A geotechnical, geochemical and human health risk assessment of a dry oil lake site in Kuwait

  • Humoud Melfi Zayedd Aldaihani

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The main contribution of this study is to evaluate the effects of hydrocarbon contamination of soil with respect to geotechnical and geochemical properties and their impact on human health resulting from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. To fulfil this goal, the geotechnical and geochemical characteristics of soil at a dry oil lake have been investigated.The Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) was investigated utilising Risk Integrated Software for Soil Clean-up Version-5 (RISC-5) to evaluate the effects of hydrocarbon contamination on human health via ingestion of soil, dermal contact with soil, ingestion of vegetables, inhalation of outdoor air and inhalation of particulates pathways.
In order to study these variations, two neighbouring sites at Al-Magwa area on the Greater Burgan Oil Field were selected. The first was chosen for a dry oil lake scenario, and the other adjacent site as an uncontaminated baseline control. Geotechnical tests were implemented on samples taken at different depths from both sites. These included Atterberg Limit, Particle Size Distribution (PSD), permeability and shear strength. Electronic micrographs were also taken for the upper layer (0.0 m depth). The geochemical investigations included Hydrogen Ion Concentration (pH), water soluble Chloride and Sulphate content, Vario Macro Elemental Analysis (EA) and Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). GC-MS was carried out to determine the specific hydrocarbon compounds and their concentrations within the soil.
These values formed the basis of a HHRA.
The geotechnical results show that hydrocarbon contamination modifies the PSD together with a decrease in the angle of internal friction (φ). The geochemical results confirm that the hydrocarbon contamination causes a change in the pH, with the Chloride and Sulphate contents and hydrocarbon concentrations decreasing with depth. The HHRA demonstrated that certain hydrocarbon compositions at elevated levels encountered in the dry oil lake site had potential effects with regard to non-carcinogenic risks. The geotechnical and geochemical characterisation data used in this study are also analysed quantitatively using IBM SPSS Statistics in order to support robust results. The statistical analysis confirms that all the results are solid and compatible.
Date of AwardJan 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDave Giles (Supervisor), Paul David Julian Watson (Supervisor) & Sani Muhammad Ali (Supervisor)

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