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DEP Issues Guidance on Disputes Between Agency and Consultant Professional Geologists

Posted Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Documents of a geological nature such as those involving geochemistry, sedimentology, hydrogeology, geomorphology, or groundwater that are submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) must be signed and sealed by a “Professional Geologist in Responsible Charge” as defined in Chapter 61-G16-01, Florida Administrative Code (Consultant PG).  Such documents are reviewed by Agency Professional Geologists (Agency PG).  On January 16, 2014, Jorge Caspary, P.G. Director, DEP Division of Waste Management and Jon Arthur, Ph.D., P.G., Director, DEP Florida Geological Survey, issued a memorandum to all DEP District Directors and Local Program Managers to lay out the procedure to be followed when the Consultant PG disputes the professional geological opinion of an Agency’s PG, to the extent it alters, contradicts, or modifies the Consultant PG’s signed and sealed opinion.  The Consultant PG must document the dispute in writing and clearly identify the applicable rule in dispute.  The Agency PG must notify the section administrator, who oversees an independent review of the relevant documentation by a qualified independent PG.

These procedures were put into place to avoid an interpretation, for liability purposes, that the Agency PG has assumed a successor professional geologist role (supplanting the Consultant PG) similar to that role as defined in Chapter 61-G15-27, F.A.C. (which relates to professional engineers).

For additional information contact Susan Stephens.

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