Seramur & Associates, PC
Call Us at 828-264-0289

Real Estate Consulting Services

Seramur and Associates professionals consult on a variety of real estate related projects including: 

  • Underground Storage Tank Assessments
  • Slope Stability Studies
  • Water Resource Development
  • Subsurface Investigations
  • Phase I Enviromental Site Assessments for Property Transfers

Underground Storage Tanks Services

Leaking underground storage tanks (UST) represent a serious liability to perspective home buyers and can threaten human health and safety.  Buried heating oil tanks should be tested before the purchase of a residential or business property.  Our environmental professionals provide turn-key services to assist perspective buyers in determining if there has been a release from a buried tank. 

 Seramur and Associates, PC is a licensed geologic firm qualified to test for leaks from USTs.  If a leaking UST is discovered our firm can perform a tank closure and conduct the required site assessment and clean-up. UST closures and site assessments are performed under the supervision of a licensed geologist.  Some of the services Seramur and Associates, PC typically offers during UST closures are: 

  • Test soil adjacent to USTs to determine if a release has occurred
  • Pumping and disposal of tank contents
  • Tank cleaning
  • Excavation and removal of UST system or closure-in-place
  • Soil and Groundwater Sampling with analyses by certified laboratory
  • Backfill and resurfacing of the excavation
  • Proper disposal of tanks
  • Closure report preparation and professional certification

If a release is detected at closure, Seramur and Associates, PC will evaluate the possibility of removing all contaminated soil and collecting soil samples for a “clean closure”.  If it appears that the contamination cannot be completely removed at closure Seramur and Associates, PC will limit the extent of the excavation to minimize our clients expenses. 

The planned restoration of the 1938 Downtown Boone Post Office did not include cleanup of contaminated soil from the abandoned tank discovered during installation of footer drains.  Seramur & Associates assisted the Town in removing the UST and filing the required reports with NC DENR, allowing the restoration work to proceed.

Slope Stability Assessments

Development in the southern Appalachians is often completed in areas with steep slopes.  This does not present a problem as long as the slope stability has been properly assessed.   A property with a slope stability problem can often be successfully engineered for development that will be stable for many years into the future.

Seramur & Associates is a licensed geological consulting company that performs assessments of properties with steep slopes.  The purpose of our assessment is to determine if there is evidence for the potential of slope instability.  If problem slopes are identified, then we recommend that a geotechnical engineer be employed to assist with development of the property.

A steep slope assessment consists of three phases

  • The research phase, involving compiling of exsisting data on bedrock geology and structures.  This includes reviewing the Slope Stability Maps compiled by the NC Geologic Survey, Slope Hazard Mapping Program.
  • The site visit, during which we will identify evidence of areas of weak bedrock and susceptible soils, and record data from bedrock outcrops where accessible.
  • The integration and analysis phase in which slope steepness data, background research and geologic data from the fieldwork are compiled and analyzed to form a basis for delineation of potential slope stability hazards.  The findings of this evaluation are summarized in a letter/report for the client. 

Slope stability Index (SIN) map for downtown Boone prepared as part of a report required for a steep slope development.

Water Resource Development

Seramur and Associates, PC has assisted home owners, industry and municipalities with water resource development planning.  Our water resource development experience includes well field design, fracture trace studies, groundwater pumping tests, and groundwater modeling.  Seramur and Associates, PC can also design well field protection plans which are important to ensure that land use practices do not threaten water quality in the future. 

A water supply well has to intersect an open fracture in the bedrock to yield sufficient water.  Locating a place to drill a producing well consists of three phases:

First geology and topographic maps are used to evaluate the project area.  Then a fracture trace analysis is performed using aerial photographs, both black and white as well as infrared to trace lineaments or linear color changes in soil.  Fractures in the bedrock are areas of increased weathering and show up as lineaments on the aerial photos. 

Fieldwork consists of mapping springs with a GPS unit and using a Brunton compass to measure the orientation of fractures in the outcrops around the study area. 

These measurements are compiled and compared to the results of the fracture trace analysis.  Springs are plotted on the aerial photos and locations for drilling water supply wells are selected at points of intersecting bedrock fractures.

Topographic map showing bedrock fractures, field measurements and proposed well locations (red circles) for a ridge top residential development

Subsurface Investigations

Seramur and Associates, PC uses geophysical surveys to complete subsurface investigations.  These are useful in locating septic tanks and drain fields, buried heating oil tanks and assess soil conditions associated with foundation settling. 

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) can quickly follow the waste line out of a house to the septic tank.  Septic tanks are clearly imaged with the GPR system.  A septic drain field can be mapped across the property to assist in designing repair areas for failed septic systems.

Foundation settling problems are not uncommon in the Southern Appalachians particularly when a structure is designed on an unstable slope.  The GPR system can image through a concrete slab and identify and identify void space from the failing soil material.  This assists the geotechnical engineer in designing a remediation strategy for the foundation.

               

GPR system and GGSI SIR 3000 digital control unit for locating underground infrastructure and buried utilities.

GPR cross-section (top) showing sewer line below concrete slab and plan view of anomalies at a depth of 3.3 feet (bottom) representing septic drainfield repair line.