Posts Categorized: GEOWEB Geocells Soil Stabilization System

Are material shortages delaying your road construction projects? Here is how to stay on schedule and within budget.

Written by: Bryan Wedin, P.E., Chief Design Engineer Road construction is booming, and this trend is expected to remain strong due to high demand and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which includes investments across many sectors, including public infrastructure. Along with this boom, the road construction industry has been dealing with inflation-related cost increases and limited availability of construction materials. The industry has been impacted by supply-chain interruptions and shortages for many roadway materials including lime, cement, and even aggregate. These materials are typically used for roadway base construction, which means road construction projects that use these materials may be subject to delays. Due to these shortages and delays, on-site material or sand-filled GEOWEB® geocells can provide a cost-effective, readily available substitute for base materials–especially where native subgrade conditions consist of weak or soft soils. GEOWEB® Geocells for Roadway Base Stabilization The GEOWEB geocells have been used for load support and foundation applications worldwide for more than 40 years. Developed in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the late 1970s, Presto co-invented the technology now known as geocells or a cellular confinement system (CCS). The early applications of geocells consisted primarily of stabilized, expedient… Read more »

How Geosynthetics Are Uniquely Poised to Help Alleviate Congestion at U.S. Ports

Written by: Michael J. Dickey, PE, Director and Bryan Wedin, PE, Chief Design Engineer On May 6, 2022, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) released an amended Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), allocating over $234 million for port infrastructure development in 2022. Adding to the previously appropriated amount of $450 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), this will bring the total amount available for port improvement projects to $684 million for FY2022. The significance of this investment comes at a crucial time. According to the American Association of Port Authorities, the pandemic has laid bare the need for a transport system that is able to surge and stretch across all links—from sea, to land, to rail, to warehouse, to consumer. The question is, how can this funding be used to meet this need quickly and cost-effectively? The answer may lie in a strategy implemented in 2021 in the state of Georgia to alleviate congestion at the Port of Savannah. The Georgia Port Authority, in partnership with Norfolk Southern, implemented a solution that has caught the attention of other U.S. port authorities and Class I railroads using what is being referred to as “pop-up container yards”…. Read more »

Protecting Environmental Geomembrane Covers With Suspended GEOWEB Geocells

Economic pressure, the desire for green solutions, and the intensification of climate extremes have converged to create a need for better methods to effect soil stabilization. Fortunately, a proven technology exists that addresses issues associated with these conditions and provides a more stable cover solution for landfill covers, lagoons, stormwater containment basins, and other geomembrane-covered systems. Soil, aggregate, and concrete protective covers over geomembranes can be secured against known gravitational, hydrodynamic, and seismic forces using the GEOWEB® Soil Confinement System. Soil and aggregate are commonly used as a protective cover over liners on slopes of 3H:1V or less. However, when slope gradients are greater, unconfined soil and aggregate covers are typically unstable and not used. In arid areas, cover depth may range from 75 mm (3 in) to 150 mm (6 in). Where conditions support vegetation, cover depth may range from 100 (4) to 600 mm (24 in) or greater where the final depth is a function of the characteristics of the desired vegetation. Regardless of cover depth, if an extreme rainfall event occurs that is 10%, or greater than what would typically be expected, soil mass increases, assumed friction angles decrease, and factors of safety for soil stability drop to… Read more »

Solar Installations on Closed Landfills: Using Geosynthetics to Overcome Redevelopment Challenges

Written by: Michael Dickey, P.E. (WI, FL, GA, NC), Director Redevelopment of closed landfills and capped solid waste sites represent a unique opportunity for landfill owners, solar developers, and communities to work together to put underutilized properties back into productive use. Moreover, many such sites are conveniently located near existing transmission infrastructure and may be easier and more economical from an interconnection standpoint than rural greenfield sites. However, building over a closed landfill poses unique challenges because most landfills are covered by an engineered cap not typically designed to support loads from permanent foundations or heavy equipment. Additionally, state and federal regulations generally prohibit any activity that could potentially breach or damage the cap. Therefore, retrofitting a closed landfill for utility-scale or community solar projects requires careful planning. Ultimately, the project must not jeopardize the intent of the original cap design; that is, to protect human health and the environment. Selecting a Suitable Foundation Concrete slabs and pre-cast ballast footings are both foundation options for solar system installations on landfill caps. In general, concrete slab foundations are heavier than ballast footings and pose a higher risk of creating landfill settlement and side-slope stability issues. Ballasted footings are a lighter-weight option… Read more »

The History of Geocells

Geocell technology has come a long way over the past four decades. In its early days of development, the geocellular soil confinement system consisted of wax-coated craft paper; a plastic drainage pipe matrix fastened with staples; paper-thin, hexagon-shaped, glued aluminum; low- and medium-density recycled materials; pure polyethylene without UV stabilization; and square cells similar to old-fashioned egg carton separators. The Invention of Modern Geocell Technology In the late 1970s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) contacted Presto Products Company—a private-label consumer packaging manufacturer—to develop a more robust honeycomb-shaped confinement system that would maintain load-bearing strength under heavy vehicle loads. Working with Steve Webster at the Waterways Experiment Station (WES), Presto’s Gary Bach devised a method to weld polyethylene strips to form a cellular structure. This innovative system became known as Sandgrid and was used by the military primarily for road applications. After the development of Sandgrid, Presto Products created a new business unit to focus solely on the geosynthetics business. With this expansion, Presto Geosystems® was established. Presto Geosystems and the USACE tested various resin blends and concluded that virgin high-density polyethylene (HDPE) provided superior weld consistency and structural strength. Presto Geosystems introduced the GEOWEB® Cellular Confinement System (CCS)… Read more »

Advancing the Mining Industry’s Transition to Sustainable Practices with Geosynthetics

Written by: Michael Dickey, P.E. (WI, FL, GA, NC) Mined materials are essential to our everyday lives. We use these valuable minerals in nearly every sector of the economy—they are necessary to construct roads and buildings, manufacture vehicles, build computers, and generate electricity. Additionally, the mining industry stimulates economic growth by providing employment opportunities and generating tax revenue that helps fund vital public services, such as hospitals and schools. As the mining industry navigates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, there is a sense of urgency to adopt sustainable or “green” mining practices. Green mining can be defined as technologies, best practices, and mine processes that are implemented to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction and processing of metals and minerals. The Mining Industry Faces Unique Challenges When it comes to sustainable development, operation, and closure of mines, the industry faces myriad challenges—not the least of which are poor soil conditions, weak subgrades, and other geotechnical challenges that can complicate miners’ efforts to meet ESG goals. In this regard, some of the more common geotechnical challenges that mine operators must contend with include: Constructing and maintaining heavy-duty haul roads. Stabilizing and protecting slopes. Tailings management and site reclamation…. Read more »

Innovative Design of Sludge Drying Beds Using 3D GEOWEB® Geocells

Wastewater treatment facilities have long had to contend with the challenge of dewatering sludge to minimize waste and achieve overall cost efficiency for disposal. Large-scale facilities commonly use mechanical filter presses or centrifuges to dewater sludge. This equipment is often too cumbersome and expensive for many smaller facilities, so they rely on sand filter drying beds for sludge dewatering. Because small tractors or loaders cannot be operated on the loose sands of a conventional drying bed, a system must be implemented to stabilize the sand and improve load distribution for routine cleanout operations. Transforming Infill Material with the GEOWEB® Geocells Through an interconnected honeycomb-like network, 3D geocells confine and stabilize soils that would otherwise be unstable under loading conditions. Geocells are efficient and economical for fast-built unpaved roadways and retaining walls, erosion control of slopes, and stormwater channel protection. The GEOWEB® 3D Stabilization System is the industry’s most complete geocell system, designed with fully engineered components to withstand the most challenging site problems. Made from robust high-density polyethylene (HDPE) since conception, GEOWEB geocells offer the highest, longest-lasting, and most proven performance of any geocell system in civil applications. The GEOWEB® System Improves Clean-Up System for Solid Waste Treatment Facility A solid… Read more »

Building Energy Roads in Harsh Conditions With the GEOWEB System

Energy sites are often located in remote and difficult to access sites in environments with poor soils, limited road-building resources, and extreme weather conditions. Site Challenges in Western Canada In Western Canada’s Oil Sands region, transporting construction equipment, drilling rigs, and completions apparatus – all with heavy wheel loads (typical loads exceeding 125,000 lbs) is the challenge. It can be extremely difficult to accomplish this over the soft, wet ground (thick muskeg and saturated clays) typical of this region. Add the challenge of working in the dead of winter in below-zero temperatures and on frozen ground, with limited road building materials, and the scenario makes accessing the sites extremely difficult. In the wettest months, muddy conditions can make access by heavy trucks and equipment nearly impossible. So, energy companies typically wait for the ground to freeze before ramping back up construction.  Even in winter, access to remote oil sites creates challenges including undeveloped roads, soft ground, and scarce materials suitable for constructing roads. A Road Solution Built for Extreme Conditions The GEOWEB® 3D soil confinement system is built for these challenges.  The all-weather HDPE material is fast to install and isn’t hindered by soft ground or extreme temperatures. GEOWEB® 3D… Read more »

Designing and Building Sustainable Multi-Use Trails Using 3D Soil Confinement

GEOWEB Recreational Trail

Trails and greenways play a vital role in communities by preserving and creating open spaces for low or no-cost outdoor recreation. They encourage people to get outside and safely explore environmentally sensitive areas that would otherwise be difficult or dangerous to access. Trails also function as a safe transportation corridor for those who commute by foot or bicycle. When talking about recreational trails, it’s also important to acknowledge the economic impact they have on communities. Many recreational trails across the country are revenue-generating tourist destinations that positively impact local economies. Fundamentals of Good Recreational Trail Design There are three key considerations to good trail design: reinforcement, drainage, and confinement of surface materials. These are critical components required to withstand repeated traffic loading, resist degradation from erosion, and minimize environmental impact. Finding economical and low-maintenance solutions to stabilize trails and greenways can be difficult. It is even more challenging in poor soil environments or environmentally sensitive areas where minimal disturbance is allowed, or where paving or filling within an existing floodplain or coastal area is limited by local, state, or federal regulations. Presto Geosystems’ soil stabilization solutions overcome these challenges by providing low environmental impact options that offer long-term stability for… Read more »

Great American Outdoors Act Provides Billions of Dollars for Overdue Repairs and Maintenance of U.S. National Parks

Congress recently passed the most significant piece of land conservation legislation in a generation. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA)—a rare bipartisan effort—will provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and will put $9.5 billion over the next five years toward the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands. The GAOA provides $6.5 billion specifically for the 419 national park units. President Trump signed the bill into law on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Increased Use and Lack of Funding Caused Maintenance Backlog This piece of legislation will have a historical impact on National Parks in the United States. The number of visitors to national parks has increased by 50% since 1980, but budgets have remained virtually flat. This imbalance has contributed to a $12 billion backlog of repairs to access roads, trails, campgrounds, monuments, and other parks infrastructure. Parks and recreational trails have recently become even more popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With limited indoor entertainment options, people have rediscovered their love for the outdoors. As this trend continues, our national parks must be equipped with the infrastructure necessary to sustain them in the long term. The Importance of Green Infrastructure & Low… Read more »