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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: March 11, 2013 09:58 AM
From: Representative Scott A. Petri
To: All House members
Subject: Soil Scientist Licensing
I will shortly be introducing legislation amending the act of May 23, 1945 (P.L. 913) No. 367) known as the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, adding Soil Scientists to the list of professions for which practicing persons must be licensed and registered. My proposal simply adds soil science members to an existing professional oversight board and outlines requirements for licensing of a professional soil scientist; the legislation does not create a new board or entity.

Soil science is not something most people think of but it is an integral part of zoning, developing on-lot sewage systems, floodplains, and a host of other functions. Recognition of certain types of soil is important for identifying and mapping natural resources such as wetlands, special habitats, floodplains, unstable landscapes, and soils that qualify for certain permits. In addition, construction depends on knowing how stable the soil is and how it will withstand weight. So does placement of sewer and waste water systems. Lack of professional soil science may prove to be harmful when a structure is weakened, damaged or even collapses because soil advance work was not properly done. A sewer system malfunction resulting from lack of training also has environmental impacts affecting public health and safety.

There are also local and state requirements for professional soil science to be done but there is no statutory definition as to what soil science is or what qualifications constitute credentialing as a professional soil scientist.

Fifteen other states have already taken this step and I believe it is long overdue in Pennsylvania. If you have any questions, or if you would like a copy of the legislation, please contact Lea Farrell at 787-9033 or lfarrell@pahousegop.com.

Introduced as HB997