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Risk and Resilience  Services

Seismic Resilience


Earthquake preparedness is nothing new to those living in the Pacific Northwest. Local faults in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California periodically cause ground shaking that damages our utility infrastructure. Now, with the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake in the spotlight, utilities are increasingly concerned about the performance of their system and long-term recovery after a seismic event.

Engineering consulting firms are rising to the challenge of seismic resilience planning and design, and RH2 is no exception. RH2 staff have a wide breadth of seismic resilience planning and design expertise.

From seismic planning, earthquake early warning systems, performance assessments, to retrofits and seismic designs, we offer a full suite of seismic resilience services to strengthen the  infrastructure of our infrastructure and ensure long-term viability after the CSZ event.

Seismic Planning


Finding the right balance between emergency preparedness and affordability for our clients begins with proper planning. Determining which pipelines and facilities should be assessed and possibly improved is influenced by several factors, and RH2 has the in-house expertise to help guide you through the process.


RH2 offers the following seismic planning services:

  • Level of Service Goals & Policy Development

  • Geotechnical Hazard Identification

  • Supply Reliability & Redundancy

  • Backbone Identification & Prioritization

  • Risk Assessment & Mitigation Plans

  • System Operability Assessments

  • Seismic Design Standards Development

  • Emergency Response Plans

  • Earthquake Early Warning Implementation (ShakeAlert®)

  • Operational Planning


RH2 - Your Proven Partner in Earthquake Early Warning










RH2 is a proven leader in promoting and developing the USGS' earthquake early warning system, called ShakeAlert®. This early warning system can provide tens of seconds of notice ahead of earthquake shaking, providing utilities crucial time for staff and critical infrastructure protective actions.


RH2 was the first company in the northwest to recognize the benefits that ShakeAlert® provides to our water and wastewater clients. In 2019, our electrical and instrumentation professionals developed customized hardware and software to provide a secure and automatic connection to the ShakeAlert® signal. Now, our Advanced Seismic Controller (ASC) has been installed in utilities across Oregon and Washington and is actively being used to automate protective measures such as initiating alarms, throttling valves, turning off motorized equipment, and de-energizing electrical control panels. We are proud to be one of the top firms supporting earthquake preparedness for protecting staff, minimizing damage, and reducing costs for post-earthquake recovery.

RH2 is fully licensed by the USGS to provide the ShakeAlert® signal directly to you our clients. No other firm can match RH2's full level of service and low costs for implementing ShakeAlert® in your utility. RH2 staff is ready to assist our clients in taking advantage of earthquake early warning through our unique services:

  • Working with your staff to identify the optimal location and security requirements for your ASC

  • Installation, testing, and training for ASC use

  • Selecting the appropriate protective measures for your staff and equipment

  • SCADA system programming for implementing protective measures

  • Integration with staff notification systems including CrisisGO, WIN911, SMS, etc.

  • Integrating early warning into your emergency response planning


Proof of Our Success…

  • RH2 was the first Technical Assistance partner approved by the USGS.

  • RH2 staff developed the first municipal Pilot Project Application.

  • RH2 led the first utility earthquake early warning projects in both Washington and Oregon.

  • RH2 proactively works with the PNSN and USGS to support communication, education, and outreach development for the ShakeAlert® system.

  • RH2 supports legislative actions to expand funding and support for ShakeAlert® and other seismic resilience programs in our states.

How It Works

ShakeAlert® is a West Coast earthquake early warning system developed by the USGS in partnership with universities, state agencies, and private companies. The technology uses an extensive network of seismic sensors throughout California, Oregon, and Washington to detect an earthquake’s primary shaking waves ahead of more destructive secondary shaking waves. This information is processed by servers at three different locations (University of Washington, Caltech, and University of California, Berkeley) that calculate the earthquake’s epicenter, magnitude, and expected shaking intensities. This information is then communicated to USGS partners within 3 seconds.


RH2’s ASC receives the ShakeAlert warning through a server connection, calculates the local anticipated intensity and time to shaking, and automatically and securely communicates with control systems. The control systems can then initiate predetermined actions in a water or wastewater system that help to protect staff and equipment.

For more information, reach out to our staff and visit


Rick Ballard | 425.951.5328

Michele Campbell | 425.951.5394


Taylor Stockton | 503.278.5356

Michele Campbell | 425.951.5394

Structural Performance Assessments


Understanding how your infrastructure will perform during the earthquake and what improvements will cost is essential to finding the right balance of risk and affordability. RH2’s in-house structural team provides an array of structural performance assessments for pipes, reservoirs, pump stations, treatment plants, buildings, and other structures. As part of these assessments, we offer:

  • Vulnerability Assessments

  • Benefit-Cost Analyses

  • Grant Funding Assistance

  • Seismic Resilience Capital Planning

Seismic Design and Retrofits

Strength and flexibility are critical functions for designing infrastructure to withstand seismic forces. RH2 brings extensive seismic design knowledge to our clients in the northwest. We design structures to withstand code-level seismic loads and piping connections that meet prescribed flexibility and joint deflection required during earthquake events. Our design and retrofit services include reservoirs, pump stations, treatment plants, buildings, pipes, and implementation of Earthquake Early Warning (ShakeAlert®) systems. With experience assisting clients in both Washington and Oregon, our engineers and scientists are aware of the most up-to-date seismic standards and design requirements.

We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for RH2’s Advanced Seismic Controller System (Patent No. US 11,493,655 B2), which we are currently using for seismic resilience and Earthquake Early Warning projects.

Related Projects
P-wave Image.jpg

Earthquake Early Warning works because the primary "P" waves travel faster than the more damaging secondary "S" waves. This allows seismometers to sense the earthquake and send out warning several seconds and up to minutes before heavy shaking occurs.

ShakeAlert® is now publicly available in Washington, California, and Oregon. While the public systems includes cell phone apps and public alerting systems, the ASC developed by RH2 provides a fast, secure, and automated method to initiate protective actions in your system.

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