Åsa Fransson


Dr. Åsa Fransson is a civil engineer, researcher and former professor of Engineering Geology and has worked with research, full time, or part time since she finished her civil engineering studies in 1996. Since 2018, she has a full-time position as a consultant at WSP Sverige while she is on part-time leave (about 25%) to work with research, teaching, and supervision. Since September 2018, this work has been carried out at the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Ongoing research deals with Theory, model, and method for coupling and interpreting hydromechanical investigations in the laboratory and in the field with focus on low rock stress and Predicting climate impacts on groundwater and pore pressure levels for the built environment.   

Working tasks at WSP have focus on hydrogeology and grouting related to infrastructure projects, natural resources, and nuclear waste. Aspects of great importance to Åsa´s work are the technical feasibility of grouting or sealing measures, the resulting reduction in hydraulic conductivity, and hydrogeological conceptualization and modelling considering initial hydraulic conductivity as well as the expected reduction.  Aspects that are key for environmental and climate impact assessments, and tradeoffs related to engineering that are important for a transformation towards sustainability. Which technical and protective measures are necessary, and which are not necessary to ensure that neither public nor private interests are harmed by the impact of activities on water conditions. 

An interest in applied research and development has always been there and the two positions, in industry and in academia, provide an opportunity to work for an implementation of research in real projects while at the same time issues in these projects can be further developed and deepened in collaboration with academia. In addition to this, Åsa is a specially appointed member of the Swedish Land and Environment Court acting as a judge. This also provides an opportunity to observe and analyze and further develop understanding and strategies using several perspectives with focus on sustainability. 


Is it watertight? Observations and comments related to grouting of rock mass

In Sweden, a permit under the Environmental Code is not required if it is obvious that neither public nor private interests are harmed by the impact of water activities on water conditions. For large infrastructure projects however, a permit is typically required, and this keynote aims at highlighting the importance of an increased integration between hydrogeology, technical feasibility of grouting, and environmental impact assessment.  

Observations and reflections on four relevant issues are presented. First, the degree of difficulty in pre-excavation grouting is visualised and discussed based on values of required hydraulic conductivity and required sealing efficiency. The second topic relates to the impact, effects, and consequences; essential components of an environmental impact assessment. For instance, the question is asked: Are there any consequences if the required hydraulic conductivity is assumed being too   low? Thirdly, the imminent need to further investigate and link technical design and feasibility to measured reductions in hydraulic conductivity is pinpointed. Finally, a few observations will be presented related to general nature, pattern, and properties of rock (and soil) and the importance of an adaptation of the grouting design to hydrogeological conditions and with that, highlighting the need of additional knowledge and understanding as an input for analysing and modelling the impact on water conditions. 

The findings suggest that project risks, as well as risks for private and public interests, can be reduced if additional focus is given to the above. When highlighting these four issues we are better equipped to identify what sealing measures are necessary and sustainable from an environmental perspective and hence reduce the risk of a project ending up in a very difficult task related to grouting and sealing of shafts and tunnels.