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All About Slurry Walls and Biopolymer Trenches

By William Hauselberg Subscribe to RSS | February 15th 2012 | Views:
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Slurry walls have been used for decades to impede groundwater flow and to prevent earthen walls from collapsing during the excavation of building foundations and underground structures. More recently, slurry walls and trenches have been used to stabilize dams and levees. They're also used to contain contaminated ground water at designated Superfund sites and landfills, and to stabilize and protect water treatment systems. In all of these examples, slurry walls are used to either divert or impede groundwater flow and contamination.

How Slurry Walls Are Constructed

The first step in building a slurry barrier wall is to create a shallow trench using digging rigs. This trench is then back-filled with a liquid or slurry that temporarily provides support for the trench walls so that they do not collapse. Once the shallow trench has been filled with slurry, the excavation of additional earth can continue and more slurry is then added as needed. When the desired depth is achieved, cement is pumped into the bottom of the trench. This displaces the slurry mixture, which is pumped out and reused as needed.

Common Types of Slurry

The most common type of slurry is made from a mixture of excavated soil, bentonite clay and water that is combined in a colloidal mixer at the job site and then pumped into the trench as it's being dug. However, standard bentonite slurry is not the best choice for all applications. In these situations, alternative mixtures including treated bentonites, attapulgite, soil-attapulgite and soil-bentonite slurries can be used to meet specific project requirements. If a project requires greater wall strength, then soil-cement-bentonite and cement-bentonite mixtures can used.

New Slurry Mix Compounds

Constructing a slurry wall can be expensive, since it's such a labor-intensive task. To reduce construction costs, a biopolymer mixer is sometimes used to replace traditional slurry compounds. In fact, such solutions are rapidly becoming the preferred method for building drainage trenches for projects that divert water away from wetlands or water systems. The main advantage of this technique is that after the biopolymer mixer is added to the trench, it degrades back into water and leaves a fully functional trench in its place. The slurry material no longer needs to be pumped out and hauled away from the site.

There's a far greater emphasis today on protecting our environment and preventing contamination and irreparable harm to sensitive wetlands and open spaces. Because of this focus on environmental protection, new biopolymer slurry compounds are being developed that will reduce the environmental impact associated with constructing slurry walls and trenches. Eventually, advances in the various bioscience disciplines should totally eliminate the need for traditional slurry materials.

William Hauselberg - About Author:
The author has an immense knowledge on biopolymer mixer. Know more about biopolymer related info in his website.

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