Inflatable Water Dams

 


Protecting the Environment Using Inflatable Water Dams

 

Harmsen recently worked on a culvert replacement project in Island County that has removed a failed corrugated metal pipe and installed a 72” polyethylene pipe called DuromaxxTM. (click here to read about the project). The culvert has been installed under a roadway crossing between two salt water lagoons. 

In order to protect the lagoon’s sensitive ecosystems from sedimentation during construction it was necessary to construct temporary coffer dams to isolate the work area.  Installing conventional earthen coffer dams would be costly, both in terms of time and expense, and cause significant environmental disturbance to the lagoon. After construction the material would need to be removed resulting in further disruption and sedimentation of the lagoons.  This project was also of relatively short duration, less than 2 weeks, so the cost of construction and removal of a conventional coffer dam would be significant. Another solution needed to be found. 

For this project an inflatable water dam was used. It consisted of two large bladders that were shipped to the site and inflated using pumps to fill the bladders with lagoon water. Since the bladders are flexible they conform to the contours of the lagoon floor. Another benefit is that after construction was completed, they were easily removed by pumping the water out of the bladders then removing them from the work area. No additional stabilization of disturbed areas was necessary, as would be the case with an earthen berm. 

While 2 fairly small bladders were all that were needed for this project, much larger systems can be installed to fit many other applications. They provide a quick, non-evasive means to provide protection for sensitive environments from construction activities and may result in a cost savings for your next project.

 

Gallery: Inflatable Water Dam
Inflatable Water Dam
Inflatable Water Dam
Setting up the first bladder
Inflatable Water Dam
Inflatable Water Dam
Filling the bladder with lagoon water
Inflatable Water Dam
Inflatable Water Dam
Both bladders filled and in position
Inflatable Water Dam
Inflatable Water Dam
Inflatable water dam during installation
Beach Drive Culvert
Beach Drive Culvert
Culvert and embankment after installation
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