1 Mar 98
USE OF PETROLEUM CONTAMINATED SOIL IN COLD-MIX
ASPHALT STABILIZED BASE COURSE
1. Application. The guidance and information provided herein are applicable to the design and
construction of mixtures using petroleum contaminated soil and similar hydrocarbon waste for
cold-mix asphalt stabilized base course (ASB). This ASB can consist of bituminous base courses,
bituminous binder and wearing courses, bituminous road-mix surface courses, or cold-mix
recycling methods where these mixtures can function as base course materials.
a. Leakage of petroleum products from underground storage tanks (USTs) and accidental
spills of petroleum products contaminate the surrounding soil and eventually enter the
groundwater system. Many petroleum products when in the soil do not pose a serious
environmental threat, except for possible migration into the groundwater system (Dineen 1991).
The term petroleum is used to refer to gasoline, diesel, motor oil, heating oil, and other petroleum
based materials. Nationwide there are approximately 2 to 3.5 million USTs (Meegoda et al.
1992) Estimates are that approximately 25 percent of all underground tanks that have been in
place for more than 20 years are leaking some petroleum (Czarnecki 1988 and Meegoda et al.
1992). Nationwide the number of confirmed instances of leakage between 1993 and 1994 had
grown from 170,000 to over 260,000 (Durgin 1993 and EPA 1995). The amount of
contaminated soil generated from this leakage has been estimated to average from approximately
38 to 380 m3 (50 to 500 yd3) per UST site, with more than 75 percent of the sites involving less
than 765 m3 (1,000 yd3) of soil (Czarnecki 1988 and Friend 1996). Experience at military sites in
Alaska indicates that the volume of contaminated soils associated with an UST can be as high as
7,650 m3 (10,000 yd3). Costs associated with site remediation involving soil contamination
generally vary from ,000 to 5,000, and if groundwater contamination occurs costs can
increase ten fold (EPA 1995 and Cole 1994).
b. In 1984, under the amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
a formal regulatory program was developed to deal with leaking underground storage tanks
(Czarnecki 1988). These amendments enabled the states to enforce environmental standards for
USTs, provided they meet the minimum federal standards. Many states now vigorously
encourage the removal of all storage tanks after 25 years of service (Czarnecki 1988). Most
states have well-defined procedures for cleaning up petroleum spills. Generally, a sand or some
solid absorbent is spread to contain and/or absorb all liquids, and then the entire mass is removed
and isolated (Czarnecki 1992).