PREAMBLE: Recognizing that soils are natural bodies on the earth’s surface, and that the utilization of this natural resource is of utmost importance to the Commonwealth, the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists hereby declares that this organization further increase the dissemination of information concerning all phases of Soil Science in order to contribute to the general welfare of the Commonwealth.
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of this organization shall be the VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL SOIL SCIENTISTS.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES
The purposes of this Association are (1) to provide a forum for soil scientists, (2) to promote and enhance communication with other technical disciplines, and (3) to serve as a body of opinion on matters relating to Soil Science.Section 1: The objectives of this Association shall be the advancement of the profession of soil science. This shall be deemed to include the following:
- Promote the utilization and conservation of soils as a natural, non-renewable resource.
- Protect the public welfare by encouraging all qualified soil scientists to participate in the affairs of the Association.
- Advance the professional interests of soil science.
- Promote the liaison and exchange of information between soil scientists and other disciplines.
- Promote high standards of education and training in soil science
- Enhance public awareness and appreciation of the profession.
- Establish and maintain high standards of ethical conduct in all professional matters.
ARTICLE III – DEFINITIONS
Section 1.0 Soils: Soil, as used in this text, is the collection of natural bodies of the earth’s surface, in places modified or even made by man of earth materials, containing living matter an supporting or capable of supporting plants out-of-doors, Its upper limit is air or shallow water, at its margins soil grades to deep water or to barren areas of rock or ice. Its lower limit to the not-soil beneath is perhaps the most difficult to define. Soil includes the horizons near the surface that differ from the underlying rock material as a result of interactions through time of climate, living organisms, parent materials, and relief. In the few places where it contains thin-cemented horizons that are impermeable to roots, soil is as deep as the deepest horizon. More commonly soil grades at its lower margin to hard rock or to earth materials virtually devoid or roots, animals or marks of other biological activity. The lower limit of soil, therefore, is normally the lower limit of biological activity, which generally coincides with the common rooting depth of native perennial plants.Section 2.0 A Professional Soil Scientist is a person who has acquired special knowledge of those physical, chemical, mineralogical and biological principles plus the experience necessary for their application to the profession of soil science. Experience is the effect of measured, observed, and inferred soil properties and their uses, and the conveyance of this information to others. It shall include the preparation of any soil information reports for public or private use.
ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP
Membership in the Organization shall be as established in the By-Laws. Membership divisions to meet the special needs of soil science disciplines are encouraged within the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists. Each division shall be granted the authority and responsibility of establishing its own professional requirements upon approval by constitutional amendment. Definitions and standards for any division must be approved by two-third majority vote of the Board of Directors and two-third majority vote of the eligible voting membership as defined by Article VI of the constitution. When approved, the definitions and standards shall be incorporated into Article IV, Section 4.0 of the By‑Laws.
ARTICLE V – HEADQUARTERS AND MANAGEMENT
Section 1.0 The headquarters of the Association shall be determined by the Board of Directors and shall be within the Commonwealth of Virginia.Section 2.0 The Board of Directors shall manage the affairs of the Association. The number of Directors of the Board shall be fixed by the By-Laws.
ARTICLE VI – AMENDMENTS
Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by a majority vote of the Board of Directors or by petition of 25 percent of the voting membership. Eligible voters are defined as Regular and Honorary members in good standing. Approval shall be by a two-third-majority vote of the responding eligible voters. Voting may take place in either of two ways: (1) at a regular meeting by absentee or direct balloting, provided that printed notice of the proposed change was mailed to all members with the call of the meeting or, (2) by mail ballot, at any time provided that 30 days notice of the proposed change has been mailed to all Regular and Honorary members. Voting will be either by attendance at a regular meeting or by response to a mail ballot.
ARTICLE VII – STATUS AND DISSOLUTION
The Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists is a non-profit organization without capital stock. This Association may be dissolved by a resolution requesting dissolution and approved by a majority vote of the eligible voters. The voting shall take place in the manner listed in Article VI of the Constitution. Upon dissolution, the Board of Directors shall pay all debtors of the Association from the Association funds and transfer all remaining monies and assets to the non-profit organization named as the recipient in the dissolution resolution.
ARTICLE I – FISCAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE YEAR
Section 1.0 The fiscal and administrative year of the organization shall be from January 1 through December 31.
ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP AND MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES
Section 1.0 The Association shall have four classes of membership as follows: (1) Regular (this class includes the Lifetime membership), (2) Student, (3) Honorary and (4) Corporate.Sections 1.1 Membership classes are defined as follows: Regular: A person interested in the purposes and objectives of VAPSS, and receiving approval by majority of the Board. Student: A person pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in soil science or related field. May not vote or hold office. Honorary: Elected by VAPSS Board of Directors because of outstanding contributions to the profession. May vote and hold office. Lifetime Member: No Longer Available. The Lifetime Member may elect to pay regular dues on an annual basis. May vote and hold office.Corporate Donor: Corporate Members wishing to contribute to a higher level of annual support to VAPSS to further the goals of the Association. There shall be one (1) individual named as the designated corporate donor for purposes of receiving correspondence; however, the corporation shall receive recognition throughout the year via promotional flyers, annual meetings, etc. May not vote or hold office.Section 2.0: Membership rights, privileges and responsibilities.Section 2.1: All classes of membership shall be permitted to attend meetings of the Association and to take part in the discussion of all business matters.Section 2.2: Voting privileges are limited to Regular and Honorary members.Section 2.3: Only a regular member possessing one of the following criteria shall hold an elective office.
- A person holding a baccalaureate degree with 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical, and earth sciences with a minimum number of 15 semester hours in soil science; or
- A person holding a current certificate as a Virginia Licensed or Certified Professional Soil Scientist from the Board of Professional Soil Scientists in good standing; or
- A person holding a baccalaureate degree in one of the natural sciences and have at least five years of experience in soil evaluation; or
- A person having a record of at least eight years of experience in soil evaluation; or
- A person having at least four years of experience in soil science research or as a teacher of soil science curriculum in an accredited institution of higher education which offers an approved four-year program in soils and at least two years of soil evaluation experience.
Section 2.4: All regular members shall subscribe to the Code of Ethics. Violations may be grounds for dismissal by action approved by majority vote of the Board of Directors upon recommendation of the Ethics Committee.Section 3.0: Dues change each year, but are listed on the application form. VAPSS dues are not deductible as charitable contributions for tax purposes, but continue to be deductible as a business expense.
ARTICLE III – MEETINGS
Section 1.0: The annual meeting of the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists shall be held in the fall at a time, date, and place designated by the Board of Directors. The membership shall be notified of the date, time and place of the annual meeting by the Executive Secretary at least 60 days prior to the meeting.Section 2.0: Special meetings shall be called by a majority vote of the Board or by petition to the Board by 25 percent of the members. The members shall be notified of the date, time, and place, and purpose of the meeting by the Executive Secretary at least 14 days in advance.Section 3.0: A quorum for conducting regular business at all meetings of the Association shall consist of two-thirds of the Board of Directors and the eligible voters present.Section 4.0: The Board of Directors will meet three times a year (January, June and at the Fall meeting.) The President may request additional Board meetings.
ARTICLE IV – ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Section 1.0: The Board of Directors is responsible for managing the Association affairs and shall consist of the President, President-elect, past President, Secretary, Treasurer, four at-large Directors, and a permanent Board position for a representative from Virginia Tech. The Board of Directors shall be known as the Board. Terms of office of the Board’s at-large Directors shall be three years and staggered such that the regular term office of not more than two at-large Directors shall terminate in any one year.Section 2.0: Candidates for elective office shall be selected by a nominating committee consisting of three members appointed by the President. Additional candidates may be nominated from the floor. Nominees will be placed in nomination only with their consent.Section 2.1: Election of candidates shall be by majority vote of those eligible voters present. If no candidate receives a majority vote on the first ballot, a second ballot will be taken to decide between the two candidates with the larger number of votes. Terms of office for the President, President-elect, and Secretary shall be one year. Term of office for Treasurer shall be two yearsSection 2.2: The Board will fill vacated unexpired terms in office from the members until a general membership meeting.Section 2.3: Election of the Board members shall be at the annual meeting in the fall. Terms of office shall begin January 1 of the following year. In the event that any Board member vacates his or her position early, a regular member designated by the President with a majority approval by the remaining Board members will fill the position.Section 2.4: Any Regular member in good standing who has held membership in the Association for the previous 12 consecutive months and meets the requirements of By-Laws Article II Section 2.3 is eligible for election to the Board as President, Secretary, or Treasurer. Any Regular member in good standing who meets the requirements of By-Laws Article II Section 2.3 is eligible for election to the Board as an at large member.Section 3.0: The President shall be Chairman of the Board. He/she shall be responsible for planning the program of the annual meeting, presiding at the meetings, promoting cooperation with other organizations with common goals, and performing such other duties as usually pertains to the office. The President-elect shall perform the duties of the President in his/her absence, and shall succeed to the Presidency in case the office is vacated, and shall serve out the remainder of the term. Vacancy within the office of President-elect shall remain vacated until a general membership meeting. The Secretary shall record the minutes and keep records of all Board meetings and transactions. The Treasurer shall be custodian of all funds belonging to the Association. The Board shall prepare an annual budget. The President in the absence of the Treasurer may withdraw funds from the treasury for payment of financial obligations.Section 4.0: The Board of Directors shall be responsible for employment of the Executive Secretary. They will also review the Executive Secretary’s workload and Annual Personnel Report. The purpose of the Executive Secretary shall be to provide a central location for the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists correspondence and information. The Executive Secretary shall report only to the President or his/her designee and be responsible for those tasks identified in Attachment 3 at the end of this document.
ARTICLE V – COMMITTEES
Section 1.0: The President shall appoint committees as needed for tasks related to managing the affairs or furthering the objectives of the Association.Section 2.0: The standing committees of the Organization shall be:
- Public Relations and Education
- Budget and Finance
- Technical Advisory
Section 2.1: Additional standing committees and/or as hoc committees may be formed as needed.Section 3.0: The President with approval of the Board shall appoint all standing committees. Committee membership will be on a three-year rotating basis. Each incoming President will nominate one member to each committee.Section 4.0: Each committee shall make an annual written report to the Association at the Fall Annual Meeting. Quarterly reports from each committee chair will be due to the President by close of business the first Friday of March, June, September, and December.Section 5.0: Membership Committee
- The Membership committee shall consist of at least three Regular members , headed by the president-elect .
- The duties of this committee shall be as follows:
- To bring the purposes and program of the Association before the entire Profession in order to enlist endorsement and support and encourage affiliations.
- To encourage membership
- To review regular membership applications and make recommendations to the Board of Directors.
- To ensure the Executive Secretary maintains current membership roll and prepare annual membership report.
- Notify new members of acceptance by the Board , providing them with a copy of the constitution and other membership materials.
- To forward the names of potential officers to the full Board for inclusion in the nominations brought forth at the Annual Meeting.
Section 6.0: Public Relations and Education Committee
- The Public Relations and Education committee shall consist of at least three Regular members headed by the Past-President.
- The duties of the Public Relations and Education Committee shall be as follows:
- To plan and conduct publicity campaign through newspaper and other recognized media on behalf of the Organization.
- To inform people of the opportunities in the field of soil science
- Plan the following training sessions including making arrangements for facilities, speakers, lodging, etc.
- Technical Training – May
- Basic Soils (LPSS/CPSS exam preparation each April and October)
- Annual Fall & if desired by the Board, a Spring Meeting
- Prepare a roster of speakers
Section 7.0: Budget and Finance Committee
- The Budget and Finance Committee shall consist of at least three Regular members , headed by the Treasurer .
- The duties of the committee shall be as follows:
- To assist the Board in developing an annual budget with the assistance of the Treasurer.
- To audit the financial record of the Association as follows:
- At the request of the Board
- At the close of the fiscal year
Section 8.0: Technical Advisory Committee
- The Technical Advisory Committee shall consist of at least thee Regular members.
aa. The duties of the Committee shall be as follows:bb. To study and report to the membership on the field and laboratory techniques, practices and advancing technologies important to soil science in Virginia .cc. To advise the Board on questions of technical practice and technique.dd. To act as an arbitrator in matters of technical dispute within the Association.ee. To act as a technical liaison between the Association and other groups, or disciplines affecting soil science.Section 9.0: Ethics Committee
- The Ethics Committee shall consist of not less than three professional soil scientists who are Regular members in good standing.
gg. The duties of the Ethics Committee shall be as follows:hh. To maintain the Code of Ethics
- To maintain a liaison with other professional organization for professional soil scientists on all matters pertaining to ethics.
- To investigate any charges of unprofessional conduct according to Article VIII of the By-Laws and report its finding and recommendations to the Board.
Section 10.0 Newsletter Committee
- The Newsletter Committee shall prepare and layout the newsletter for publication to the Executive Secretary for duplication and distribution. The Secretary shall head this committee .
- Newsletters are to be mailed to members on the current membership list in March, June, September, and December.
ARTICLE VI – AMENDMENTS
The By-Laws of the Association may be amended, added to or repealed by a majority vote of the responding eligible voting members. The voting shall take place in a manner listed in Article VI of the Constitution.
ARTICLE VII – RULES OF ORDER
Section 1: The rules contained in Roberts’s Rules of Order shall govern the Association in all cases to which they are applicable and not inconsistent with the Constitution or By-Laws of the Association.Section 2: A parliamentarian is to be appointed by the President.
ARTICLE VIII – CODE OF ETHICS
All members of the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists shall adhere to the Code of Ethics (Attachment 1).
ARTICLE IX – PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES
All members of the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists are recommended to adhere to the format for Drainfield Site Evaluation and/or Shrink-Swell Site Evaluation when conducting the pertinent work (Attachment 2)Attachment 1VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL SOIL SCIENTISTSCODE OF ETHICSForwardHonesty, justice and courtesy form a moral philosophy which, associated with mutual interest among people, constitutes the foundation of ethics. The professional soil scientist should recognize such a standard, not in passive observance, but as a set of dynamic principles guiding her/his conduct and way of life. It is her/his duty to practice the profession according to these Cannons of Ethics.As the keystone of professional conduct is integrity, the professional soil scientist will discharge duties with fidelity to the public, employers, and clients, and with fairness and impartiality to all. It is her/his duty to interest oneself in public welfare and to be ready to apply her/his special knowledge for the benefit of mankind. She/He should uphold the honor and dignity of the profession and avoid association with any enterprise of questionable character. In her/his dealings with fellow professional soil scientists, she/he should be fair and tolerant.Professional LifeSECTION 1 The professional soil scientist will cooperate in improving the profession by exchanging information and experience with other professional soil scientists and students and contributing to the work of soil societies, associations and schools.SECTION 2 The professional soil scientist will avoid all conduct or practice likely to discredit or do injury to the dignity and honor of this profession.SECTION 3 As a professional soil scientist, service will be rendered to every human being without distinction of gender, race, religion, cultural background, economic or social condition.SECTION 4 The professional soil scientist will endeavor to extend public knowledge of soil science and will discourage the spreading of untrue, unfair and exaggerated statements regarding soil science.SECTION 5 The professional soil scientist will have due regard for safety of life and health of the public and employees who may be affected by the work for which she/he is responsible.SECTION 6 The professional soil scientist will express an opinion only when it is founded on adequate knowledge and honest conviction while she/he is serving as a witness before a court, commission or other tribunal.SECTION 7 It shall be considered unprofessional and inconsistent with honorable and dignified bearing for any professional soil scientist to advertise her/his work or merit in self-laudatory language, or in any other manner derogatory to the dignity of the profession, professional work and reputation. Solicitation by lobbying, criticism of competitors or self-laudation is degrading to the profession and is unethical. Advertising shall be limited to listing the name, address, telephone number and type of service rendered.SECTION 8 The professional soil scientist will not attempt to practice in any field of soil science in which she/he is not proficient.Relationships with Clients and EmployersSECTION 9 The professional soil scientist will act in professional matters for each client or employer as a faithful agent or trustee.SECTION 10 The professional soil scientist will engage or advise her/his client or employer to engage other experts and specialists whenever the client’s or employer’s interests are best served by such service.SECTION 11 The professional soil scientist will disclose no confidential information concerning the business affairs or technical information and data of clients or employers without their consent, unless required to do so by a court of law.SECTION 12 The professional soil scientist will not undertake work which she/he believes will not be successful without first advising her/his client of her/his opinion.Relationships with Other Soil ScientistsSECTION 13 The professional soil scientist will endeavor to protect the soil science profession, collectively and individually, from misrepresentation and misunderstanding.SECTION 14 The professional soil scientist will endeavor to provide opportunity for the professional development and advancement of soil scientists under her/his employment.SECTION 15 The professional soil scientist will not, directly or indirectly, injure the professional reputation, prospects, or practice of another soil scientist.SECTION 16 The professional soil scientist will not accept an appointment with a client or employer to replace another soil scientist while knowing that a just claim for compensation or damages of the previous soil scientist remains unpaid.SECTION 17 The professional soil scientist will not become responsibly associated with soil scientists who do not conform to ethical practices, with a corporation or partnership, as a cloak for unethical acts, but must accept responsibility for any such act to the extent of her/his authority.SECTION 18 The professional soil scientist will report to the Ethics Committee all violations of ethics.draft March 2012Attachment 2VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL SOIL SCIENTISTSPROFESSIONAL WORK STANDARDSPurpose: To establish minimum work standards acceptable to the profession and the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists. These standards are established to protect the profession of soil science and ensure the health and safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth.Types of work for which standards must be established and maintained include: I. Minimum Site Evaluation Report Quality Standards for Septic Tank Drainfields II. Minimum Site Evaluation Report Quality Standards Analysis of Shrink-Swell Clays at building sites III. Other (as deemed necessary by the Technical Advisory Committee and Board of Directors)I. Minimum Site Evaluation Report Quality Standards for Septic Tank Drainfields using Virginia Sewage Disposal RegulationsThe following are minimum report quality standards and based primarily on Part III of the Virginia Department of Health Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations. These Standards relate to the information which should be included on individual lot reports to provide the soils information needed by local Health Departments. They also represent the minimum information needed to meet good soil science practices for documenting drainfield disposal sites.A.Number of observation holes/pits:A minimum of three to five profile holes representative of the proposed drainfield and/or the reserve drainfield is required. The maximum recommended separation distance between observation holes is 100 feet. Additional profile holes may be required depending on soil variability. When a required reserve area is not immediately adjacent to a proposed drainfield area, additional soils documentation will be necessary.B.Depth of observation:Soil profile holes should be a minimum of sixty (60) inches or to a depth which establishes the existence of restrictive zones such as a water table, rock, fragipan, impermeable clays, etc. All holes should be extended to a minimum of twelve (12) inches below the recommended ditch bottom for soils of Health Department texture groups I & II and twenty (20) inches below the recommended ditch bottom depth for soils of Health Department texture groups III & IV.C.Documentation of soil profile holes/pits:Each soil profile hole drilled or dug during a soil investigation should be properly described and located on the site sketch. All holes used for drainfield documentation shall be completely described to meet the requirements of the Regulations. Other holes or pits should be briefly described with horizon depths, soil textures and depth to soil restriction or chroma 2 mottles.D.Documentation of soil characteristics:The major horizons of all soil profiles are to be documented using U.S. Department of Agriculture soil textural classes and Standard Munsel Colors or linguistic equivalents. The following soil characteristics must be documented:
- Soil Color (matrix and mottle patterns)
- Soil Texture (including % and size of coarse fragments)
- Soil Horizons and Horizon Depths
- Shrink-swell Potential (if noted)
- When backhoe pits are used, the complete range of soil characteristics exposed are to be described with depth to mottles, horizon boundary, rock, percentage and depth to rock or other restrictive layers & variability in rock depth. (OSHA Regulations should be observed especially when working in pits deeper than five (5) feet or in unstable ground)
- Depth to rock or restrictive layers (if present)
The following soil characteristics should be documented when they provide additional information regarding soil permeability:
- Soil consistence
- Soil structure (type, class, grade)
- Soil mottling patterns (abundance, contrast and size)
10. Soil parent material and geologic province11. Clay mineralogy and the existence of various soil minerals (feldspar, mica, quartz, etc.)E.Site sketch:A site sketch shall be provided which accurately represents the location of all soil observation holes and/or pits at each site. Sketches shall be neat, detailed and when possible, scale drawings should be used. When scale drawings are not practical, the sketch shall provide accurate documentation (distances) between holes and suitable reference points. As a minimum, the following on and off site features which are within 200 feet of any portion of a proposed drainfield and reserve area should be shown:
- Existing wells, springs and cisterns. Proposed water supplies should be located in compliance with the private well regulations
- Drainfields and proposed drainfields
- Percent slope and slope direction, or an acceptable topography map
- Structures (buildings, etc.)
- Easements, rights of way, roads, property lines, lakes, streams, buried utilities and tile drainage
- Shellfish waters, surface impoundments used for drinking water and drainage ditches
- Chesapeake Bay compliance should be documented when applicable
F.Other:Other requirements as deemed necessary from existing or future Regulations, Chesapeake Bay requirements, local ordinances and existing site conditions should be included.G.Report format:
- Soil profile descriptions and reports should be clearly written or typed on standard Health Department forms or acceptable substitutes
- Abbreviations of soil color, texture, etc, are not acceptable
- Recommendations regarding estimated percolation rates and drainfield size requirements shall be included
- The site sketch should include design sketches suitable to show that the area identified is sufficient for a specified number of bedrooms of water use. Drainfield design criteria shall include type of system proposed, percolation rate installation depth, number of lines, line length, width and spacing of trenches and other pertinent information
II.Minimum Site Evaluation Report Quality Standards for Analysis of Shrink-Swell Clays at Building SitesTo be developedIII.Other (deemed as necessary by the Technical Advisory Committee and Board of Directors)To be developedAttachment 3VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL SOIL SCIENTISTSJOB DESCRIPTION FORMPosition: Executive SecretaryPurpose: The purpose of the Executive Secretary shall be to provide a central location fortheVirginia Association of Professional Soil Scientistscorrespondence andinformation.Position Supervisor:Although the Executive Secretary works on behalf of the Board ofDirectors, this position shall receive direction only from the President orher/his designee.Position Tasks:The Executive Secretary shall be responsible for and evaluated on thetimely and efficient completion of the following tasks:A.Send notification of dues to all members by December 1 of each yearB.Maintain a current membership listC.Send new applications to Membership Committee within 30 days of receiptD.All mailingsE.Deposit all funds within 30 days of receipt and send the Financial Report to theTreasurer each monthF.Update the Licensed and Certified Professional Soil Scientists Directory each year byJanuary 1G.Send itemized time sheet to the President each month for paycheck approvalH.Keep chronological record of meeting notes and reports furnished by the Secretary ofthe Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists, President and CommitteeChairsI.Receives committee reports from the Committee Chairs in March, June, September,and December and send to President
 Soil Taxonomy AH. 436it USDA-SCS 12/75Soil Survey Staff. 1999. Soil taxonomy: A basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveys. 2nd edition. Natural Resources Conservation Service. U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook Copyright VAPSS 1999-2021As amended 08-2012
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