Earth Sciences

The Earth Sciences Practice Group provides a comprehensive range of geological, geotechnical, and hydrogeological services nationally and internationally for a variety of industries, including power generation, mining, quarries, railways, highways, oil and gas, agricultural and food processing, irrigation, land development, and public works.

Our geologists, hydrogeologists, and geotechnical engineers will work closely with you to plan and implement cost-effective solutions to address your specific needs and lead your project through all the required phases.

Geotechnical Engineering

Our geotechnical engineering services include foundation design for commercial and industrial facilities; seismic site classification; slope stability investigation and remediation of landslides for railways, highways, bridges, pipelines, transmission towers, and buildings; dam safety reviews for major earthen dams and tailings facilities; design of cofferdams and dewatering systems for construction in water bodies; terrain analysis and hazard mapping for land development; and geohazard risk assessments for pipelines and highways. 

Our skills include stability, seepage, and stress-strain modeling; lateral pile and settlement analysis; soil resistivity surveys; drilling, logging, installation, and monitoring of piezometers, slope inclinometers, and settlement plates; installation of real-time remote monitoring systems to collect data and trigger alarms for risk management at sensitive sites; construction control monitoring; determination of foundation soil properties for pile design; and down-hole inspection services for piles. 

We have sophisticated tools and powerful software for performing Quality Control and Quality Assurance services during pile foundation construction.


Geology is an integral component of our hydrogeological, geotechnical, and environmental work, because understanding the physical environment and its unique challenges allows us to find the best solution for your project. Our geological services include mine planning and development, quarry development, management of waste rock, geological and hydrogeological site characterization, and aggregate resource exploration.


Our hydrogeological services include development of groundwater and transport flow models; computer modeling of groundwater flow, solute transport, geochemistry, and seepage; development of groundwater supplies for commercial and private clients; design and implementation of hydrogeological field investigations, including piezometer and instrumentation installation, hydraulic testing, pump and packer testing, and river intake feasibility; as well as construction supervision services.


Our geophysical capabilities complement and support our geotechnical and environmental engineering services. Clifton has non-destructive and non-invasive tools that collect data to assist in developing solutions for challenging projects. Our in-house state-of-art SuperSting Wi-Fi Earth Resistivity (ERT) equipment with 2D and 3D graphics and 24-channel Refraction Microtremor (ReMi) equipment with shear (S) wave and P wave velocity measurement capabilities can provide value on: environmental site assessments, contaminated site work, slope stability investigations, potential geohazard mapping, dynamic foundation design parameters, delineation of bedrock/till and overburden soil contact, seismic site classifications, void and cavern assessments, and river crossing feasibility studies. With our ERT equipment Clifton can provide design parameters for electrical grounding design work and resistivity values in accordance with the Wenner 4-pin method as described in the ASTM G57 and IEEE 81 standards.

Environmental Services

Our Environmental Practice Group is involved in many areas, including planning; baseline studies; environmental impact assessments; environmental audits; site assessments; compliance monitoring and reporting; permitting and licensing; spill control and remediation; tailings and waste management; facility design and construction; decommissioning and reclamation plans; and risk assessment and management.

Our team has the expertise to handle environmental projects through every phase – from the planning and investigation stage through to the decommissioning and reclamation of a property. Our comprehensive knowledge of environmental regulations and permitting processes in Western Canada and our established relationships with regulatory agencies are added advantages that allow us to advance projects smoothly.

Environmental Site Assessments

Environmental site assessments help to determine whether land has existing or potential environmental contamination, which is important to know before purchasing land or developing on a property. Our environmental team has the expertise to perform Phase I, II, and III site assessments. We have conducted environmental site assessments for First Nations communities, financial institutions, real estate companies, industries, law firms, public institutions, and government agencies.

Remediation of Contaminated Sites

When land has been used for commercial development, it sometimes contains hazardous waste or other contaminants; this land is often referred to as a brownfield site. Our environmental engineers have a wealth of experience investigating and decommissioning brownfield sites, investigating hazardous waste sites, and providing alternate remedial and control measures for soil and groundwater contamination from the fuel specimen of contaminants encountered in the brownfield sites.

Remediation Strategies

Our engineers and scientists can provide remedial system design and construction. We find the right solution for the environment using predictive contaminant transport modeling, which demonstrates how contaminants will travel. Solutions sometimes consist of bioremediation, which enhances the growth of existing microbes or introduces specialized microbes to the site; or phytoremediation, which utilizes plants that can contain, degrade, or eliminate contaminants in the environment.

Environmental Impact Assessments

Our environmental experts hold advanced degrees in environmental sciences and specialize in environmental assessment. We have assisted many of our clients with the federal and provincial environmental assessment approval processes. Through our active participation in this area, we are able to maintain an understanding of the evolving environmental acts, regulations, and policies that apply to projects at several levels of government.

Civil Engineering

The Civil Practice Group assists government agencies, private corporations, and local municipalities with the construction of highways, roadways, airports, and other lineal infrastructure.  This group is broken down into four main areas of expertise: Civil Design, Transportation, Construction Management, and Geomatics Engineering.

Civil Design

The Civil Design Group provides engineering design through AutoCAD®. They produce drawings and digital information, which include changes made during construction, to guide contractors and our Construction Group. They advise clients of the potential impact of design aspects and make recommendations to reduce conflicts with other stakeholders.

The group specializes in infrastructure, including grading design and earthworks modeling; highway geometric design; intersection treatment, including modern roundabouts, interchange design, and geometrics; traffic modeling; vehicle turning analysis; railway design; pavement design; material and aggregate assessment; municipal land development; site grading; underground utilities design for storm and sanitary sewer and potable water; and storm water management, including hydraulic analysis and erosion control.

Transportation Engineering

The Transportation Group oversees design and coordination of projects, including high-level assessment of risk analysis and budgeting. They complete transportation planning; route evaluation and investigations; and traffic analysis and operations for traffic impact assessments. Their transportation experience consists of work for new construction; grade widening; pavement rehabilitation and crack repair projects for rural and urban roadways; and construction of new rail lines and spurs for terminals and hubs.

Construction Management

The Construction Group ensures that the end product is constructed according to design, the materials being used meet required specifications, construction procedures adhere to contract provisions, and the client is satisfied. They provide these services for new site projects, roadway construction grading and surfacing projects, and rail construction projects.  Construction managers and inspectors support materials technicians, providing quality control and quality assurance for materials used during construction.

Geomatics Engineering

The Geomatics Group uses conventional survey and unmanned aerial vehicle methods to map and create digital models of our project sites. They provide georeferenced information on topographical features and existing infrastructure by combining terrestrial, aerial, and bathymetric survey information with digital elevation models. They support our construction managers through layout, quantity calculations, monitoring, and as-built surveys.

Materials Engineering

Our six laboratories located throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan allow us to provide materials testing services on soil, aggregates, asphalt, concrete, and ballast materials. Project work conducted by our materials engineers includes field quality control of materials, supervision during construction, and construction surveys.

Comprehensive Laboratories

Our laboratories are CSA/CCIL certified for concrete testing. Our field-testing equipment includes nuclear densometers, Dennison samplers, vane shear apparatus, dynamic cone penetrometers, and the Menard pressuremeter. We are able to perform petrographic analysis, mill abrasion, Los Angeles abrasion, micro-deval, absorption, and soundness testing on aggregates, and our asphalt testing services include the preparation of trial mixes and Marshall Properties checks.

Specialized Testing and Studies

Our team of experts can perform specialized soil tests, including consolidation tests, triaxial strength tests, flexible wall permeameter, and direct shear tests.

Materials Statement of Qualifications