Construction activities in highway right of ways (ROWs) can result in the release of toxic and persistent contaminants. Highway construction may lead to the discovery of inorganic (lead, mercury, asbestos) and organic (petroleum hydrocarbons) hazardous wastes that have been spilled, illegally or improperly disposed, or leaked. The responsibility then often falls to the transportation agency to clean the contaminated property. Treating contaminated ROW soils for beneficial reuse as construction fill is a proactive strategy for dealing with contaminated property. However, the best cost-effective decontamination treatments that do not cause significant construction delays have yet to be identified. Cost-effective, usable solutions customized for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) time, space, and soil volume constraints are needed. The objectives of this project are to 1) characterize the nature and extent of IDOT ROW soil contamination; 2) evaluate feasible treatment alternatives for IDOT soils; and 3) develop a customized, rapid, on-site treatment approach that will allow IDOT to repurpose contaminated construction soils for on-site use as fill. Using this rapid treatment approach will allow IDOT to divert volumes of waste from Illinois landfills, reduce carbon footprints, lower environmental risks, and achieve substantial cost-savings.
Civil and Environmental Engineering, WSU
Sponsor: Illinois Center for Transportation
Scheduled completion: January 2021