Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico with billions of dollars in damage, some posing life-and-death danger for months following the devastating storm of 2019. Challenge worked under the US Army Corps of Engineers in a year-long project including Guajataca Dam near San Juan. A breach threatened more than 70,000 residents downstream, when we arrived to perform soil borings and analysis. Our team managed all permitting, hired local subcontractors and engaged needed equipment despite language barriers and iffy communications in a region without reliable power or phone connectivity. Soil borings and sediment samples were obtained, recorded, and sent to a mainland laboratory for analysis in custom boxes we designed and built to ensure sample integrity and safety. A video quadcopter was used to inspect and document work with expansive project aerials.
An additional Corps of Engineers project involved a remote area outside the port city of Arecibo, without vehicle access. We engaged a local crew and equipment to cut brush- often by machete – to reach the required soil boring sites. Location identification relied on precise GPS coordinates, and leading edge gInt Borehole Geotechnical software to ensure accuracy of boring logs for laboratory testing.