Application of Enzyme Induced Carbonate Precipitation (EICP) for Channel Lining and Repair, Low Volume Road Stabilization, Embankment Construction, and Erosion Control
Can Enzyme Induced Carbonate Precipitation (EICP) be used to increase the strength and erosion resistance and reduce the permeability of typical soils found in the southwestern United States (e.g., silty sand / sand silt) such that these soils can be used for channel lining, low volume roads, and fugitive dust control. Important considerations in making this assessment include: How much bentonite needs to be added to the EICP soil to lower the permeability such that it is suitable for use as a hydraulic barrier?; Will the EICP-improved soil be durable when subjected to wet/dry and freeze/thaw cycles?; What are the life cycle cost and sustainability aspects of using EICP instead of Portland cement and other types of admixtures to improve the soil?
Need and Benefit
Lining of water conveyance channels, repair of lined channels, stabilization and maintenance of low volume roads, and fugitive dust control are all sources of significant direct and indirect costs to Reclamation. Current options for dealing with these issues include the use of Portland cement and synthetic polymers to stabilize the soil. The manufacture of Portland cement is recognized as the source of between 4 and 5 percent of the world's greenhouse gas generation and is increasing in cost. Furthermore, when used for concrete lining of water conveyance channels, importation of high quality aggregate is required. Synthetic polymers are expensive and often must be handled as a toxic material, limiting their use for fugitive dust control and surface water erosion control. EICP offers the promise of cost effective and sustainable use of native soils to address these problems. While channel lining, erosion control, low volume road stabilization, and fugitive dust control are particularly important in the Lower Colorado River Basin Region, similar problems can be found in areas throughout the western United States. One of the greatest benefits is the reduction of water usage for dust control. Currently in the Yuma area, water trucks, either during construction operations or regular maintenance, have to be constantly watering roads to minimize fugitive dust. With the application of EICP technology a single truck pass could possibly minimize fugitive dust control for up to two weeks. Thus, reducing employee time, rig time, water usage, and emissions. If research is not funded Reclamation will continue to suffer water losses in canals due to infiltration, will continue to waste water for dust control, and will continue to incur high costs for lining canals with concrete.
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