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005 Ground Engineering Issues and Page 1 of 3


Sustainability.doc

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

A Definition: Sustainable development is development that meets the


needs of the present without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable development with regard to ground engineering

With regards to ground engineering you should consider the following to help
you maximise the “sustainability” of a ground engineering procedure or
project. These are:

 The proposed solution should work,


 The solution should maximise the value as defined as function divided
by cost,
 The solution should consider changes that could occur in the future,
 The solution should minimise resource use,
 The solution should consider demolition and future use of the
site/project,
 The solution should minimise energy use during construction,
 The solution should minimise energy use in the long term,
 The solution should make appropriate use of materials by using high
quality virgin materials only when necessary,
 The solution should attempt to utilise waste materials where possible,
 The solution should maximise social capital by promoting social
inclusion, honesty, integrity and avoiding corruption,
 The solution should protect the environment – especially important
sites and areas,
 The solution should improve the natural and built environment,
 The solution should minimise waste,
 The solution should be cognisant of geological hazards and climate
change.

In many cases there will be a conflict between different aspects of the above.
For example one solution might minimise resource use while another solution
will minimise long term energy use. In these cases we must use our
judgement as engineers to find the “most sustainable” solution.
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005 Ground Engineering Issues and Page 2 of 3
Sustainability.doc

Ground Engineering Issues

In planning a Ground Investigation it is important that you identify the “Ground


Engineering Issues” that must be addressed. Only then will it be possible for
you to determine the techniques that you should use in the Ground
Investigation. The notes that follow are intended to help you identify the
“issues” that must be addressed. However, each project is unique and it is
not possible to draw up a definitive list that you can use for guidance. In all
cases you must ask the question:

What are the Ground Engineering issues that have to be dealt with on
this project?

Sources of Ground Engineering Issues

Ground engineering issues arise from the following areas:

 The nature of the project – typical examples are:


Dams Tunnels Foundations Cuttings and embankments
Retaining walls Landfill Slope stabilisation Etc…

Each type of project listed above gives rise to certain issues. For example if
we consider dams then we would need to first ask what type of dam is
proposed (Earthfill, concrete arch, etc.), different types of dams give rise to
different types of issues. For example if we propose the Earthfill type of dam
then we would need to ask questions such as:
o Are the soils and rocks and rock below and on the sides of the
proposed dam impermeable?
o Where will we source the rock fill for the construction of the
dam?
o Where will we source the soil fill for the construction of the dam?
o Where will we source the clay core material for the dam?
o Where will the spill way be located and how will it be
constructed?
o Will the reservoir behind the dam lead to unstable slopes on the
margins of the reservoir?

 The nature of the ground – typical examples are:


o Sites underlain with rock at shallow depths
o Sites underlain with soft soils
o Sites with high ground water levels
o Etc…
 The previous history of the site (both recent and geologic)
o Sites which are underlain by mining excavations
o Contaminated sites
o Sites that have been subject to glaciation
o Etc…
 The planned use of soil and rock from the site
o Are the excavated soils going to be reused?
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Sustainability.doc

o Are the excavated rocks going to be reused?


o Can excavated materials be disposed of safely and
economically?
o Do the proposed excavations provide sufficient materials to
construct the earthworks required for the project?
o Is there a requirement to import earthwork materials into the
site? If yes, where can these materials be sourced from most
economically?
o Does the project require any raw materials that could be sourced
locally such as sand/gravel/crushed rock aggregates?
o Etc…
 Are there geologic hazards that we will need to deal with?
o Flooding?
o Earthquakes?
o Dangerous gases?
o Unstable slopes?
o Etc……
 Sustainability – How can we maximise the sustainability of the project
within the context of ground engineering?

Summary:
 The nature of the project
 The nature of the ground
 The previous history of the site (both recent and geologic)
 The planned use of soil and rock from the site
 Are there geologic hazards that we will need to deal with?
 Sustainability