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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Allred, Barry
item Fausey, Norman - Norm
item Peters, Leon
item Chen, Chi-chih
item Daniels, Jeffrey
item Youn, Hyoung-sun

Submitted to: Soil/Water Research, Progress Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/3/2003
Publication Date: 1/3/2003
Citation: Allred, B.J., Fausey, N.R., Peters, L., Chen, C., Daniels, J., Youn, H. 2003. Location of agricultural subsurface drainage systems using geophysical and geotechnical methods. Soil/Water Research, Progress Report.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: One of the more frustrating problems confronting farmers and land improvement contractors in the Midwest U.S. involves locating buried agricultural drainage pipes. Finding drainage pipe is not an easy task, especially for systems installed more than a generation ago. Often, records have been lost, and the only outward appearance of the subsurface drainage system is a single pipe outlet extending into a water conveyance channel. Consequently, effective ways of finding buried agricultural drainage pipe are needed. Geophysical methods used for environmental and construction engineering applications can potentially provide a solution to this problem. Four near-surface geophysical methods were investigated, including geomagnetic surveying, electromagnetic induction, resistivity, and ground penetrating radar. Commercially available equipment was used for testing all four methods. In addition, a ground penetrating radar (GPR) system newly developed by the Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory was also tested. Of the four geophysical methods, only GPR proved capable of detecting buried agricultural drainage pipe, and the commercial GPR unit was more effective for this particular application than the one developed in-house. Using this commercial unit, GPR grid surveys were conducted in southwest, central, and northwest Ohio at eleven test plots containing subsurface drainage systems, and in regard to locating the total amount of pipe present, the technology proved to have an overall effectiveness of 81%.

Last Modified: 05/24/2017
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