Grouting a Sand Dam

by Marshall L. Silver, Prof. of Geotechnical Engrg.; Univ. of Illinois, Chicago, IL,
Paul S. Fisk, Manager; Geophysical Group, Weston Geophysical Corp., Westbor, MA,
Arthur Greenman, Hydro Engr.; Consumers Powers Co., Jackson, MI,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 12, Pg. 34-36

Document Type: Feature article


Hardy Dam, owned by Michigan's Consumers Power Co., was constructed in 1929 by dumping sand from railroad trestles for an embankment to support a concrete core wall. Some of the trestles were left in place, eventually rotting. Ground penetrating radar was used for the first time in the U.S. to locate and identify the voids. It was tested by probing into sites showing characteristic radar signatures to confirm that GPR is an acceptable tool. Resistivity and seismic refraction and other geophysical techniques also contributed useful information about the integrity of the sand embankment. Of the 266 anomalies identified by radar, 162 proved to be voids. These were filled with about 3,700 cu ft of grout. Only weeks after completion of the project, a record flood sent water over the spillway, but an inspection showed no settlement, seepage or wet spots in the downstream slope.

Subject Headings: Radar | Grouting | Soil grouting | Sand (material) | Sandy soils | Dams | Concrete dams | Embankment dams

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