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GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

Vertical and Horizontal Groundwater Barriers using Jet Grout Panels and
Columns
G.K. Burke1
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Vice President, Hayward Baker Inc., 1130 Annapolis Road, Odenton, MD


21113; PH (410) 551-8200; FAX (410) 551-1900; email:
GKBurke@HaywardBaker.com

Abstract:
Seepage barriers can be formed using jet grouting techniques from a wide variety of
geometries. Forming interconnected panels and columns are common for vertical
barriers, and other shapes may be warranted when sealing sheetpiling or other
existing structures. When forming horizontal barriers, from vertical drilling, short
columns or disks are used to interconnect and create the seepage barrier. This paper
will review where the jet grouting technologies are viable, how they are implemented,
and discuss the performance that can be achieved. Several case histories will be
presented to illustrate these issues.
Introduction
The need for groundwater barriers for environmental pollution control and civil
engineering construction is ever increasing. In some cases the barrier is simply
designed to prevent gross pollution of a nearby creek or estuary. More and more
instances are occurring where an excavation is necessary below existing groundwater
for new civil works, and although not in a contaminated region, it is close enough to
an existing plume of contaminated groundwater that a barrier will reduce the pumping
load, and thereby, minimize impact to the plume. Lots of other civil construction has
a need to control groundwater including wharf structures, subsurface structures below
the groundwater, dams, and tunnels.
Groundwater barriers can be required where conventional construction methods are
impossible, perhaps due to access restraints, technical requirements, subsurface
obstructions, or overhead restrictions. Jet grouting has the ability to work in these
restricted sites, alone or in combination with other barrier construction methods in
unrestricted areas.
Methods
Jet grouting uses a drill rig and various drilling techniques to access the planned
barrier location. The drills can be large and even crane supported. Smaller rigs are
also employed, including mini-rigs capable of working in basements.

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GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

Drilling technique is typically hydraulic rotary, using water or other flushing media
to maintain a clear borehole. In very difficult drilling conditions, another type of drill
may be used to predrill in a location, or the jet grout drill may use a water-powered
down-the-hole hammer to advance the drill string. In either case, when the elevation
of the jet grout nozzle reaches the design elevation, the pump for the erosion media
(grout slurry for single or double fluid systems, water for triple fluid system) is
activated to force the fluid at very high velocity (>50 m/sec) out of the nozzle to
impact the soil. On impact the soil is broken free in particles, mixes with the grout
slurry, and is partly discharged up the borehole annulus. The resulting combination of
soil and grout slurry is a product known as soilcrete. Slow rod rotation and lifting
will create a soilcrete column. Slow lifting minus rotation will create a panel of
soilcrete. Partial rotation can be used to create additional soilcrete geometries (Figure
1).

Figure 1. Soilcrete plan geometries obtainable from jet grouting.


Interconnected Column Wall
An industrial manufacturer needed a groundwater containment barrier on the down
gradient side of a disposal area. A 360 m long wall was needed, with a requirement
for thickness = 0.9 m, strength = 1,034 kPa minimum, and permeability < 1 x 10-6
cm/sec. Although the focus was on a sand seam at a depth of 6 to 9 m, the treatment
zone was specified to treat significantly above and below the sand seam to ensure full

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Grouting for Ground Improvement

GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

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treatment and cutoff. Site access and mobility along the wall was severely restricted,
preventing most conventional methods of wall construction.
A preproduction lab study of the grout slurry selection was performed. The owner
supplied all binder materials for this project, consisting of non-spec Type 1 Portland
cement. The selected grout slurry consisted of 15.5% cement and 84.5 prehydrated
bentonite slurry and had a specific gravity of 1.15. This slurry was then combined
with two site soil types, a sand and a clay, at a ratio of 1/3 grout and 2/3 soil by
volume. Both mixes attained a hydraulic conductivity of 5 x 10-7 cm/sec.
The contractor elected to apply the double fluid system of jet grouting, using a dual
stem jetting rig. This enabled two columns to be constructed concurrently from the
horsepower of a single 52 kw grout pump. Pairs of columns were constructed freshin-fresh, meaning that set was intentionally not required so to ensure jetting energy
connected with adjacent work to preclude leaving windows in the wall. This raised
the quality of the barrier, and left only drilling verticality as a potential problem for
the continuous wall. Slowed drilling penetration and high speed rotation ensured
vertical drilling after setup.

Figure 2. Plan view, jet grouted soilcrete barrier wall.

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GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

Figure 3. Jet grouting operation for the jet grouted soilcrete barrier wall.
Repairs to Levee Breached in New Orleans
At two locations where levee walls were breached during Hurricane Katrina, the
repair required that new sheetpile walls be constructed to enable removal and
replacement of the emergency fill. In each location several groups of jet grout
columns were constructed to connect and seal the space between the old and the new
sheetpiling. In each location, the double fluid system of jet grouting was used to
create the soilcrete columns, which hardened to provide an excellent groundwater seal
(Figure 4).
Jet grouting was employed for its ability to easily access these location on hastily
constructed soil berms, and the ability to cleanly erode the soft organic soils and
encapsulate the sheetpile sections with a high-strength low permeability soilcrete.

Figure 4. Plan view of jet grouted soilcrete locations for sheetpile seal.
Vertical Barrier for Dam Spillway Repairs
Keenleyside Dam in Castlegar, B.C. is a hydroelectric dam. A temporary cofferdam
needed to be constructed to permit reconstruction of the spillway. A sheetpile cutoff

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GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

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was initially anticipated, but the dense glacial deposits including gravels, cobbles, and
boulders resisted the installation. On a fast-track schedule over December holidays,
SuperJet grouting was implemented using a single row of overlapping 3.66 m
diameter soilcrete columns to construct a stable groundwater barrier (Figures 5, 6, &
7).
Since grout strength was significantly weaker than the gravels and cobbles in the
soil matrix core recovery was poor. Excavation and observation of column tops at
both ends of the wall was performed to assess geometry and size range (3.66 to 4.3
m). The subsequent spillway construction was completed with water inflow within
limits acceptable to the general contractor.

Figure 5. Section view, sheetpile and jet grouted soilcrete cutoff at Keenleyside
Dam.

Figure 6. Plan view, sheetpile and jet grouted soilcrete cutoff at Keenleyside
Dam

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GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

Figure 7. Jet grouting operations at sheetpile and soilcrete cutoff wall at


Keenleyside Dam.

3.66 4.3 m dia

Figure 8. Excavated column tops at end of soilcrete cutoff wall at Keenleyside


Dam.

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GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

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Horizontal Groundwater Barrier, Base Strut, and Uplift Resistance


In Keswick, Ontario a utility contractor was asked to construct a below-grade
pumping station for a new sewer line. The structure was to be built in an 8.8 m x 14
m sheetpile cell, with piling driven to a clay aquiclude. Unfortunately, no local
borings were taken, and the aquiclude was non-existent. This was expected after the
start of excavation when piping conditions forced the contractor to stop work. With
very permeable sandy soil, a high groundwater table, and nearby residential wells, a
means of groundwater control was required.
A jet grouted soilcrete base slab was designed, using double fluid and superjet
grouting to a 1.9 m thickness. Fifteen tie-down anchors were post-drilled and grouted
into the base slab to add resistance to buoyancy forces. A core of the base slab
clearly shows the granular soil matrix.
The top elevation of the mat was 8.6 m below grade and consisted of 40 double fluid
columns at 1.5 m dia x 3.3 m deep adjacent to the perimeter sheet piling (enabling a
positive connection) and 11 SuperJet columns at 3.9 dia x 1.9 m deep in the center (to
complete the barrier). Other grouting methods could not have offered the degree of
certainty that jet grouting methods could in providing a strong sheetpile support
system while preventing groundwater inflow.

Figure 9. Plan view, 1.9 m thick jet grouted soilcrete base slab

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GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

Figure 10. Corings from jet grouted soilcrete base slab showing the granular soil
matrix at Keswick pump station.

Figure 11. Excavating the sheetpile cell to the top of the soilcrete base slab.
Vertical Groundwater Barrier for Airport Cut-and-Cover Tunnel
SuperJet grouting was used to construct a vertical groundwater barrier for a cut-andcover tunnel at the Minneapolis Airport. Costs were much lower than previously
experienced. Through the use of panel geometry on this project, it was proved that

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Grouting for Ground Improvement

GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

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drill locations could be spaced as far apart as 4.6 m and still achieve a panel closure at
0.1 m to 0.3 m thickness. A jet grouted soilcrete panel was used to ring a 30,400 m2
area to a depth of 18 m to limit dewatering to less than 2,300 liters/min when fully
excavated up to 4.6 m below groundwater level (Figures 12 and 13).

Figure 12. Cross-section Showing Jet Grout Panel Wall

Figure 13. In Situ Jet Grout Panel

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Grouting for Ground Improvement

GSP 168 Grouting for Ground Improvement

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Summary
These are just a few examples of how jet grouting can be used to construct a
groundwater barrier. Examples exist for walls using columns and panels, as well as
many for horizontal base barriers. Highly permeable materials are the easiest to erode
with hydraulic jetting energy, and this allows jet grouting to be an economic solution.
This is particularly the case when soils have been disturbed (Keswick project),
ravels/cobbles/boulders may be encountered (Keenleyside project), or when access is
difficult, (Keenleyside and New Orleans projects)
References
Brill, G.T.; Burke, G. K.; Ringen, A. R. (2003). A Ten Year Perspective of Jet
Grouting: Advancements in Applications and Technology. Proceedings of Grouting
and Ground Treatment, New Orleans, LA. Deep Foundations Institute.

Copyright ASCE 2007

Geo-Denver 2007: New Peaks in Geotechnics


Grouting for Ground Improvement