Wicking Bay Muds

by Max Keech, Proj. Mgr.; Brian Kangas Foulk & Assoc., Redwood City, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 12, Pg. 53-55

Document Type: Feature article


Mud deposits in the San Francisco Bay area make construction difficult. Subsidence prevents many from building in the area. Engineers for O'Brien Kreitzberg conquered this problem at a site that was being transformed from a theme park to an office complex by designing a wick and surcharging system. The system works 7 ft below the ground level to allow for an accelerated settlement process. Landfill removed from another area on the site helped to squeeze water from the mud and speed up the process. After the water was squeezed out, it was collected in a drainage blanket and pumped out through the wicks. The construction schedule was staggered and therefore, so was the surcharging system. At time of publication, the settlement readings of the first phase were available. One to 7 in. of subsidence occurred before surcharge placement. During surcharge placement, settlement rates increased to 4 in. per month. Later these rates leveled off to 2 in. per month. While the results are not yet determined, the first phase will probably not reach the expected settlement levels. This may lead to future refinement of wick drain theory and application.

Subject Headings: Bays | Mud | Construction management | Land subsidence | Soil settlement | Drainage | Parks | Landfills | San Francisco Bay Area | California | United States

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