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1.1 This guide covers a review of the test methods for determining hydraulic conductivity in unsaturated soils and sediments. Test methods for determining both field-saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity are described.
1.2 Measurement of hydraulic conductivity in the field is used for estimating the rate of water movement through clay liners to determine if they are a barrier to water flux, for characterizing water movement below waste disposal sites to predict contaminant movement, and to measure infiltration and drainage in soils and sediment for a variety of applications. Test methods are needed for measuring hydraulic conductivity ranging from 1 10 2 to 1 108 cm/s, for both surface and subsurface layers, and for both field-saturated and unsaturated flow.
1.3 For these field test methods a distinction must be made between "saturated" (K
1.4 Field test methods commonly used to determine field-saturated hydraulic conductivity include various double-ring infiltrometer test methods, air-entry permeameter test methods, and borehole permeameter tests. Many empirical test methods are used for calculating hydraulic conductivity from data obtained with each test method. A general description of each test method and special characteristics affecting applicability is provided.
1.5 Field test methods used to determine unsaturated hydraulic conductivity in the field include direct measurement techniques and various estimation methods. Direct measurement techniques for determining unsaturated hydraulic conductivity include the instantaneous profile (IP) test method and the gypsum crust method. Estimation techniques have been developed using borehole permeameter data and using data obtained from desorption curves (a curve relating water content to matric potential).
1.6 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard.
This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
1.7 This guide offers an organized collection of information or a series of options and does not recommend a specific course of action. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word "Standard" in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids
D2434 Test Method for Permeability of Granular Soils (Constant Head)
D3385 Test Method for Infiltration Rate of Soils in Field Using Double-Ring Infiltrometer
D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction
D4643 Test Method for Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil by Microwave Oven Heating
D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data
ICS Number Code 07.060 (Geology. Meteorology. Hydrology)
UNSPSC Code 81151800(Oceanography and hydrology)
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ASTM D5126-90(2004), Standard Guide for Comparison of Field Methods for Determining Hydraulic Conductivity in the Vadose Zone, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2004, www.astm.orgBack to Top