Posts Tagged: Geosynthetics

Dam Structure Safety Installation and Repair Using Advanced Geosynthetic Technology

Written By: Samantha Justice, P.E. Dams and Spillways Are a Critical Part of U.S. Infrastructure With estimates of 84,000 structures nationwide, dams and spillways are essential for controlling flooding, water distribution and management, and providing hydroelectric power. Unfortunately, these structures cannot last forever. The average age of dams and spillways in the US is 57 years, seven years over the typical 50-year lifespan of these structures. Aging infrastructure can lead to serious consequences if safety precautions are not taken, or measures are not implemented to address identified problems in a timely manner. The most important measure that any dam manager can apply is continual inspection and upkeep. The US Army Corps of Engineers Infrastructure Report Card rating for 2021 was a C-, and the health of dam structures was a significant part of that low rating. State and federal regulations provide a framework for the assessment and maintenance of dam and spillway structures-at a minimum yearly audit inspections that identify areas that need repair or replacement are required. Performing these repairs can help extend the lifetime of dams to help keep essential services in place without excessive cost or increased failure potential. Understanding Areas of Concern for Existing Structures The… Read more »

Seven Key Factors to Choosing the Right Geocell

Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Choosing the Right Geocell Does excellent quality and support matter to you? Of course it does. But, you are smart enough to know that there is no free lunch. Low cost alternatives are less expensive for a reason. So, what do you need to look for to recognize the right geocell for your project? 1.  Quality Feedstock Insist upon verifiable proof that your geocell is manufactured only with virgin high density polyethylene. While it is possible to achieve poor weld strength with virgin materials, it is impossible to achieve consistently excellent weld strength unless only virgin high density polyethylene is used. 2.  Integral Components Choose a geocell that offers connection components, tendons, stakes, load transfer clips and installation tools that are specifically tailored for the system. Using rope, staples, bent rebars (J hooks) and zip ties that are not specifically designed for use with a geocell engineered solution is unwise and potentially catastrophic. Use only designs that recognize the critical nature of these components to the overall success of the project. 3.  Experience and Warranty Choose a manufacturer who has thousands of projects and decades of experience. It is shocking how little some manufacturers… Read more »

The Dangers of Breaking Specs and Bid Shopping

Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Specifying Engineers and Architects work tirelessly to build plans and specifications that capture the essence of their vision as they work to write the guiding documents for their project. They make decisions about product types, grades, and take great pains to build into their documents citations of certifications and standards to assure only quality materials are allowed on the site. Yet, when challenged to accept “or equal” substitutions, it seems that all the standards of care can sometimes be lost and substandard materials seem to too easily find their way onto the site. The reason for this lapse is often a result of the timing of the hand-off between the design team and the project management team occurring just as the contractor award occurs. Contractors are concerned about leaving too much money on the table (the difference in value between the winning and the second bid). Just moments after the bid opening or notice of award, bid shopping commences. Bid shopping on publicly-funded projects is disallowed by legislation in some localities, but even when formally disallowed, informally it occurs widely. With the economic power of the project award and with the pressure of the potential… Read more »