AquaDam® - Fuel Containment

LOCATION: British Columbia, Canada  TIMEFRAME: Fall 2004  SCOPE OF WORK: Installation of AquaDam to mitigate environmental damage caused by fuel & oil spill  PROJECT PARTNERS: Contractor: Alpine Environmental

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Background Information and Challenges

In the fall of 2004 a train derailed in British Columbia sending two locomotive engines into a river bank.  There was the immediate threat of leaking fuel and oil (from the locomotive engines) entering the river as the engines lay on their side.  There was also potential for leakage during there removal. 


To mitigate and prevent any serious environmental damage, the Environmental Contractor called Layfield Geosynthetics & Industrial Fabrics Ltd. to install a temporary coffer dam to isolate and contain an area in the river in the event any hazardous leakage occurred.  Layfield immediately mobilized and arrived at the remote site within 8 hours of the accident. 

Layfield supplied three Technicians to installed 250 lineal feet (2 – 100’ & 1 – 50’) of 8’ high Aqua Dams® to secure a containment area within the river.   Aqua Dams® are temporary water filled portable dams that were chosen because: 

1. They offer a low impact environmental alternative to building earthen barriers that require digging or trenching with large equipment that commonly cause long term damage to aquatic environments 

2. The containment area had to be constructed quickly at a remote site 

3. Aqua Dams® are approved by the Canadian Federal Department of Fisheries & Oceans and the BC Ministry of Environment as a means of diverting and containing water 


The Aqua Dam® installation took approximately ½ a working day to install and remained in use for 2 days until the locomotives were removed and the threat of polluting the river was eliminated.  The dams were removed in about the same time frame it took to install them, and were packaged for storage for future re use.