2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 276-5
Presentation Time: 9:10 AM


KEATON, Jeffrey R., AMEC Foster Wheeler, Los Angeles, CA 90040 and LUKE, Barbara, Applied Geophysics Center and Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4015, barbara.luke@unlv.edu

Sustainability became a Strategic Initiative for ASCE in 2009 as it worked to establish the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure and its Envision™ Sustainability Rating System. ASCE views civil engineers as "entrusted by society to create a sustainable world and enhance the global quality of life" and insists that they "strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development". ASCE's Committee on Sustainability produced a Call to Action in 2015 observing that 1) civil engineers provide essential infrastructure, 2) the infrastructure is inadequate, 3) future resources and operating conditions are uncertain, and 4) current approaches, practices, and standards do not address the full range of societal needs; and concluding that 5) civil engineering practice must be transformed and 6) it is ASCE’s duty to lead this change. Sustainability as applied to civil infrastructure includes addressing stakeholder interests, considering system life cycles, avoiding depletion of resources, making sound economic decisions, and planning for resiliency.

Site characterization for civil land use requires Geologic Models which form the basis for Ground Models, which are Geologic Models with engineering parameters, and Geotechnical Models, which are Ground Models with predicted performance based on design parameters. If the Geologic Model is wrong, then neither the Ground Model nor the Geotechnical Model can be correct. Sufficient geotechnical investigations, sound geologic interpretations, and clearly communicated results are needed to yield appropriate designs that address uncertainty and variability, in multiple contexts including sustainability. If the geologist does not interpret the geology and explain it clearly, then the risk is that geologic factors will be ignored or interpreted by a less qualified person. All parties must understand that geology is essential to civil infrastructure planning and design for performance, sustainability, resiliency, and security.