Slurry Walls and Groundwater Control

About this essay

Slurry walls were created to stop water from flowing through levees or similar structures. Such walls play a vital role in building construction, particularly in areas where water tables are high. Essentially, a slurry wall limits the horizontal seepage of water. Such walls also make dams more dependable. Slurry walls are invaluable should a levee break, as they act as a temporary barricade until the appropriate repairs can be made.

Additional Uses for Slurry Walls

Along with helping to support a dam barrier or levee, a slurry helps to prohibit the waste water in sewage treatment plants from leaching into the surrounding ground.

Slurry walls are frequently used at construction sites as well, where soil is often unstable and moist.

The Role of Bentonite in Slurry Wall Construction

Some slurry walls are manufactured from cement bentonite. Cement Bentonite–CB–walls represent a special type of slurry wall that is used throughout the world, especially in the United Kingdom. This type of wall is created using a combination of bentonite and cement.

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CB slurry walls are capable of hardening overnight. Therefore, no additional back filling operation is necessary after the wall is built. This one-step construction method is very convenient for those building the wall. The first use of a CB slurry wall dates back approximately 50 years.

The bentonite used in such walls is actually a clay substance with a very strong resistance to flowing water, and this is mostly due to its thickness. Clay particles are much denser than the particles in other construction materials, and for this reason water has a very difficult time leaching through the gaps.

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A CB slurry wall offers temporary support when the slurry flows into the trench. However, care should be taken by those working with bentonite, as some evidence suggests that it can be bad for the lungs.

Unique Devices Used to Create Cutoff Walls

A CB cutoff wall is often built though the use of a special backhoe that can dig as deep as 80 feet. Other devices are sometimes used as well, such as hydromill trench cutters and clam shaped digging tools. Slurry cutoff walls have to go quite deep in order to prevent flooding through the water table. Therefore, it would be difficult if not impossible to create a CB cutoff wall, or other type of slurry wall without such equipment.


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Slurry Walls and Groundwater Control. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Slurry Walls and Groundwater Control
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