Instability of flood embankments due to pore water pressure build-up at the toe

lesson learned from the Adige river case study

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Abstract

The paper presents the case study of the Adige river embankment, a segment of which experienced instability of the landside slope due to the development of uplift pressures. Soil profile and hydro-mechanical properties of the embankment and foundation materials have been assessed via site investigation, laboratory testing, and field monitoring for two cross sections, within and outside the failure segment respectively. The hydro-mechanical model developed thereof was first validated against its ability to reproduce the probability of failure for the two sections with a FOSM-based approach. Comparison of water flow regimes between the two sections was then used to highlight the importance of the hydraulic properties of the material on the landside for the development of uplift pressures at the toe of the embankment. The lesson learnt from this case study is that the hydraulic response of the ground on the landside may play a critical role on the stability of flood embankments and its characterisation should therefore not be overlooked when planning site investigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Jan 2020

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Embankments
embankment
porewater
Uplift pressure
Rivers
site investigation
river
Water
uplift
Hydraulics
Flow of water
hydraulic property
soil profile
water flow
mechanical property
cross section
hydraulics
Soils
Planning
Mechanical properties

Keywords

  • flood embankments
  • slope stability
  • uplift pressure
  • landside

Cite this

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title = "Instability of flood embankments due to pore water pressure build-up at the toe: lesson learned from the Adige river case study",
abstract = "The paper presents the case study of the Adige river embankment, a segment of which experienced instability of the landside slope due to the development of uplift pressures. Soil profile and hydro-mechanical properties of the embankment and foundation materials have been assessed via site investigation, laboratory testing, and field monitoring for two cross sections, within and outside the failure segment respectively. The hydro-mechanical model developed thereof was first validated against its ability to reproduce the probability of failure for the two sections with a FOSM-based approach. Comparison of water flow regimes between the two sections was then used to highlight the importance of the hydraulic properties of the material on the landside for the development of uplift pressures at the toe of the embankment. The lesson learnt from this case study is that the hydraulic response of the ground on the landside may play a critical role on the stability of flood embankments and its characterisation should therefore not be overlooked when planning site investigation.",
keywords = "flood embankments, slope stability, uplift pressure, landside",
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AU - Amabile, Alessia

AU - Pozzato, Annarita

AU - Tarantino, Alessandro

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AB - The paper presents the case study of the Adige river embankment, a segment of which experienced instability of the landside slope due to the development of uplift pressures. Soil profile and hydro-mechanical properties of the embankment and foundation materials have been assessed via site investigation, laboratory testing, and field monitoring for two cross sections, within and outside the failure segment respectively. The hydro-mechanical model developed thereof was first validated against its ability to reproduce the probability of failure for the two sections with a FOSM-based approach. Comparison of water flow regimes between the two sections was then used to highlight the importance of the hydraulic properties of the material on the landside for the development of uplift pressures at the toe of the embankment. The lesson learnt from this case study is that the hydraulic response of the ground on the landside may play a critical role on the stability of flood embankments and its characterisation should therefore not be overlooked when planning site investigation.

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