Effect of the Seismic Vulnerability of Water Pipelines on the Collapsible Soils of the North of Chile
During the recent seismic events in Chile (2010 Maule Earthquake, 2014 Arica Earthquake and 2015 Illapel Earthquake), the water pipelines have been subjected to ground motion and ground failure that have affected their performance and increased the leakage ratio of the system. In arid areas, as the North of Chile, this has led to the saturation of saline soils that eventually have collapsed and affected more than 2,000 houses. This paper presents a framework of seismic damage to pipelines and reports the results of a geotechnical experimental program on the collapsible soils found in the North of Chile and subjected to wetting due to pipelines leakage. A review of the water system in the northern area is provided along with the damage experienced after the 2014 Earthquake. An experimental program was conducted and the soil was characterized to determine its physical and mechanical properties, including consolidation and collapsibility tests. The risk associated with leakage of water pipelines is evaluated in the context of increasing the vulnerability of houses founded on collapsible soils. Conclusions provide recommendations to mitigate and prevent this issue, regarding foundation design and seismic retrofit of underground pipelines.
The authors would like to thank the National Research Center for Integrated Management of Natural Disasters for the funding provided for the geotechnical campaign. The authors would like to express their gratitude to Carlos Javier Castro Escalante and to the Municipal Office of Alto Hospicio for the support and information provided for this research.
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