Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

Major Advisor

Arvin Farid, Ph.D., P.E.


Nick Hudyma, Ph.D., P.E.


Dan Gado, M.S., P.E.


Lime stabilization has proven to be a valuable method in improving the properties of expansive clays under light structures such as those in transportation projects where ground improvement methods are often necessary over a large area. Hydrous and quick lime products are also utilized in various types of food processing operations to remove impurities from agricultural products. During this purification, waste is produced consisting of precipitated calcium carbonate, organic debris, and trace amounts of soil and agricultural contaminants. This food-processing waste typically contains commercially available unspent lime products, which are still viable for construction applications. Hence, this type of waste could be viewed as a byproduct to be reused or recycled.

The waste is generated in excess of 100,000 tons per year per site when produced in large-scale operations. The volume produced is too large to be sent to landfills and is not compostable due to its chemical composition. Therefore, the waste is typically stockpiled on land adjacent to food processing facilities. There is potential to save capital on construction projects as well as significantly save in land investment by food processing facilities if a more environmentally and economically sustainable solution is found to utilize, reuse, or recycle this material. This paper studies the potential to use agricultural and food industry waste in construction applications where the organic content by weight is consistently measured at lower than 5%. Using a series of geotechnical and environmental laboratory testing procedures, several engineering properties (e.g., swell potential, permeability, and strength properties) of various blends of this waste and expansive clay are measured to find the right series of tests to evaluate this potential. Preliminary testing on a series of blends with an expansive clay suggests decreased swelling potential, increased density, and potential leachate immobilization. Once more blends have been studied and procedures have been standardized, these materials may also produce a secondary revenue stream for certain food processing facilities when utilized in construction applications.