Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Well if you are describing a groundwater professional the definition is a certified and licensed individual who will not rat out a fellow professional who is intentionally deceiving or lying to a) the public b) a non -professional c) anybody other than a fellow certified hydrogeological professional. This of course is based upon only thirty years experience dealing with hydrogeologists. Occasionally if a member of the public is very lucky, the stars will align in order for the public to be told the plain, unvarnished truth. Even in professional hydrogeological reports prepared on behalf of a client, rarely will the hydroG professional speak the plain truth, especially if it is bad news. After all he/she wants too get rehired for followup investigations, remediation alternatives and further expensive reports etc. A hydrogeologist who ever expressed shock, surprise, disgust or even just plain anger at a client who clearly had been surreptitiously dumping toxic wastes into a drinking water aquifer, river or lake providing drinking water would be reprimanded and likely fired on the spot.

I do not feel qualified to comment on other professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers etc. Oh heck who are we kidding? Doctors can be very religious especially if they have a God complex. That said there isn't nearly as large a conflict of interest between the doctor's interests and the patients hence generally I expect they try to be as honest as humanely possible. Similarly nurses just like doctors can get overwhelmed and make mistakes but generally I would be surprised if they weren't very honest and straightforward with their patients. Teachers are in somewhat of a different boat. It's one thing telling a sixteen year old that they really need to be focusing on a simpler goal than rocket scientist if they are failing math, physics and sciences in general. I can't really imagine any good way for a teacher to tell an eight year old that their prospects are very slim and probably they never should. Telling stories to parents about their kids is another tough one. What parent ever wants to hear that their little boy or girl are really much slower than almost all the other boys and girls? In these circumstances discretion and subtlety are absolutely mandatory.

Professional engineers, geoscientists and hydrogeologists allegedly have some duty to the public in matters affecting health and safety. Certainly a civil engineer who signs off on a bridge or underpass which later collapses is held accountable. In my experience I have never seen a hydrogeologist held accountable for either failures, bad advice, minimizing contaminant threats or just general bullshitting and bafflegabbing serving either the clients interests (likely financial) or their own in order to get recommended or rehired. We all know that lawyers are experts at word smithing, lily gilding and other black arts in order to serve their clients. Fortunately other lawyers are there to provide context, and to keep them within some limits of truthfulness. As awful as our judicial system is, at least sometimes there is a balance of power between the prosecution and the defence. No such thing occurs between client driven consultants and the public who are stakeholders in the process. Our government "regulators" have long ago been defanged by budget cutbacks as well as by being "captured" by better financed industries offering jobs, directorships and consulting business for retired regulators. The system is rotten and everyone in the know, knows it.

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