Attempts to resupply the beaches of the Presque Isle Peninsula, Pennsylvania with new sand have resulted in problems with undesirable cementation of artificial beach nourishment material. Cementation of this material has resulted in the formation of high (8 ft), steep banks which are dangerous to beach-goers, inhibit access to the beach and are susceptible to undercutting and collapse. This phenomenon was investigated by evaluating the fines (–#200 sieve size) content of the material, the composition of the sand particles, availability of ground water, lake water, and precipitation, and construction practices at the project site. Calcareous coarse and fine materials were disclosed in source materials examined and were found to react with available sources of water to precipitate fine-grained carbonate cement in pore spaces of the previously unconsolidated material.
Suggested remediation of this cementation problem requires a reduction in the percentage of fines and reduction in the amount of carbonate material available for dissolution and reprecipitation.