SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1990

Geotechnical Properties and Processes of Deep Ocean Sediments as Related to Disposal of Toxic Wastes—An Overview


The geologic stability, beneficial sediment properties, and remoteness of some deep ocean regimes provide alternatives to land-based options for disposal of toxic wastes. A brief discussion of the various geologic regimes, sediment types, and physiochemical properties is presented. An overview of various emplacement methods, natural seabed processes, geotechnical data acquisition and testing systems, and pertinent geotechnical considerations is also presented. For buried containerized hazardous substances, the sediment forms the geologic barrier between the waste and the biosphere. Geotechnical parameters such as shear strength, permeability, and the sediment-waste package interactions need to be considered. For solid high-level nuclear wastes, the effects of high-induced temperatures and radiation are important. In addition to downslope sediment processes, erosion, and faulting, it is important to assess the state of stresses within the sediment mass with particular concern for possible excess pore pressures. These and other related effects need to be incorporated in analytical waste migration models. Other aspects such as in situ testing and monitoring, laboratory physical modeling, and field experiments are discussed.

Author Information

Silva, AJ
University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 113–155
DOI: 10.1520/STP17233S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5145-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1390-9