Saturated and Capillary Fringe Ground-Water Behavior Near an Excavation


  • Discussion open until September 1, 1988.

  • Forest O. Mixon received his B.S. and M.S. from North Carolina State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, all in Chemical Engineering. Following four years with DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, be joined the Research Triangle Institute, where he has been for 25 years. He is currently Research Vice President for Chemical Engineering.


In a hazardous waste disposal facility located in a saturated soil, the local water table and the capillary fringe zone are modified by the presence of the facility. In this paper, a conformal mapping solution to the accompanying ground-water flow is presented. The solution allows one to display, in the two-dimensional approximation, the flow net around an excavation in terms of the capillarity, local geometry, and flow properties.

Capillarity can significantly influence net flow into an excavation; typical values can cause net flow to be 10 to 20 percent higher than predicted without capillarity.

Anisotropic behavior also can be important. It is shown that anisotropy favoring horizontal flow can greatly alter the flow net and the total flow.