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St. Louis Area Flood Plains and Levees

As water rushed toward St. Louis in May 2015, attention is on geotechnical runaway development that has occurred since the floods of 1993. ST. LOUIS, — Miles and miles of bigger and stronger levees have been built along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers since the deadly floods of 1993, and millions of dollars have been spent on drainage improvements. Building is happening on flood plains across Missouri, but most of the development is in the St. Louis area, and it is estimated to be worth more than $2.2 billion. Though scientists warn about the danger of such building, the Missouri government has subsidized some of it through tax financing for builders. The existing alignment of the Missouri River levee and embankment system is recognized to have breach/foundation distress from  underseepage and boil activity concerns as a result of hydrologic conditions and flow constrictions.  The repetitive cycle of repairing levees in place after each major flood event has resulted in increased O&M and RR&R costs, increased flood risk, and a general concern over the effective level of protection.  Levee repairs in place do not reduce flood  risk. Additionally, the current alignment of federal levees has acted to disconnect the river from its historic floodplain causing environmental degradation  and impaired habitat for fish and wildlife.    It several locations, bridges (rail and highway) and abutments, have encroached into the river’s conveyance area, increasing stages on the upstream side and increasing velocities on the downstream side, which also influence the performance of the levees.

  St. Louis Missouri Local News Releases

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Percolation test

Testing method A percolation test consists of digging one or more holes in the soil of the proposed leach field to a specified depth, presoaking the holes by maintaining a high water level in the holes, then running the test by filling the holes to a specific level and timing the drop of the water level as the water percolates into the surrounding soil. There are various empirical formulae for determining the required size of a leach field based on the size of facility, the percolation test results, and other parameters. For leach line testing, a minimum of three test holes are drilled, most commonly six to eight inches in diameter. Ideally, these should be drilled to different depths from three to six feet below the surface. For better, more conclusive results, five drill holes are used in a pattern of one hole at each corner of the proposed leach field and one test hole in the center. Testing of these holes will result in a value with units of minutes per inch. This value is then correlated to a predetermined county health code to establish the exact size of the leach field. Testing for horizontal pits typically requires five to eight test holes drilled in a straight line, or along a common contour, from three to ten feet below the surface. Testing is identical to leach line testing, though the end result is a different type of septic system, established through a different calculation. Vertical seepage pits are slightly different in testing methods due to their large size, but the basic testing method is essentially the same. A hole, typically three to four feet in diameter is drilled to a depth of twenty or thirty feet (depending on the local groundwater table), and a fire hose is used to [...]

Contractor refuses to refund INDOT for crumbling asphalt | Construction Dive

Indiana highway contractor Brooks Construction said the transportation department's specifications are to blame for the state's asphalt problems. Indiana highway contractor Brooks Construction said it will not comply with the Indiana Department of Transportation’s (INDOT) ultimatum that the company either refund $5.15 million or re-install three miles of crumbling asphalt, according to a statement released by John Brooks, executive vice president of Brooks Construction. Brooks said INDOT conducted 72 successful tests on the asphalt mix in question during the course of the project, paid his company in full for their work, and even paid bonuses of $18,000 for "an asphalt mix that exceeded requirements." INDOT is currently testing asphalt samples from 188 recent road projects across the state, and up to $71 million worth of pavement may be defective and could deteriorate ahead of schedule due to flaws in the asphalt mix. Brooks Construction is the first contractor to be held responsible since INDOT begain its investigation into the faulty asphalt on state roads, and INDOT has not yet released any other results that implicate other highway contractors. INDOT maintains that the fault lies in the asphalt mix that contractors have been using, but critics of INDOT blame the road problems on the recycled asphalt INDOT incorporated into its specifications in 2010. In response to Brooks' refusal to comply with INDOT’s demand, an INDOT spokesman told WRTV that the department would seek to resolve the issue through Brooks' insurance company. "As a family-owned business building projects in Indiana for more than 100 years, we are committed to working with INDOT to resolve the state's widespread pavement issues,” Brooks said in his statement. “We will not, however, accept legal responsibility for an industry problem caused by INDOT's specifications and quality assurance program.” Source: Contractor refuses to refund INDOT for crumbling asphalt | Construction Dive

Geotechnical Experts on site Today Developing a Plan at Wildcat Creek Bridge

August 8, 2015 Geotechnical Experts on site Today Developing a Plan at Wildcat Creek Bridge TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. – Geotechnical experts observed conditions at the I-65 northbound bridge over Wildcat Creek today and are working to test and analyze the soils and develop a detailed plan to address and prevent further pier settlement. INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson briefed Governor Mike Pence by phone today and he is monitoring the situation. What happened Structural engineers monitoring the I-65 northbound bridge over the Wildcat Creek noticed movement in the riverbank pier and ordered the bridge closed Friday afternoon.  An estimated reopening date for the bridge will not be known until soils testing and analysis is completed.  INDOT will work to provide updates as new information is available. Detour I-65 northbound merges to one lane and is diverted onto U.S. 52 at Exit 141 north of Lebanon. Follow U.S. 52 north for nearly 17 miles, then turn left at State Road 28. Follow S.R. 28 west for about 10 miles, then turn right onto U.S. 231. Follow U.S. 231 north for about 33 miles until it intersects I-65 again in White County. INDOT thanks the motoring public for their patience while engineers and other experts work to safely reopen the bridge.  INDOT is installing temporary traffic signals at the S.R. 28 intersections with U.S. 52 and U.S. 231.  Until those are completed late on Sunday, INDOT and law enforcement staff are helping to direct traffic. INDOT engineers are monitoring traffic flow on U.S. 231 signals and adjusting timing patterns.  INDOT has asked contractors to suspend work where the official detour rejoins I-65 in White County. Message alerting travelers of the closure are posted on dynamic message signs as far south as the Louisville metro area. INDOT is working to identify and clear alternate routes [...]