Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists
Regulations for the Geology Certification Program [18 VAC 145 ‑ 40]
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8/17/23  11:08 am
Commenter: Sarah Stinger

Virginia Certified PG program

Virginia Certified Professional Geologists (PGs) serve a vital function in many fields, including in my field of groundwater contamination investigation/remediation. 

PGs with a working knowledge of Virginia geology are critical to public safety because PGs have the unique skill set to evaluate geologic conditions conducive (or conversely dangerous) for road cuts, tunnels, excavations, dams, etc) and can mitigate property damage/injury related to karst features such as sinkholes. 

With our recent understanding of the high toxicity of per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) and their high mobility in groundwater, the need is clear for Virginia Certified PGs to be involved in environmental assessments to protect groundwater sources used for drinking water supplied to Virginia residents and businesses. The fact is, most Professional Engineers do not have the background and experience to technically evaluate the complexities of contaminant fate and transport to be protective of groundwater aquifers. 

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality employs many Virginia Certified PGs. And Virginia stands out as an early leader in the formation of the well-regarded Association of State Boards of Geology who now administers the national PG exam through states like Virginia.  

While Virginia unfortunately is among some states that have a voluntary PG program (voluntary meaning persons practicing geology in Virginia are NOT required to hold a Virginia Certified PG license), state licensure of PGs provides individuals, businesses and regulators assurances that the person practicing in the many fields of geology (hydrogeology, mining geology, engineering geology, geochemistry, geophysics, etc.) have a baseline of necessary training and experience. 

And having served on the Virginia Board for Geology for 8 years, I know the program is self-funded such that it represents no additional cost to Virginia taxpayers. And being a voluntary program, it represents zero negative impact on commerce, except perhaps to entities who would selfishly benefit (financially or politically) from elimination of the program.

For these reasons, there exists no reasonable rationale to eliminate the self-funded, voluntary Virginia Certified PG program. 


CommentID: 218862