The Effect Of Sewage Effluent On The Permeability Of Soil

Project and Seminar Materials for Civil Engineering CE

The Effect Of Sewage Effluent On The Permeability Of Soil


The ignorant of the effect of sewage effluent on the permeability and other engineering properties of soil has to a level, reduced the pace of development in terms of technology.

The wide use of soil, irrespective of the type in virtually all civil engineering projects across the globe today has given rise to numerous researches on way of improving the properties to meet the intended use. Thus, this project examines the effect of sewage effluent contamination on the permeability of the soil.

Permeability is known to depend among other factors, on the void ratio and porosity of the soil sample. However, it has no effect on the affinity of the soil for water.

It follows that factors which increases the void ratio of a soil sample, also increases its permeability as more water is likely to pass through soil with larger voids.

Since sewage effluent is liquid pollution, which contains some microscopic solid particles, these particles tend to plug up pore passages and at the same time cause a decrease of permeability with time.

This shows that sewage effluent, although is very important to soil users in agriculture, its effect on the permeability and other engineering properties is not commendable.

Table Of Content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Definition of terms
  • 1.1.1 Permeability
  • 1.1.2. Sewage effluent
  • 1.1.3. Compaction
  • 1.1.4. Failure
  • 1.2. Aims and objectives
  • 1.3. Scope of the research

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 General overview
  • 2.2 Factor affecting permeability of soil
  • 2.2.1 Effect of grain size
  • 2.2.2 Effect of properties of pore fluid
  • 2.2.3 Effect of void ratio
  • 2.3. The effect of pollution on permeability

Chapter Three:


  • 3.1 Collection of samples
  • 3.2 Laboratory analysis
  • 3.2.1 Determination of pollutal strength of effluent
  • 3.2.2 Determination of natural moisture content of soil
  • 3.2.3 Compaction test
  • 3.2.4 The permeability test

Chapter Four:

Result And Discussion

  • 4.1 The BOD value of sewage
  • 4.2 The natural moisture content of the soil sample
  • 4.3 The optimum moisture content(OMC) of the sample
  • 4.4 The result of the permeability test

Chapter Five:

Conclusion And Recommendation.

  • Conclusion
  • Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1. Definition Of Terms: Permeability:

This is the property of soil which permit flow of water through it’s inter connecting voids. Permeability is an important engineering property, which governs the rate of flow of aquifer. Hence, permeability in its simplest term is the ease with which water can flow through soil.

1.1.2. Sewage effluent

Sewage is the wastewater of a community consisting of human excreta, urine and sullage. Solid forms a very small percentage (0.1%) of fresh sewage. Sewage may contain pathogenic organisms, organics and nutrients. Hence, sewage must be treated before discharge in order to prevent pollution of surface and underground water source. Sewage exerts biological oxygen demand in rivers, which depletes oxygen. Besides, being rich in nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus), sewage causes in receiving water algal bloom and autrophication. Generally, supplying it with oxygen treats wastewater, so that bacteria may utilize the waste as food.

1.1.3. Compaction:

Compaction means processing the soil particle close to each other by mechanical methods. Air during compaction, is expelled from the void space in the soil mass and, therefore, the mass density is increased. Compaction of soil mass is done to improve its engineering properties. Compaction generally increases the shear strength of the soil, and hence the stability and bearing capacity. It is also useful in reducing the compressibility and permeability of the soil.

Compaction of soil is required for the construction of earth damage canal embankments, highways, runaway, and in many other engineering applications.

1.1.4. Failure:

Dense sand shows initially a volume decrease in a drained test, but as the strain increases, the volume starts increasing. The loose sand shows a volume decrease throughout.

In case of loose sand, the specimen bulges and ultimately fails by sliding simultaneously on numerous planes. The failure in this case is known as brittle failure.

1.2 Aims and objectives

Most ancient structures collapse, mainly due to lack of knowledge on permeability. Properties such as permeability help an engineer, to determine the suitability of soil for some engineering works.

Hence, modern civil engineering works allows for site investigation, which includes the determination of the permeability relative to the soil which would be used for the work.

The main aims of this research are.

  1. To determine the maximum dry density (MDD) of soil, thus increasing its shear strength and bearing capacity.
  2. To determine the rate of seepage of water through a given soil sample.
  3. To determine how permeability of soil is affected by sewage effluent of different levels of pollutal strength.

1.3 Scope of the research

This research will be carried out using soil sample, collected by digging one meter below the ground level, from a farm land located nearby the junior staff quarters. The sewage effluent will be collected from the university of Nigeria treatment tank, by varying the quantity of sewage used.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation


The major aim of this research is to know how pollution affects the rate of seepage of water through soil sample collected one meter below ground level in a farmland at the junior staff quarters.

Generally, the permeability of any soil sample depends on the void ratio of the soil, since water passes through only the voids present in a soil sample. The effect of pollution on permeability of soil should depend on the effect of the pollution on the void ratio of the sample.

From the research carried out, the values of the permeability obtained, and the shape of the graph showed that the permeability of the soil sample is hindered by pollution. This believe is as a result of the sewage effluent containing some microscopic solid particles. These particles move in between the soil particles and plug up pore passages. At the same time, the rate at which water passes through these pores is reduced.


Out of the experience I have gained in the course of my research, I recommend the following for those who may carry out such research in later days.

  1. The test is a very vital one in civil engineering practice: it will help civil engineers to know the suitability of a soil sample for some engineering works. it will also help engineer to use some alternative sources of material in period of scarcity. For instance, sewage effluent of very weak pollutal strength can be used for water in mixing concrete.
  2. The research should be carried out using pollution of higher pollutal strength. This will help in the easier identification of the result of the research. From the research I carried out, it was not very easy to identify the relationship between the sewage effluent and the permeability of soil sample because of the low pollutal strength of the sewage.
  3. The test should be carried out using samples collected from different areas. The research carried out was on sandy clay soil. This result may not be achieved on loam soil, or sand. Hence, more tests should be carried out on other types of soil, collected from different areas to ensure that the result is satisfactory.
  4. The test should be carried out using the constant head permeameter. This is to ensure that the variable head apparatus used has no influence on the permeability of the soil sample with respect to the sewage effluent. β€’ The research should be carried out using other phase of the pollution. Sewage effluent used for my test is a liquid form of pollution, powdered or gaseous form of pollution may used to carry out the same research to ensure similar results.
  5. The research should be carried out leaving the polluted sample for some varying times to know if would be changes in the result with time.

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