Merit Engineering awarded “Best in State” Gold Award

Merit Engineering received the “Best in State” Gold Award for Technical Value to the Engineering Profession (Engineering Excellence Awards – 2004) from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington (ACEC Washingtion). The following is from the ACEC web site:

Gold Award for Technical Value to the Engineering Profession
Merit Engineering, Inc. – Western Washington University Communications Building and Student Center – Bellingham

Western Washington University’s planned Student Recreation Center required construction on an erratic bedrock subsurface that would most likely cause construction change orders and cost overruns. With impressive mathematic derivations, Merit Engineering recalculated the capability of drilled shaft and rock socket pillars to more closely match field conditions, proving their technical and economical feasibility. The firm’s new equations set an important baseline calculation for other projects to effectively use drilled shaft and rock socket pillars, and enabled Western Washington University to complete the project under budget and without construction

Portage Bay Park Project

Project Description

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is proposing the development of Portage Bay Park, located along the north shore of Portage Bay in the University District. The 3-acre site, 1.65-acres of which is comprised of dry land, is west of the intersection of NE Boat Street and 15th Ave NE and is adjacent to Sakuma Viewpoint. The site was purchased from the University of Washington as mitigation for impacts from the SR520 expansion project.

The project proposal includes removing existing structures, on-site remediation, and habitat restoration. The park will also provide passive recreation opportunities, community gathering space, water access, and shoreline habitat areas.




Project Purpose

Enhancement of the aquatic environment. Seattle’s shorelines tend to be hard spaces due to the presence of high intensity uses and remnants of few natural environmental features. The Portage Bay Park site itself has a long history of intensive uses, which have left the site deeply contaminated. Extensive environmental remediation is planned in order to bring the site back to a healthier state.


Project Soil Sampling and Lab Testing



Merit Engineering has obtained an Overall performance Rating Score of 94 / 100.

Merit Engineering is awarded “GSA PES Schedule Holder

And Of all the factors in development, understanding the properties of soil and rock on site is the most fundamental to the design of structures and infrastructures. Our soil tests provide invaluable data towards a project’s design; our engineer’s expert interpretation is equally important. It is also important for engineers to have the knowledge to correctly apply the properties into the design models. We are so proud that we obtained an Overall Performance Rating Score of 94 out of 100. The performance review was conducted by Dun & Bradstreet, an authorized agency to conduct such a review for the GSA (General Service Administration) of the US Federal Services Department. This review was carried out by contacting more than 25 of our clients.
Our team is committed to reliable providing, on-time, cost-effective consulting & materials testing services.

Geotechnical and Geological Engineering Projects

Completed Geotechnical and Geological Engineering Projects

Federal Projects

State Projects

  • State of Washington General Administration: Whatcom Community College:
    • Heiner Center
    • Child Development Center
    • wcc-heiner-parking-lotNorth Campus Parking Lot -Merit Engineering conducted a geotechnical investigation for a proposed 700 parking space parking lot, associated sewer and storm drains. Merit analyzed soil and groundwater conditions based on the results from test pits, provided recommendations for pavement structure design, and provided construction phase support and soil testing services.
    • Fountain
  • Western Washington University:
  • Bellingham Technical College:
    • Bellingham Technical College, Health and Technology Building
  • Drayton Harbor Hillside


  • City of Goldendale:
  • City of Sumas:
    • Subsurface investigation and pavement design for 3,000 feet of new highway
  • City of Blaine:
  • City of Bellingham:
    • Subsurface investigation and pavement design for 3,000 feet of new highway
  • Whatcom County:
    • Subsurface investigation and pavement design for 3,000 feet of new highway
    • Subsurface investigation and pavement design for 3,000 feet of Cordata Parkway extension
    • Subsurface investigation and pavement design for 1,500 feet of Waldron Road
  • City of Lynden:
    • Subsurface investigation and pavement design for 3,000 feet of new highway.

Public Schools

  • Bellingham Public School District:
    • Pre-design, design and construction phases of new buildings and remodel projects
  • Ferndale Public School District:
    • Pre-design, design and construction phases of new buildings and remodel projects

Retaining Wall Design

  • Similk Bay:
  • City of Blaine:
    • Design of a 400′ long geogrid reinforced retaining wall- Merit Engineering conducted geotechnical engineering investigation for about 500 feet of bike path on Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Interstate Highway 5 Right-Of-Way. Merit provided engineering design and specification for construction of a geogrid retaining wall. The design has been reviewed by WSDOT and approved for construction. Parallel with this retaining wall, Merit provided full geotechnical services for 5,000 feet of 3rd street reconstruction including pavement section design, subsurface conditions and evaluation of the existing road conditions.

Underground Utility Design

  • Western Washington University:
    • Underground tunnel for a communication project
  • City of Bellingham:
    • About 2,000 linear foot Yew Street sewer extension project


Slope Stability

  • Point Whitehorn:
    • Slope stability investigation for 15 acre site on Point Whitehorn- MERIT ENGINEERING was hired to perform a slope investigation of the subject property. The subject property is about a 15 acre site on Point Whitehorn. The sea cliff was about 50 feet high and had a history of numerous landslides. Whatcom County Planning Department required that a comprehensive geotechnical, geological, and hydrogeologic study be completed so that the new development will not contribute to the problematic area, especially causing an influx of water to the already troubled residences on the bluff. Merit conducted a geological, geotechnical, and hydrogeological investigation on the Point Whitehorn area, including literature review, test borings and test pits, monitoring well installation and inspections. Merit Engineering was able to derive the geology settings of the area, soil and groundwater conditions based on the results from test borings and monitoring wells. Merit then evaluated the stability of the sea cliff and the effect of the recession of the cliff on the proposed project. We provided recommendations for site drainage and bearing capacity for buildings. The plan using Merit’s report and recommendations has been approved by Whatcom County and is under construction.
  • Blue Canyon:
    • Geological Feasibility Study for a subdivision on the alluvial fan
  • Indian Ridge Correction Facility, Arlington, Washington:
    • An investigation of the subsurface soil and groundwater conditions

Environmental Engineering Projects

Completed Environmental Engineering Projects

Manchester Annex Superfund Landfill:

  • Clay Cap Integrity Study

manchesterThe Army Corps of Engineers hired Merit Engineering to test the integrity of a clay cap on a superfund landfill in Manchester, WA. The investigation included test borings and soil sampling in the area of concern aimed at determining the moisture content of the subgrade waste materials. With our OSHA Hazardous Materials training, we were equipped to deal with the potentially contaminated samples and any leakage from the landfill that might have occurred during the boring process.

No matter how careful locating services may be, during subsurface exploration or excavation, there is the possibility that an unknown fuel tank or other hazardous material may be encountered. Merit Engineering has the knowledge and expertise to deal with any such circumstances.

City of Anacortes:

Morse Hardware:

Blue Canyon Alluvial Fan:

  • Geological Feasibility Study for a Subdivision on the Alluvial Fan

bluecanMerit Engineering provided geotechnical engineering services for a proposed logging and conversion plan for a 70 acre forest land on the southern end of Lake Whatcom. The site is on a steep sloped hillside with complicated geology characterized by phyllite bedrock. Several landslides have occurred on the inner gorge area of the Blue Canyon Creek. DNR and Whatcom County required a full scale study on the geologic condition with particular interest to slope stability of the hillside and the inner gorge area of the creek, and the effect of logging on slope conditions, safe setback requirement from the bank of the creek. Merit conducted a comprehensive literature review of published papers, geology reports and geologic studies in the area. Merit then conducted a site investigation, mapped all the slope failures and the geometries of potential failure slopes. Merit analyzed the strength properties of the soils and rocks including friction angles and cohesions by back-calculating from the mapped slope failures. Using the strength properties of the rocks and soils, Merit was able to predict the safe slope angle and provided safe setbacks for logging practice and safe design for logging road construction and drainage. The plan prepared according to Merit’s recommendations was approved by both DNR and Whatcom County.

bluecan2Merit Engineering also conducted a geological engineering study of a subdivision of the alluvial fan. The site geology and geomorphology were investigated by visual reconnaissance and subsurface test pits and dynamic cone penetration tests. Recommendations for safe guarding the proposed development were, therefore, derived.


Subdivision Development on Chuckanut Mountain:

  • Rock Slope Engineering and Remediation

Pacific Business Park in Ferndale:

  • Seismic Risk Evaluation

Church and Housing Complex in Bellingham:

  • Geotechnical Feasibility Studies

American Home Property:

  • 27 Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessments throughout Western States

Silver Springs Apartments:

  • Level I Environmental Site Assessment

silver_springsMERIT ENGINEERING conducted a Level I Environmental Site Assessment on a property proposed to be an apartment complex consisting of approximately 250 units in Kent, Washington. The objective of this study was to determine whether the property or the adjacent sites had releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. Natural hazards were also investigated by researching relevant geological literature. This study was limited to the research into and evaluation of the existing information documented by others concerning this property and it¡¯s vicinity.

The objective of geotechnical investigation was to study the subsurface soil and groundwater conditions at the proposed project site, derive conclusions, and provide preliminary recommendations for design of foundations to support the proposed structures. Also included in the geotechnical investigation was the design of several retaining walls using geogrid soil reinforcements.

The soils at the site varied greatly and in the three month time it took to complete the earthwork, Merit Engineering provided critical information daily to the contractors. Our responsibility was to insure quality assurance with regards to the earthwork. Many times during the project, Merit was complimented on our knowledge and reliability by the owners, contractors and city officials involved with the project.

U.S. Postal Service:


Groundwater Engineering Projects

Completed Groundwater Engineering Projects

Ocean Star Seafood:

  • Hydrologic Study and Monitoring Well Installaions for Wastewater Treatment Plant

ocean2Merit Engineering was retained to investigate the hydrogeologic conditions at the site for an on-site waste water treatment system. Merit conducted a hydrogeological study based on a literature survey and well logs collected by DOE and completed a hydrogeological report including groundwater level, type, flow directions and gradient. Merit also estimated groundwater conductivity and analyzed the extent of the groundwater contamination area based on an analytical groundwater transport theory. With Merit’s report, the waste water treatment system has been approved by the DOE. Merit also provided design service for installation of groundwater monitoring wells system for inspection of the groundwater quality. Merit provided technical support for installation of the wells by providing full observation service guiding the well driller to install the designed wells. Subsequently, Merit prepared a written manual guideline for groundwater monitoring procedures, equipment, quality control and a reporting guide

Ferry Brothers:

  • Hydrologic Study of Wastewater Treatment Plant


Olivine Corporation:

  • Groundwater Monitoring


City of Bellingham:

  • Hydrologic Study for Proposed Land Subdivision with Bellingham City Limits

Asbestos Inspections

Completed Asbestos Inspection Projects

Meridian Village Shopping Mall:

  • AHERA asbestos inspection

City of Blaine:

  • Asbestos inspection of the City Hall and Fire Hall Buildings with a total area of 10,000 square feet

Home Port Learning Center:

  • Asbestos inspection of a 4,500 square foot, single story building

Chandelier Restaurant:

  • Asbestos inspection of a 4,000 square foot, fire damaged restaurant