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Flood control – military style

Geotextile manufacturer Fiberweb has launched a new geocellular containment system, called DefenCell, which it claims is an ideal ground stabilisation or flood defence solution.

The company initially developed the product for ballistic defences in military operations, but soon realised that the product could also have environmental and geotechnical applications. According to Fibreweb, as well as military applications, the system can be used to protect river embankments from scour, and can create roadways and build load platforms, as well as flood barriers.

“The system significantly outperforms traditional sandbags in the areas of installation and removal time, water seepage and overall system endurance,” says DefenCell account manager David Dutton.

The US Army Corp of Engineers recently used a 1.6km line of DefenCell to protect the city of Smithland in Kentucky when flooding in the Mississippi River Valley threatened hundreds of homes and businesses. The wall was just over 1m tall and took 34 hours to build.

According to Dutton, the interlocking honeycomb structure of the cells helped secure and fortify the wall against the water pressure from the river, providing very effective protection.

The company says the 3.3m3 bags can be filled with any free flowing material but for flood protection applications the best performance is achieved with sand.

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