Field Investigation of Potential Contamination by Bitumen-Coated Piles
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Coating piles with bitumen down to their neutral points to debond them from embedding soil is a feasible method to minimize the adverse effects of negative skin friction. Bitumen is a petroleum product composed of numerous extremely complex organic compounds including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that have been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as toxic and carcinogenic materials. To investigate the engineering behavior of bitumen-coated piles under extreme weather conditions, full-scale field tests were performed in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Instrumented piles were installed at these sites from 1989 to 1990. This paper presents the results of geoenvironmental field investigations performed at these sites to determine the spatial distribution of target PAHs in the subsurface after the piles had been installed for 2-3 1/2 yr. The findings of the investigation indicate that subsurface contamination, if there is any, caused by the installation of bitumen-coated piles is well within acceptable limits. ASCE.