Influence of Hydraulic Loading and Effluent Flux on Surface Surcharging in Soil Absorption Systems
MetadataShow full item record
The goal of this study was to investigate how extreme hydraulic loading influences hydraulic pathways, and thus failure potential, of two soil absorption systems. A grid of tensiometers and piezometers were installed beneath and adjacent to the absorption trenches, and water height was manipulated to simulate different hydraulic loadings. At both sites, measured soil matric potentials along the trench sidewalls increased toward zero as water height increased over time, indicating that water was preferentially flowing laterally above the biomat zones. Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) of the soil and biomat, and other hydraulic parameters were calibrated using inverse modeling procedures in HYDRUS-2D. We found generally good agreement between measured and predicted matric potentials. The calibrated model was then used to predict fluxes through different infiltrative zones under typical and extreme hydraulic loads. Modeling indicated that the overall infiltration rates through the biomat and subbiomat zones fell within a relatively narrow range of 0.025-0.046 m/day at the two sites. Under extreme hydraulic loading to trenches, fluxes through the upper trench sidewalls (i.e., the exfiltration zone) were predicted to be substantially greater (i.e., 80% of total flux) than through the biomat zone. This confirms the conclusions made from field results, that a permeable exfiltration zone provides a critical buffer to surface surcharging during extreme trench loading. Conversely, the presence of a high sidewall biomat can reduce sidewall exfiltration of effluent, and therefore increase the likelihood of surface surcharging.
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
© 2008 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified