Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

John R. Schuring

Second Advisor

Dorairaja Raghu

Third Advisor

Paul N. Cheremisinoff


Safety procedures for performing geotechnical testing with hazardous and toxic materials, excluding radioactive wastes, are developed for the Flexible Wall Permeameter and the Atterberg Limits Tests. The tests were evaluated in detail to determine the critical points at which the technician would be exposed to the hazardous and/or toxic permeant. It was found that the following safety measures should always be taken; 1) the apparatus and all testing should be undertaken in a sliding sash hood using the proper face velocity, 2) air monitoring using a personal dosimeter and/or a detector tube is required to assure that the concentration of the permeant in the atmosphere does not exceed the Threshold Limit Value Time Weighted Average, 3) safety goggles must be worn at all times while in the laboratory, 4) protective gloves must be worn whenever handling the permeant or soils contaminated with the permeant, and 5) a properly fitting respirator that is specifically designed for the permeant being used should be readily available in case of an emergency.

If the Flexible Wall Permeameter cannot be placed in a sliding sash hood, the above protective measures are still followed, however, the following things are modified; 1) an open canopy type hood should be placed above the apparatus, 2) the reservoir on the apparatus is replaced with an air tight reservoir, 3) there is a more stringent requirement on the frequency of air monitoring, and 4) all venting lines and de—airing lines which are connected to the permeant are positioned under the open canopy hood.

To develop these procedures, properties of the permeant, chemical, such as; 1) solubility, 2) reactivity, 3) toxicity, 4) vapor pressure, and 5) its allowable exposure limits (Threshold Limit Values), were evaluated. A general chemical information form was developed to expedite data gathering and to allow a methodical determination of protective procedures for each individual chemical. For illustration purposes, this form is completed for: benzene, trichloroethylene, and phenols.



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