Comparison of Pile Foundations and Ground Improvement for Reduction of Seismic Displacements for a Wastewater Treatment Plant

December 14, 2020

Nonlinear seismic deformation analyses using the finite difference program FLAC were performed for a wastewater treatment plant to estimate foundation displacement and performance of two proposed trickling filters during the 2475-year event design earthquake. The effective stress based constitutive model UBCSAND, which captures the cyclic behavior of both the “sand-like” and “clay-like” materials, was used to model the dynamic response of the soil strata. Dynamic analyses of the site indicated that in absence of ground improvement or deep foundations beneath the proposed trickling filters, those structures would undergo horizontal displacements in excess of 1 m and short-term differential settlement gradient of about 400 mm over 50 m as a result of seismic and post-seismic settlements. Three mitigation options were considered for limiting the seismic displacements and differential settlement gradients of the proposed trickling filters. These alternatives include vibro-replacement stone columns, vibro-replacement stone columns plus supplementary cutter soil mixing (CSM) configurations, and pile foundations. Various layouts for each mitigation option were considered including the lateral extent of the ground improvement, CSM walls and pile spacing. Seismic horizontal and vertical displacements of the proposed structures as well as post-earthquake consolidation settlements due to dissipation of excess pore water pressures in soil layers were assessed in all the analysis alternatives. The analyses indicate that all the alternatives considered have the potential to provide a comparable level of seismic and post-seismic performance. However, for similar performance levels, the ground improvement options need to extend well beyond the edges of the proposed structures, while the piles can be limited to just beneath the footprint of the structures. Ghandeharioon, A. and A. Port. 2018. “Comparison of Pile Foundations and Ground Improvement for Reduction of Seismic Displacements for a Wastewater Treatment Plant,” in Proceedings of the Deep Foundations Institute 43rd Annual Conference on Deep Foundations, 24-27 October 2018, Anaheim, CA – Mastering the Challenge: Engineering for Complex Loading Conditions in the 21st Century.