Mitigating Contaminant Transport in Utility Installation

Report No: 04-CR14

Published in 2003

About the report:

In recent years, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has experienced problems with various forms of contamination (primarily from underground storage tanks, USTs) migrating into its right-of-way. In many cases VDOT has had to install culverts, pipes or other utilities through these contaminated areas. Utility installation in VDOT's construction projects includes laying telephone lines, power lines, and construction of sanitary and storm sewers. When installed through contaminated areas, these utilities or utility corridors may serve as conduits or preferential pathways for the migration of contaminants offsite, thereby introducing the possibility of liability for VDOT. Because little information exists regarding ways of preventing such contamination from migrating along preferential pathways created by the installation of utilities, the primary objective of this project, and the resulting document, is to classify the typical types of contamination problems and outline mitigation measures to prevent or minimize them. Emphasis is placed on presenting real-world and practical mitigation methods, guidelines, and procedures. Although the manual is intended for use by field operatives and designers primarily as a guide for obtaining additional, more detailed information, it also presents some methods that can be applied directly.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Wu-Seng Lung, Alex J. Nice 

Last updated: November 30, 2023

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