Background Information and Challenges
The owner of Canfor Energy- Fort St John operation experienced challenges with the ground conditions and base stabilization in their yard due to soft saturated soils. These conditions were magnified during the spring thaw and when it gets wet in the fall. A primary area of focus was the infeed deck in the mill, where the heavy equipment moved the product into the mill repetitively during the day.
During these wet times of the year, the infeed area would start to produce large ruts, making it difficult for the operators to work at the mills’ required production pace. This led to increased maintenance of the area in order to eliminate the ruts causing the company both time and money.
In the past, they tried alternative geosynthetic products in an attempt to stabilize the area. While the other products tended to work for a short time, once the ground became saturated with water, they were back to square one.
Layfield suggested the idea of a composite system for the deck infeed area that would reduce rutting over the numerous load cycles. The composite system, which included a non-woven geotextile and Presto’s GEOWEB®, would confine the infill material at the top layer. The confinement of this material will reduce/eliminate rutting over numerous cycles and reduce the need for maintenance in the area. In addition, the geocells also allowed the use of lesser quality infill, which was another savings to Canfor since they did not have access to a good gravel source nearby.
The infeed area was built up, and the contractor installed the geotextile and Geoweb quickly. The owner even commented that the installation went quicker than anticipated, and the contractor was impressed at how easy GEOWEB® was to install. Ultimately, the owner was satisfied that they had tried an alternative solution to base stabilization even after ongoing problems with new innovative products. The following year will indicate the system’s success through potential savings in maintenance costs and reduced downtime for maintenance.