Ελληνικά

Environmental Geotechnics

Course Description:

The object of Environmental Geotechnics is the protection of the subsurface (soil and groundwater) from potential pollutants related primarily to waste management (e.g. landfills) and to transporting, storing and handling toxic raw materials (e.g. petroleum products, solvents). The course aims to promote (a) comprehension of the main processes that govern the spreading of pollution and its containment, (b) judicious application of the equations describing these processes and (c) familiarization with case studies of contaminated sites.

Prerequisite Knowledge

It is helpful if students have an introduction to groundwater flow.

Course Units

# Title Description Hours
1 Introduction Introduction with one case study from Greece and the essential questions answered by the course: (1) What is the danger (from pollutants)? (2) Where will the pollutant go, how will it behave? (3) What can we do to reduce the danger? (4) When do things are relatively easy or difficult and why? Overview of legislation, contaminant sources and characteristics. 3Χ2=6
2 Risk Assessment This unit addresses essential question No 1 and rephrases it introducing the concept of risk, so that the answer can be used in decision making regarding possible remediation needs at contaminated sites. 2Χ2=4
3 Mechanisms of pollution spreading Qualitative study of pollution spreading (start with a qualitative answer to essential question No 2 and continue with quantitative answers in Units 4, 5, 6, 7). 2Χ2=4
4 Subsurface flow One-dimensional steady-state flow in saturated soil, equations for multi-phase fluid flow in porous media. 3Χ2=6
5 Modeling of physical systems Guidelines for converting an open-ended problem to a fully-defined problem ready for solution. 1Χ2=2
6 Soil-contaminant interaction Distribution of contaminants among the subsurface media, i.e., groundwater, soil pore gas, soil solids. Calculation of total contaminant mass in the subsurface. 3Χ2=6
7 Contaminant transport in groundwater Quantitative study of pollution spreading: bringing together the phenomena of advection, diffusion, mechanical dispersion, sorption and pollutant decay in the mathematical description of contaminant transport in 1, 2 and 3 dimensions. 6Χ2=12
8 Remediation technologies for contaminated sites Overview of remediation technologies and application of contaminant transport principles to the solution of remediation problems (essential question No 3). 3Χ2=6
9 Landfill liner design and materials Design of landfill liners, materials used in compacted and geosynthetic clay liners (essential question No 3). 1Χ2=2
10 Wrapping up Answers to the essential questions (see Unit 1) – essential question No 4 requires a synthesis of Units 4, 6-8. 1Χ2=2

Learning Objectives

Course objectives are met when at the end of the course students:

  1. can locate reliable data on the effects of contaminants on human health,
  2. are confident in applying principles of mass transfer, groundwater flow and contaminant transport to problems of contamination and restoration of the subsurface,
  3. are able to address the geoenvironmental aspects of landfill and clay barrier design,
  4. can recommend potentially suitable remediation technologies for a specific contaminated site and,
  5. are able to take initiatives related to modeling (i.e. related to the formulation of a simplified problem that admits solution).

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods All 10 Units are lecture-based. Quiz questions are interspersed in the lectures. Units 1-4, 6-8 include case studies. Units 2, 4-9 include in-class solution of problems.
Teaching media PowerPoint presentations. Practice of the process problem statement → problem definition → problem solution. Use of educational software following a practice session in the PC lab.
Computer and software use Students use educational software for modeling contaminant transport and use it in an assignment and for the term project.
Problems - Applications Yes, in Units 1,4, 6-8. Solutions of assigned problem sets are uploaded to the course webpage on the due date. Submitted homework is graded and returned to students on the next class after the due date.
Assignments (projects, reports) Teams of 2 students work on a term project and submit a technical report which is graded, according to a rubric shared with students, and returned before the final exam.
Other A “prize” (a non-technical book) is given to the student who gets the highest grade in the final exam.

Student Assessment

  • Final written exam: 50%
  • Mid-term exam: 5%
  • Assignments (projects, reports): 25%
  • Problems - Applications: 10%
  • Other: 10% Initiative + Class Attendance + Class Participation

Textbooks - Bibliography

  1. Kavvadas, M. (2013). Environmental Geotechnics, Tsotras Publications (in Greek).
  2. Papassiopi, N. and I. Paspaliaris (2008). Remediation of Contaminated Soil, NTUA Publications (in Greek).
  3. Sharma, H.D. and K.R. Reddy (2004). Geoenvironmental Engineering: site remediation, waste containment, and emerging waste management technologies, Wiley.
  4. Course notes.

Lecture Time - Place:

  • Monday, 16:45 – 18:30,
    Rooms:
    • Αιθ. 3
  • Tuesday, 10:45 – 12:30,
    Rooms:
    • Αιθ. 5