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Unit 6:

Pollution process and soil pollution interactionAll types of pollution have direct or indirect effect on ground soil properties. Rain water falling on a garbage dump will pollute both surface and ground water system. Polluted water will attack foundation structures such as footings, caissons piles and sheet pilings. It also affects workability and disability of concrete. In embankment construction, moisture density relationship of soil will also be affected. Percolation of rain water into ground soil due to sorbed ion and sorption process will cause some soil solution to leach into soil. Pollution cycle is not isolated but interrelated. Pollution problems can be solved by considering these interrelated aspects. Ground pollution sources and routes: (Fig 3 & 4) Fig- 3

Fig- 4

Ground pollution sources can be divided into three major routes 1. Point source 2. Line source 3. Surface source Each source can be further divided into fixed and movable points. Fixed point being land fill areas storage areas industrial sites mine strips

Movable points being Leakage of hazardous materials during transportation such as oil spills on land, soil and sea.

Pollution process mechanism There are three basic mechanisms by which ground soil can be contaminated. 1. Contamination may occur from rainfalls such as acid rain or rain falling into sanitary landfills. Oil or chemical wastes spills into the ground.

2. Pollutants are introduced as leakages from well disposal or construction of waste disposal facilities such as landfills, septic tanks, lagoons. 3. Hydraulic or chemical alteration allows polluting substances to move within or between soil layers. Mechanism 1 and 2 are direct process and mechanism 3 covers physicochemical decomposition process, chemical alteration, ion exchange reaction. Contaminated soilFor design, construction and maintenance of hazardous and toxic controlling facilities or utilization of abandoned landfill sites used as building sites, road ways, recreation parks etc, the condition of sites must be known. The identification and characterization of ground soil at the site is prerequisite necessary to understand soil pollutant interaction in the environment.

Identification and characterization of contaminated soils1. Visual inspection and identification During reconnaissance and field investigations the items to be observed are I. II. Characteristics of site Ground soil/ water characteristics III. Colour/ odour Soil erosion feature Soil cracking pattern

River/stream conditions Velocity of water Colour/ odour of water Water bubbles and temperature of water.

Classification of contaminated soils The basis for classification of contaminated soil is particle size. Sensitivity of soil to environment depends upon local conditions and also mineral structure, bonding characteristics.(Ex. Montmorillonite is more sensitive to environment than kaolinite or illite). Pollution sensitivity index depends on particle size. As particle size decreases pollution sensitivity increases. Pollution sensitivity index(PSI) 0-2 Soil type Size(cm) Surface area (cm2) Sensitivity




Very low

2-4 4-6 6-8 8-10

Sand Silt Clay Colloids

0.005-0.2 0.0005-0.005 0.0001-0.0005 <0.0001

600-15 6000-600 30000-6000 >30000

low Medium High Very high

Stability of refuse in landfillsWhile drilling with urban refuse/garbage, five aspects are consideredI. Basic characteristics of urban refuse including composition, classification and engineering behavior such as volume change, hydraulic conductivity, bearing capacity, stress-strain-strength of compacted garbage. Decomposition process of garbage in a landfill including causes, mechanisms and settlement predictions. Compaction control during disposal process and the slope stability of the landfill in both newly established and abandoned landfill sites. Design and remedies of waste control facilities. Utilization of waste for conventional construction materials.


There are several ways to dispose of garbage such as its use as substitute construction material, building blocks, incineration or dumping into ground as landfill. Garbage in landfill can be grouped into three major categoriesa) Fast degradable material b) Slow degradable material c) Relatively non-degradable material Disposal of solid and liquid waste in soil All wastes can be grouped into solid and liquid forms. Majority of the solid waste is urban refuse. This refuse will decompose through the years and will become liquid form referred as leachate. About 90% of the wastes which includes industrial hazardous wastes is ijn liquid form. Therefore controlling solid and liquid wastes means controlling liquid waste only. The main purpose of all types of wastes control systems is to control or prevent liquid waste from seeping into non polluted areas. Solid and liquid waste control facilities are also a complex system, they require interdisciplinary knowledge from geotechnical, hydro geological and environmental fields to analyse, design and construct waste containment systems. For containment of these wastes, the following considerations are given-

a) Characteristics of urban refuse including decomposition process and pollution process mechanism. b) Basic consideration for analysis and design of controlling systems. c) Technique of controlling waste d) Precaution and protection for these controlling facilities. Waste disposal materials consist of anything that cannot be further used or recycled economically thus its composition varies from country to country, community to community and from season to season. Non degradable materials among degradable refuse some are hazardous and toxic. Many wastes when mixed with other materials or wastes can produce effect that are harmful to human health and environment such as heat or pressure, fire or explosion, violent reaction, toxic lust, gases, flammable fumes or gases.

Engineering problems of landfill sites- ( Fig 5) Fig- 5

The basic problem of landfill design which need engineering knowledge areI. During waste disposal periodProblems involved including compaction drainage system, stability of land fill slopes and liners or hydraulic barriers. II. Utilization of waste or landfill sitesThere are two types of utilizationThe first uses waste as conventional construction material such as scrap waste tyre; used as light weight concrete aggregates. The second utilizes old abandoned landfill sites as housing projects. In such cases the characteristics of engineering behavior of wastes must be known. Among these factors relating to the stability and safety measures of landfill, the compaction control during the garbage disposal process and the slope stability of landfill during and after construction are most critical from engineering view point. COMPACTION OF LANDFILL:Normally garbage is delivered by trucks & dumped into the landfill sites. The garbage is spread into a thinner layer, mixed with some earth material & compacted by conventional compaction equipment for the purpose of covering up an unattractive landfill site, minimizing odor, or preventing animal & bird vandalism. In landfill area, when proper compaction is applied, it also can reduce potential fire hazards in the landfill. The less air trapped in the landfill the less potential for fire hazards. SURFACE COMPACTION PROCESS: -

The process of surface compaction plays an important role for stabilizing the landfill. However, if requires planning during the waste disposal process period. SUGGESTIONS:1) Garbage comes in all types & it cannot be uniformly distributed in the landfill. However within the limit, it should be distributed uniformly within the layers. 2) If nit heavier items should be dumped closer to the centre of landfill for the purpose of controlling the stability of the fill & avoid being dumped around the edges of the landfill. 3) Spread the newly dumped garbage is unstable material; it requires stabilizing in order to reduce excessive settlement/subsidence. Mix locally available soil with the garbage or add fly ash, lime or other as stabilizing material.

4) Heavy rolling such as the 50T roller can be used. This weight of the roller is related to the thickness of landfill layers. Theoretically, the heavier the roller the better the landfill stability. In some cases, use of dynamic consolidation to control the compaction in landfill areas has come into practice recently. DEEP COMPACTION ON LANDFILLS:Conventional compaction techniques used in landfill areas sometimes give ineffective results for compacting highly non uniform materials. Recently dynamic consolidation has been used for this situation with good results. Effective depth or depth of influence is important for landfill compaction. The most important design aspect is the selection of magnitudes of impact value parameters to match site conditions & compact the soil effectively.

This selection process requires the use of a numerical relationship that contains parameters such as material (soil) properties, tamper weight, tamper size, drop weight / height & depth of influence of each impact.

For deep compaction of landfill sites, dynamic consolidation techniques produce effective results. However its some side effects are 1) Vibration produced from dynamic consolidation may affect the liquefaction phenomenon on surrounding structures. 2) The friction force produced from vibration may create a fire hazard in the landfill.

COMPACTION CONTROLDuring waste disposal period / process, advanced planning must be made to avoid complications at a later date. To achieve betters results the following approaches are suggested1) Application of ground improvement (stabilization) techniques. 2) Compaction control with proper records on composition of landfill to be maintained.

A plan for inspection & sampling of ongoing compaction process in landfill area, to reduce the frequency of sampling & for estimation of the in place performance of landfill site is to be prepared & implemented.

SLOPE STABILITY OF LANDFILLIn slope stability analysis, there are two cases 1. Fill (embankment) condition 2. Cut condition During the waste disposal process, the condition of the slope of the landfill site is in the fill stage. The critical height (H) of the fill is an important consideration. When abandoned landfill sites are to be used for other construction sites that may require excavation, then the slope angle () of the cut is important. The types of failure also include falls, topples, slips & slides. Falls & topples are due to lack of cohesion between two loose refuse pieces.

SLOPE FAILURE MODESSlope failure potential is directly related to the compaction during the waste disposal process. The better control of compaction, the less risk for slope failures. (Refer fig.- 6A)









Fig- 6 B

Fig 7, 8A, 8B

STABILITY OF GARBAGE DURING DECOMPOSED STAGEFrom geotechnical engineering view point the following basic factors must be examined for analysis & design of landfill controlling facilities 1) Technology for prevention or control of any polluted water (leachate) in the landfill seeping into the ground water aquifer. 2) Methods of procedures for covering the landfill, so that no additional water (I.e. Rain water, surface water) & animal disturb the landfill materials. 3) Estimation of environmental pressures (or loads) produced from landfill. 4) Hydraulics conductivity & mass transport phenomena around & in the landfill site.

Decomposition is a natural process. Any material in a given location, due to various environmental factors after a certain time, will gradually change its form & properties. There are

basically four stages of decomposition. The mechanical alteration is considered a short term process, while others are long term processes. The chemical processes are dissolving or deteriorating processes of minerals. Other include physicochemical & geomicrobiological processes.

The large amount of settlement in landfill area is contributed to mechanical load, such as surcharge load, snow, rainfall etc. Since the refuse is non homogeneous & contains organic matter, the settlement in the landfill areas is also non-uniformly distributed. Because of this phenomenon, the seal (caps) of the landfill covers frequently break down or have excessive cracks.

Leaching & ion exchange reaction affects soil properties significantly. Soil properly changes occur when rainwater or drainage processes remove some soluble clay mineral, in the clay liners or around the landfill sites by leaching.

During the decomposition process in the landfill areas, the temperature increases. As the refuse is non-homogeneous & contain larger amounts of organic matter, biological changes caused by decomposition constantly occurs.

Fig 9 & 10