Water Bleeding and Pumping

Description

Water bleeding (left two photos) occurs when water seeps out of joints or cracks or through an excessively porous HMA layer. Pumping (right-most photo) occurs when water and fine material is ejected from underlying layers through cracks in the HMA layer under moving loads.

Water bleeding.
Figure 1: Water bleeding.

Water bleeding up close.
Figure 2: Water bleeding up close.

CTB base pumping.
Figure 3: CTB base pumping.

Problem

Decreased skid resistance, an indication of high pavement porosity (water bleeding), decreased structural support (pumping)

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Possible Causes

Several including:

  • Porous pavement as a result of inadequate compaction during construction or poor mix design
  • High water table
  • Poor drainage

Repair

Water bleeding or pumping should be investigated to determine the root cause. If the problem is a high water table or poor drainage, subgrade drainage should be improved. If the problem is a porous mix (in the case of water bleeding) a fog seal or slurry seal may be applied to limit water infiltration.