Welcome to Vandergraaff Soils Horizons


A list of recent major projects in the last 2-3 years by Van de Graaff & associates:

Jointly with Geocode Mapping & Analysis P/L: Raingardens in the Suburbs; a project completed for Melbourne Water to determine the preferred types of raingardens that suit the soils and topography of four Local Government Areas in Melbourne, with special emphasis on the permeability of the local soils.

Jointly with Geocode Mapping & Analysis P/L: Soil Depth Assessment of the Belgrave Heights Area; a project for South East Water to determine the probability of the soil being deep enough for the easy excavation of trenches for new sewers. Most recently this work was extended to the Selby area.

For Parsons Brinkerhoff Australia:Assessment of the potential environmental risks associated with the use of a waste from caustic soda manufacturing, "Calsilt", that contains elevated boron, as fill for building raised land on marine swamps near Adelaide. The boron was part of a naturally occurring mineral, tourmaline, which is inert and cannot present any risks to life.

For SKM: Reviewing soil analytical data of an area receiving treated effluent to ensure continued irrigation does not affect the soil and pasture unfavourably by exceeding set environmental criteria.

For Tonkin Taylor: For Tonkin Taylor: Reviewing the soil quality parameters and environmental impacts of clay materials to be used as capping on landfills.

For Coffey Environments: Criteria for a cover soil over a remediated site at Coburg to support healthy growth of trees or other vegetation.

For Lane Piper, Tonkin Taylor, Soil & Groundwater Consulting, & others: Assessing origin, behaviour and environmental risks posed by elevated heavy metal concentrations at sites being audited by contaminated land consultants.

Jointly with Geocode mapping & Analysis P/L: Developing strategies for the management of septic tank systems and effluent dispersal in relation to local soil, topography and climatic conditions for the shires of Surf Coast, Corangamite, Glenelg, East Gippsland, and around Milawa, Glenrowan and Oxley for North East Water.

For Pyrenees Shire: Completing a land systems map based on existing data and some field work that can be used in land use planning. Helena Woolums deserves much credit for completing this huge job so well.

For Rural City of Wangaratta: in cooperation with RMcG consultants developing a broad strategy for onsite domestic wastewater management in a number of small townships based on existing data and field work.

For Coomes Consultants on behalf of Western Water: several audits of the treated effluent irrigation schemes for sporting turf at Woodend, Gisborne, Melton and Diggers Rest.

Jointly with Geocode Mapping & Analysis P/L: Studying the terrain and soils of an estate, slated to be developed as an industrial park, to assist the discovery of prehistoric aboriginal land uses and preservation of their artefacts.

Assessment of the state of disturbance of the soil at an address in Hadfield under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (to determine if the site needed special preservation prior to building activities starting).

Soil quality assessments and recommendations for improvement of a number of Parks in Melbourne, Brimbank, City of Port Phillip.

Assessment of damage to soils in parks from compaction by pedestrian and vehicular trafficking during special events for the City of Melbourne, such as the International Flower and Garden Show and Moomba.

Assessment of the potential hazards and risks of using treated wastewater from the Royal Childrens’ Hospital in Parkville for irrigating garden areas around the buildings.

Presenting talks on assessing risk of heavy metals in soils that clearly are native to the soil and are inert: 2007 Symposium “Contaminated soil and its remediation”, Monash University, and 2010 for the SA branch of the Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association; and the 2012 European Geophysical Union Conference in Vienna; talks on subjects related to on-site effluent disposal at other venues.

Completing a chapter “Characteristics of Natural and Urban Soils” with Helmut Meuser, University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrück, Germany, in “Dealing with Contaminated Sites - From Theory Towards Practical Application” by F.A Swartjes (Ed.), Springer Verlag.

Assisting the Victorian EPA with the revision of the Code of Practice for Septic Tanks.

Teaching the 1st year landscape architecture students at RMIT a general course on terrain and soils since 1992 and still ongoing; contributing lectures to courses run in Victoria by the Centre for Environmental Training (CET) in relation to septic tanks management.

Helped local primary schools in Malvern East, West Brunswick and Croydon set up vegetable gardens, including improving the soil with mushroom compost so as to guarantee rapid vegetable growth in Malvern East.

Volunteering to assist the CSIRO Scientists in Schools (SIS) program.