Pile Wall Cuts Off Seepage (Available only in Geo/Environmental Special Issue)

by Donald A. Bruce, (M.ASCE), Principal; ECO Consultants, Pittsburgh, PA,
Giovanni Dugnani, President; Rodio, Inc., Boston, MA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 7, Pg. 8A-11A

Document Type: Feature article


An unusual cutoff wall constructed by the secant pile method succeeded in drying up seepage through the permeable strata below a saddle dam at Beaver Dam in Arkansas, owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Neither a grout curtain installed during construction (1960-66), remedial grouting in 1968-71, nor lowering the flood control pool stopped the seepage. In August 1990 the Rodio-Nicholson Joint Venture (RNJV) won a contract based on the concept of forming a 1,475 ft long wall by secant large diameter concrete piles, drilling to bedrock with down-the-hole hammers with drill bits 34 in. in diameter. Two drill rigs were operated from a work platform benched into the upstream face, drilling 938 piles on 24 in. centers plus 24 extras to assure overlap at full depth in certain areas. The overlapping pile pattern was executed in two stages: 1) a series of primary piles was drilled and concreted; 2) then the secondary piles completed the cutoff. Many areas of extremely permeable rock were solidified by grout-based methods before drilling could be completed. Construction of the wall began in October 1992 and lasted for 22 months.

Subject Headings: Concrete piles | Piles | Drilling | Seepage | Offshore platforms | Grouting | Walls

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