Problematic soils are soils that are difficult to work with due to their physical, chemical, or biological properties. These soils can pose challenges in geotechnical engineering, particularly when it comes to the design and construction of foundations and other structures.

One of the most problematic soils site personnel come across are those consisting of coarse alluvium with boulders and cobbles. This is a type of sediment that has been deposited by running water, such as a river or stream. It is characterized by the presence of large, coarse-grained particles, such as boulders (greater than 256 mm in diameter) and cobbles (64-256 mm in diameter). Coarse alluvium with boulders and cobbles is typically found in areas with high energy water flow, such as in the beds of rivers and streams, or in floodplains. It is typically composed of a mix of rock fragments, sand, and silt, and may also contain smaller amounts of clay and organic material.

In geotechnical engineering, coarse alluvium with boulders and cobbles is often considered to be a challenging soil type due to its high particle density and relatively low soil mass. It can be difficult to work with and may require special handling or treatment to make it suitable for construction purposes. However, when properly characterized and managed, it can also be a useful resource for construction projects, particularly in areas where other soil types are not available.

Coarse alluvium with boulders and cobbles can pose challenges in construction and landscaping projects due to its high particle density and relatively low soil mass. Here are some ways to overcome these challenges:

  •  – Excavation and removal: In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the coarse alluvium and replace it with a more suitable soil. This can be a costly and time-consuming process but may be necessary for certain projects.
  •  – Soil improvement: Adding organic matter, such as compost or composted manure, can help to improve the structure and fertility of the soil, making it more suitable for plant growth.
  •  – Deep foundations: If the coarse alluvium is not suitable for supporting the weight of a structure, deep foundations can be used to transfer the load to a deeper, more stable soil layer or to bedrock.
  •  – Use of geotextile fabrics: Geotextile fabrics can be used to separate the coarse alluvium from the soil or fill material placed on top of it, helping to reduce the risk of soil erosion and failure.
  •  – Use of vegetation: Planting vegetation, such as grasses or ground cover plants, can help to stabilize the soil and reduce erosion. In addition, the roots of the plants can help to bind the soil particles together, improving soil structure.
  •  – Raised beds or containers: For small-scale gardening or landscaping projects, using raised beds or containers can allow you to overcome some of the challenges posed by coarse alluvium by allowing you to fill the beds or containers with a soil mix that is more suitable for plant growth.

What do you think? Got any strategies on how to deal with problematic soils? Let us know in the comments below!

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