Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Environmental process | Environmental review

Groundwater Control and Construction Dewatering


The department performs investigations and analysis towards the design of groundwater control systems for protecting MnDOT assets (pavements, bridges, slopes, retaining walls, etc.) from failure or reduced design life. It also performs investigations and analysis towards providing aquifer properties to project bidders where construction dewatering is anticipated during project construction.

When to use this subject

You will need to work with the Geology Unit if high groundwater:

  • Has been historically troublesome or created troublesome seeps which could pose a threat to MnDOT assets, promote structural or geotechnical failures, complicate maintenance activities or create public safety risks (icing, for example)
  • Seeps or uncontrolled groundwater
  • Is anticipated during construction

Note: The Geology Unit does not design construction dewatering systems nor will it provide an estimate of flow or discharge rates.  Additionally, the Geology Unit (and Geotechnical Engineering Section, in general) is not certified to work in project areas where contamination is anticipated or identified by OES during Phase I or Phase II investigations.

For specific process information, contact Jason Richter, Joe Hudak or Micah Holzbauer.  Alternatively, see the other guidance in the Legal Authority and Guidance sections.

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

For groundwater control-related needs, the Geology Unit will work within project, maintenance, and emergency schedules to assess efficiency of existing control systems, perform subsurface investigations, perform groundwater testing and analysis and draft/review groundwater control related specifications/special provisions and designs for new control systems or maintenance of existing systems.

Contact the Geology Unit during design for construction dewatering needs if construction dewatering is anticipated or specified during a project. For construction dewatering-related needs, the Geology Unit will work within project schedules to assess available groundwater information and prior project information, perform subsurface investigations and perform physical groundwater testing and analysis towards the reporting of aquifer and soil properties and characteristics (hydraulic conductivity, water table elevation, porosity, gradation and stratigraphy) needed for the design of construction dewatering systems.

Contact the Geology Unit about groundwater control after construction if seeping or uncontrolled groundwater promote structure or geotechnical failures, complicate maintenance activities, or created public safety risks.

Organizations involved