What is Soil Boring and Sampling and When Do I Need it?

When it comes to building anything from a home to a bridge, an important part of the construction process is soil boring and sampling. Soil sampling has many different applications, including commercial construction. However, even residential clients may encounter the need for boring and sampling soil at some point in their time as landowners. Here’s when and how you may encounter the need for sampling.

What is Soil Boring?

Soil boring is a method used by drillers to obtain samples of subsurface soil. Soil sampling can be as simple as manually digging a small hole and obtaining a sample for testing. When it comes to boring, however, the sample is pulled from much deeper in the earth. These deeper samples are sent to a laboratory where they are analyzed for factors such as structure, water content, stress state, and density.

There are two types of soil sampling often utilized in construction: disturbed and undisturbed. Disturbed sampling is typically soil pulled from a much shallower depth and used to get a general idea of soil type and water content, and to test for contaminants.

Undisturbed sampling, on the other hand, requires specialized equipment (drill rigs) and experience in order to obtain it. An undisturbed sample is typically pulled from deeper in the subsurface and it retains it’s in situ properties. In other words, its structure, density, texture, and natural water contents are relatively undisturbed.

Depending on the type of construction you’re considering, you might need one or both types of soil sampling.

Soil Boring and Sampling Applications

Soil sampling is probably not the first thing on your mind when you decide to build your dream home or apply for a permit to expand your commercial space. Yet, it is likely one of the first things you’ll need to do before starting your project.

In fact, soil boring and sampling are also important when purchasing new land. In this case, a disturbed soil sample tested for contaminants and soil type is likely all you need. If you plan to build on this new land or add an addition to an existing building, however, an undisturbed sample may be necessary.

This type of soil boring is required when you need to determine your soil’s engineering properties. This is the case when building structures such as bridges, skyscrapers, elevator shafts, and more. Structural engineers use soil boring samples to determine if the location is safe for building, and if so, what structural requirements are needed to build safely.

Soil boring is also helpful when determining the safety of potentially contaminated soil and seasonal fluctuations in groundwater. For example, if you wish to add an irrigation well to your property, but there is little information about the groundwater in your area, soil boring allows a drill crew to set piezometers to see how the groundwater changes seasonally.

In a similar manner, on land that was previously (or potentially) contaminated, crews use borings to establish soil vapor samplings. This process involves placing a vapor probe underground and testing for off-gases caused by contaminants in the soil. This process helps environmentalists determine how to manage a contaminated site. It also helps landowners or buyers decide if the land is suitable for development, sale, or cultivation.

Tacoma Drilling Soil Sampling Services

Soil boring and sampling are just a few of the many drilling techniques and services we offer at Tacoma Pump and Drilling. Our experienced crew understands the importance of taking precise samples to ensure engineers, environmentalists, developers, and landowners receive the most accurate information about their soil.

Need specialized services? We also offer limited access soil sampling and soil vapor sampling point installation. Whatever your drilling needs, we’re here to help ensure your project is done right. Contact us for more information about soil sampling, well drilling, and more.