21st Century Sand Bags

[A geotube dewatering field, source]

Tencate, a leading transnational provider of geosynthetics and industrial fabrics, recently announced that it will be deploying its largest North American installation of geotubes® for the dredging of the superfund site of Onondaga Lake, in the State of New York:

“As a result of over a century of industrial activity on the shores of Onondaga Lake, lake sediments have been contaminated with chemicals such as heavy metals, PAH’s and volatile organic compounds (e.g., chlorobenzene)…The design by Parsons Engineering is to hydraulically dredge an estimated 2.1 million cubic yards of waste and pump it to a 50 acre dewatering cell through 4 miles of double-walled pipeline. Their design specifies containing and dewatering the waste in geotextile tubes stacked 30 feet in height. TenCate Geotube® containers, of various large circumferences, will be supplied to dewater the sediments. This project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012 and is planned to continue for 4 years. Upon completion of dredging and dewatering, TenCate Geotube® containers will be permanently stored in the capped cell.

[Image via Tencate]

What is a Geotube®?  Imagine the humble sandbag merged with the geo-filtering properties of a silt fence.  Then supersize it, so as to envelop or relocate entire landscapes (with the help of pipes, pumps and polymers).  Render them a patented product, and you have the contemporary sludge sucking sand bag; capable of anything from manufacturing islands, stabilizing shorelines, arresting erosion, creating underwater structures, sieving water from toxic soils and animal waste and other yet-to-be known anthropogenic sediment handling practices.  Their flexi, inflatable qualities allow them to be deployed almost anywhere.


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