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The paper deals with the laboratory determination of permeability (hydraulic conductivity) as applied to hazardous waste disposal siting studies. Probably the most important hydrogeologic parameter in a hazardous waste siting study is permeability. It is also the most variable property of soils, and this variability causes many problems in the laboratory, especially in the fine-grained soils typically tested for hazardous waste siting studies.
The determination of seepage velocity is discussed, and the importance of the groundwater level for hazardous waste disposal sites is considered.
The best overall laboratory device to determine permeability appears to be the triaxial device, utilizing the proper application of backpressure. The use of rigid wall permeameters or consolidation theory to determine permeability is not recommended, since unconservative results are generally obtained.
permeability, hydraulic conductivity, permeameters, laboratory testing, hazardous waste, waste disposal, groundwater, seepage velocity, triaxial devices
Associate professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.