A new method for remediation of sandy slopes susceptible to seepage flow using EPS-block geofoam


Using expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam (geofoam block) in slope remediation projects has drawn interest from the civil engineering sector for its ease of application and budget saving features. According to design precedence, all slope remediation applications that use geofoam blocks should incorporate permanent drainage systems to prevent instability of the lightweight geofoam blocks due to hydrostatic and seepage pressures. In this study, a new method for slope remediation using geofoam blocks was tested through physical laboratory experiments. For this purpose, a total of 24 lysimeter (dimensions of 60cm height, 20cm width, and 200cm length) experiments (including duplicates) were conducted in which seepage through a geofoam block slope system were generated with three different constant water levels in the water reservoir of the lysimeter. Geofoam blocks (dimensions of 2.5cm height, 5cm width, and 15cm length) were assembled to form embankment type configuration at the toe section of the sandy slopes. This study also included coupled numerical model simulations that were comprised of variably saturated flow modeling and slope stability modeling which could be implemented successfully for the global static failure analysis of the geofoam block slope system comprised of two mediums with different geotechnical characteristics. In addition to global static stability failure analysis, which involved conventional limit equilibrium analysis for the geofoam block slope system, hydrostatic sliding mechanism was investigated which provided insight into using an overburden concept to increase the resistance against horizontal driving forces. Experimental and numerical modeling results showed that the geofoam block slope system was stable even though the phreatic surface was above the bottom of the geofoam block assemblage. For this reason, the embankment type configuration tested in this study can be considered a viable remediation technique where seepage induced deep-seated global stability and hydrostatic sliding failures are a concern. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Title

Geotextiles and Geomembranes