Dewatering of a deep excavation undertaken in a layered soil
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In order to carry out deep excavations under the water table in urban environments, the safety of the work site and of the adjacent buildings is a major cause for concern. One of the most common and effective methods of undertaking these excavations involves combining the cut and cover method with a dewatering system. The success of a construction depends on the stability of the excavation bottom, the effects produced outside the excavation by dewatering (soil movements) and/or the state of the enclosure (defects in the diaphragm walls). This study proposes a realistic multidisciplinary procedure to address these issues. The work emphasizes the importance of soil characterisation and underlines the need to perform a Watertightness Assessment Test (WTAT) before the excavation stage. The procedure was applied to the excavation of a deep shaft of the High Speed Train (HST) tunnel in Barcelona. An earlier geological characterisation at large scale ruled out the use of deep pumping wells. However, a subsequent hydrogeological characterisation, which involved borehole logging, grain size analyses, Natural Gamma Ray and pumping tests, revealed the presence of thin transmissive layers inside the low hydraulic conductivity materials. The dewatering system was designed by considering different model scenarios and the safest design was selected for the excavation. Depths of the enclosure and of the pumping wells differed in accordance with the scenarios. The impacts (settlements due to pumping) and the stability in each scenario were computed. The state of the enclosure underwent a WTAT before the start of the excavation, but after constructing the enclosure, to verify its low permeability. The test consisted in pumping inside the enclosure and monitoring the groundwater behaviour outside the enclosure. Numerical interpretation of this test showed a defect in the diaphragm walls below the excavation bottom. Since this defect was not repaired because of its location (below the bottom of the excavation), the dewatering system had to be redesigned to ensure safety. Surface settlements, which were also a source of concern, were small. They were computed using coupled hydro-mechanical models.
CitationPujades, E. [et al.]. Dewatering of a deep excavation undertaken in a layered soil. "Engineering geology", 21 Agost 2014, vol. 178, p. 15-27.
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