STP820

    Test Method for Determining the Potential for Decomposition in Organic Soils

    Published: Jan 1983


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    Abstract

    Engineering properties of organic soils are influenced to a large degree by their organic content. As such, engineering designs for the development of any site underlain by organic materials should consider the potential for decomposition of the organic materials. Most of the highly compressible organic soils are in areas of high water table. Because of this, anaerobic processes will be the primary decomposition mechanisms associated with these deposits. This paper discusses a method of laboratory testing that was established to determine the environmental factors which influence the anaerobic microbial breakdown of organic matter in soils. Soil samples are monitored for anaerobic microbial activity by collecting and analyzing the gas production during the decomposition process. The type of biological activity taking place is indicated by the time rates of gas production, the total amounts of gas produced, and the components in the gas. This paper details the necessary equipment and the procedures needed to conduct these tests without interrupting the biological process. The effects of elevated temperatures on accelerating decomposition are presented.

    Keywords:

    anaerobic, cellulose, clay, decomposition, gas production, methane, organic soil, peat, soil mechanics


    Author Information:

    Wardwell, RE
    Principal, Water, Waste & Land Consultants, Ft. Collins, Colo.

    Charlie, WA
    Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Associate Professor of Agronomy, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo.

    Doxtader, KA
    Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Associate Professor of Agronomy, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo.


    Paper ID: STP37344S

    Committee/Subcommittee: D18.18

    DOI: 10.1520/STP37344S


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