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The Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) announced that legislative language was submitted to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to include geosynthetics in the Water Resources Development Act of 2008. The language would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) – Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory in Vicksburg, Miss., to conduct studies, testing, and demonstration of applications of geosynthetic materials.
"Decades ago, the Army Corps was the first federal agency to study, test, and use geosynthetics in engineered projects," said John Henderson, chairman of GMA. "It is our hope that the projects outlined in the language that was submitted will expand the knowledge of and use of geosynthetics by the Army Corps."

The following description was provided in the legislative language: "Geosynthetics have been used successfully for more than four decades in many civil engineering applications by the Corps. The Corps reported that none of the levees reinforced with geosynthetics failed during the Hurricane Katrina event in the Gulf Coast and cited the use of geosynthetics as a factor that allowed the levees to perform well under the most severe conditions.

"Geosynthetic structures have proven to be both economical in construction and maintenance, as well as a means of conservation of natural resources. Realizing this success, it is prudent to further research and develop the use and optimization of geosynthetics.

"Current state-of-practice and design philosophies should be modeled, and further improved, by developing cost-effective standard test and protocol to achieve optimal performance and the inclusion of geosynthetics as a traditional material for these applications."

Project request
The Corps identified the following studies, demonstration projects, and requirements as priorities for future testing:

  • geotextile tubes—underwateruse, stacking, and installation on a slope;
  • geotextile reinforcement on levees—longevity, and measurement of settlement or spreading of the base;
  • geotextile-reinforced walls (fold back walls)—develop design guidance;
  • performance of geotextile tubes filled with dredged materials that are placed in the ocean;
  • effectiveness of geotextiles used as filters;
  • geosynthetics in erosion control—develop design guidance and protocol for use in levees, dikes, earthen dams, and vegetated channel protection; and
  • geosynthetic liners— lining of canals, pipelines, reservoirs, and dams for water conveyance.
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