Perhaps the greatest challenge to geotechnical engineers is to maintain the integrity of pipelines at river crossings where landslide terrain dominates the approach slopes. The current design process at NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) has developed to the point where this impact can be reasonably estimated using in-house models of pipeline-soil interaction. To date, there has been no method to estimate ground movements within unexplored slopes at the outset of the design process. To address this problem, rainfall and slope instrumentation data have been processed to derive rainfall-ground movement relationships.
Early results indicate that the ground movements exhibit two components: a steady, small rate of movement independent of the rainfall, and; increased rates over short periods of time following heavy amounts of rainfall. Evidence exists of a definite threshold value of rainfall which has to be exceeded before any incremental movement is induced. Additional evidence indicates a one-month lag between rainfall and ground movement. While these models are in the preliminary stage, results indicate a potential to estimate ground movements for both initial design and planned maintenance actions.