Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair

Andrew J. Whelton

Committee Member 1

George Zhou

Committee Member 2

Chad T. Jafvert


Two aspects of solid waste management were investigated for this thesis. The first effort focused on better understanding solid waste management before, during, and after the large-scale 2015 drinking water lead crisis in Flint, Michigan. When large drinking water systems are unable to deliver safe water, the provision of emergency water supplies becomes a necessity. The author investigated waste management challenges associated with the large-scale drinking water disaster. In October 2015, more than 90,000 people were directed not to use their lead contaminated water, but instead use emergency drinking water and in-home filters. Discussions with organizations that responded to the incident as well as a review of scintific literature and records were conducted. Results demonstrated that public and private partnerships enabled the water distribution and waste collection/recycling activities. Millions of water bottles were supplied to the community, but the actual amounts may have been less than the estimates for community water needs. During January 2016, the recycling participation rate increased from 13% to 27%. Water bottle and faucet filter recycling was encouraged by the establishment of drop-off locations and the curbside pickup program was expanded. Tens of thousands of filters were donated to the community, but government records found only about 2,600 filters were recycled. Points of distribution (PODs) were established to provide emergency supplies, increase waste management efficiency, but were relocated months after the initial response because their initial locations were not optimal. A lack of formal material flow tracking entering and leaving Flint inhibited a better understanding of waste management activities. Communities seeking to better prepare for large-scale emergencies should: pre-identify the roles of waste management organizations, setup a procedure for documenting emergency water supply materials entering and exiting the community, determine POD locations, draft public notifications about waste management activities, and centralize all data archiving.

The goal of second Chapter was to better understand the factors that can influence chemical leaching from air cooled blast furnace slag (ACBFS) for Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) projects. In July 2016 a green seepage with a sulfurous smell oozed from Ind. 49 and caused a Fire Chief and a police officer in hospital for breathing problems. To deal with a leaching problem lasting more than ten months at one site, a project was constructed, but INDOT spent more than $500,000 to remove slag several years later because of reoccurring problem. A literature review of government documents, peer-review, and trade industry literature was conducted. A visit to an ACBFS storage facility and steel mill that generated the ACBFS was also completed. ACBFS handling and testing procedures at the storage facility and those prescribed by INDOT were also reviewed. The project team also contacted other state transportation agencies (IL, MD, MI, NY, and OH) to determine the degree they incorporated ACBFS into their projects and to determine if product performance tests were required. Results showed that changes to INDOT test methods and acceptance criteria are warranted. Indiana Test Method (ITM) 212 should be revised to extend the test duration, pH acceptance criterion, and add additional material acceptance criteria. Unbound ACBFS should be avoided for construction applications 1) where ground water could contact the material, 2) near environmentally sensitive and populated areas, 3) where a drainage system is not present. Additional work to improve the ability of INDOT to detect ACBFS that would cause short- or long-term chemical leaching problems could include 1) evaluating and optimizing stockpile sampling practices for representative sampling, 2) modifying ITM 212 to better predict worst-case leaching conditions and leachate quality, 3) conduct a head-to-head comparison of bench-scale and field-scale leaching results.