.62 - 10.16 cm
(3" or 4")
211-440 kg
(96 - 200 lbs
0.5 - 6 m
(20')
1 - 30 m
(100')
Up to 2.5 L per foot
(4")
Lightweight, mid-size model operates in a high frequency vibration mode and is intended for obtaining long, well-pre-served cores in unconsolidated water-saturated sediments from wetlands, harbors, lakes, and estuaries. Poor high percentage sand recovery.
Portable Vibracore CAB, SS, & Alum. tubes; SS core catchers 7.62 cm
(3")
211-440 kg
(10 - 50 lbs
0.5 - 6 m
(20')
0 - 6 m
(20')
Up to 1.4 L per foot
(3")
Lightweight, small, hand-operated model in a low frequency vibration mode and is intended for obtaining, well-preserved cores in unconsolidated water-saturated sediments from wetlands, harbors, lakes, and estuaries. Poor high percentage sand recovery and restricted to shallow water.
Piston Corer CAB tubing 7.62 cm
(3")
n/a 0.1 - 3 m
(10')
0 - 9 m
(30')
Up to 1.4 L per foot
(3")
Lightweight, hand-operated model developed for collecting samples of soft, unconsolidated, marine sediments in shallow waters. A piston attached to the end of a deployment cable/ pole that during ascent draws a vacuum inside a core tube to help retain the sample. The addition of the internal piston allows the soft sediment to be captured without significant compression or disturbance which allows the capture of the best possible sediment sample. Poor high percent-age sand recovery and restricted to shallow water.
Petite Ponar® (Small) SS 152 x 152 mm
(6" x 6")
6.8 kg
(24 lbs)
152 mm
(6")
152 m
(500')
2.4 L
(0.6 gal)
Used in fresh and salt water for taking samples of hard bottoms such as sand, gravel, consolidated marl or clay. Self-closing scoops have center pivot closing action. When the scoops strike the bot-tom, their tapered cutting edges penetrate well with very little sample disturbance.
Standard Ponar® (Large) SS 229 x 229 mm
(9" x 9")
23 kg
(50 lbs)
229 mm
(9")
152 m
(500')
8.2 L
(2.2 gal)
Used in fresh and salt water for taking samples of hard bottoms such as sand, gravel, consolidated marl or clay. Self-closing scoops have center pivot closing action. When the scoops strike the bot-tom, their tapered cutting edges penetrate well with very little sample disturbance.
Petersen Grab Zinc-plated heavy steel 305 x 305 mm
(12" x 12")
34 - 42 kg
(75 - 93 lbs
107 mm
(4.2")
152 m
(500')
10 L
(2.6 gal)
Used in fresh water for collecting macroscopic fauna in sand, gravel, marl, clay or clay combinations. Vent holes permit water to flow through while the grab is being lowered, minimizing diagonal movement as well as reducing the frontal shock wave generated by descent. Jaws close clamshell fashion and can hold up to 8 removable weights.
Ekman Grab SS 152 x 152 mm
(6" x 6")
4.5 kg
(10 lbs)
229 mm
(9")
152 m
(500')
5.3 L
(1.4 gal)
Designed for soft, finely divided littoral bottoms that are free from vegetation, such as sticks and decayed leaves as well as intermixtures of sand, stones and other coarse debris. The specialized function of this dredge is the taking of quantita-tive and qualitative samples of macroscopic bottom fauna to determine the productivity of soft bottoms, particularly those composed of finely divided muck, mud, ooze, submerged marl and fine peaty materials.
Hand Corer SS 7.6 cm
(3")
<4.5 kg
(<10 lbs)
25.4 cm
(12")
0 - 9 m
(30')
1.4 L
(0.37 gal)
Designed for shallow coring in fresh, salt or brackish waters. Manually push the coring tube into bottom sediments using handles on the head assembly. After the corer penetrates the bottom, twist or pull it free to retrieve your sample. In deeper water, a 5 - 15 foot long exten-sion handle can be attached to the head. The hand corer works by creating a partial vacuum which holds the sample in place and helps prevent washout.
Split-spoon SS 5.1 cm
(2")
<4.5 kg
(<10lbs)
50.8 cm
(24")
0 - 9 m
(30')
0.62 L
(0.16 gal)
Used extensively for envi-ronmental and geotechnical investigations that require a protected, undisturbed sample. Split-spoon samplers may be used to take samples from the soil surface or from the bottom of a pre-augered hole. Core samples are collected in remov-able sample liners that can be sealed with plastic end caps.
Hand Auger SS 7.6 cm
(3")
<4.5 kg
(<10 lbs)
25.4 cm
(12")
0 - 9 m
(30')
1.4 L
(0.37 gal)
Used extensively for environmental and geotechnical investigations that require a protected, undisturbed sample. Hand Auger samplers may be used to take samples from soil, mud, and sediment surface or from the bottom of a pre-augered hole. Core samples are collected in removable sample liners that can be sealed with plastic end caps.