SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1962

Field Tests for Determining Permeability of Soil Strata


The subject of permeability of soil strata is approached from the civil engineering point of view, which is fundamentally different from the, perhaps more usual, hydrological approach. The soils dealt with are silts, sands, and gravels, but not clays. A knowledge of the coefficient of permeability is needed in the design of dams on permeable foundations and for construction purposes when an area has to be de-watered inside cofferdams or in an excavation, and in many grouting problems. Methods of measuring permeability in the field—borehole tests, pressure dissipation tests, grain size tests, seasonal variation in groundwater levels and pumping tests—are discussed. The methods are compared by reference to work done on actual sites, in particular on a site which involved the design and construction problems for a dam on a pervious foundation. It was found that the coefficients of permeability estimated by the various techniques were in reasonable agreement.

Author Information

Golder, H.
H. Q. Golder & Associates Ltd., Toronto, Canada
Gass, A.
H. Q. Golder & Associates Ltd., Toronto, Canada
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 29–46
DOI: 10.1520/STP47031S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6904-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6598-4