Does Broken Concrete Make Good Fill? - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 02-23-2010, 01:12 PM   #1
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does broken concrete make good fill?

Ok, I am looking at buying 4 acres to build a house, and a separate garage on.

I've done some research on the land and found out that it used to be a 3-4 acre pond....

It was drained and the guy who owned the land has filled it in with broken concrete. I'm guessing more of the chunks style, not pulverized. There is dirt fill on top of it, but it sill looks like a dumping area, I know I'm going to have to do a bunch of more fill/grading.

My question is this, does the concrete make good fill? I am trying to figure out if it is just going to keep settling for the next 100 years and in turn screwing up any kind of foundation that is built on top of it. Any ideas?

here is a pic of the land in question....
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:45 PM   #2
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I'm not a geologist, but there are a couple questions that I would want answered before I would consider building in an area like this. Did the owner remove all of the silt from the bottom of the pond before he started filling? Was the concrete pulverized or just dumped in large chunks? How deep is the fill? You'll need to get your footers down to undisturbed earth. How deep will you have to dig to find it? What will you end up digging through to get there? If the silt layer was left, it is pretty much watertight. That is what keeps the water in the pond. Sometimes clay is spread and compacted as a pond liner. If that is still there, you might be trying to build in a mud puddle. Digging through layer upon layer of old sidewalk and debris to create space for a foundation could get expensive. You'll have to get rid of the spoils and haul clean fill in to backfill. And that doesn't address whether or not anything was compacted as it was brought in.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:50 PM   #3
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Building a house on an abandoned, filled in pond is one of the more challenging possible sites. The concrete dumped in is only part of the issue, the concrete is not going to settle, it is the soil that the concrete sits on that is likely to settle. Ponds are often located on organic or silty soil, both of which are prone to settlement. Before you invest a dime of money in a foundation, you really need to get a competent geotechnical evaluation of the site.

This would involve soil borings and an engineering report which will tell you the allowable bearing pressure of the soil, or how deep you will need to go to achieve adequate bearing capacity. This is not a DIY investigation, you will need a drill rig and an experienced engineer to perform the study. And you might want to see if the previous owner violated any rules about filling wetlands and/or water bodies, putting up a house is liable to attract some attention, and your local code enforcement officer may have some interest in whether a permit was obtained to fill the site.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:01 PM   #4
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i would highly recomend building else where. what are you building?
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:07 PM   #5
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I assume the price is very attractive? Ask yourself why that is.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:45 AM   #6
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My first question is: Can you even get the necessary permit(s) to build on this site?
I know that here you would not be able to get permits to build anything on that area. Technically, you have an "Inert Landfill". David
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:13 AM   #7
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Based on this artical, it sounds doable, but it basically says you have to build a slab home, and that the slab itself has to be supported on pilings to prevent damage due to settling. It also points out how utilities have to be installed to account for settling.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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I'd also verify that he was allowed to drain & fill in a pond
Around here that is definetely not allowed

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Old 02-24-2010, 07:21 PM   #9
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Are those muddy looking ponds nearby old quarries? This site is certainly problematic in many ways and I am not sure if it would be cost effective even if free?
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:44 PM   #10
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I had a similar issue on an addition to my house. The Soil engineer tested the soil and we had to remove the organic soil and replace with 3 inch crushed rock under the foundation. It was 5 feet wide around all three sides. We also did a structured slab connected to the foundation walls with #4 rebar. Got expensive pretty fast .
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