Demonstration Project to Implement Electro-Osmotic Pulse Technology to Stop Water Leaks through Concrete

Project ID: 772
Principal Investigator: Daryl Little
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2010, 2011 and 2012
Keywords: None

Research Question

* Will Electro-Osmotic Pulse (EOP) technology be effective in stopping water leaks through concrete?

Need and Benefit

A main goal of Reclamation is the delivery of water and power. Dams, pipelines, and canals are among the structures built with concrete that are used for this purpose, but they can often have leaks. The leaks represent lost water in many cases, usually cause maintenance problems and expenses, and can cause loss of revenues related to water delivery and power generation.

Due to the cracks and leaks in the concrete, water migrates through the concrete and can lead to calcium carbonate deposits--which can interfere with gate operations, plug drains, result in standing water in chambers, and cause significant corrosion problems of any metal in contact with the leaking water.

This is a common Reclamation-wide problem. Existing methods for these types of repairs are very expensive and are limited in application. To date, in many cases, the only solution is continual maintenance of leaking structures. The continual repair and maintenance is difficult and expensive due to the location and materials.

Although this technology seems promising, facility managers and operators are reluctant to try it until its effectiveness is better understood. This research will help to determine if this technology is a viable solution to this problem. If so, it will be useful all throughout Reclamation. If this technology is effective for these kinds of leaks, repair costs will be greatly reduced because repairs would be a one-time fix versus continuous repairs.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Electro-Osmotic Pulse (EOP) Technology (final, PDF, 524KB)
By Daryl Little
Publication completed on September 30, 2012

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Electro-Osmotic Pulse Leak Repair Method: Evaluation in Trinity Dam Bonnet Chamber - Central Valley Project, Trinity River Division – California (final, PDF, 3.2MB)
By Daryl Little and Kurt Von Fay
Publication completed on May 06, 2013

Electro-Osmotic Pulse (EOP) is a technology that uses current and electric fields to prevent water from leaking through concrete. It is potentially a long lasting solution to water intrusion through concrete. Results from previous installations performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show it can have a lower life-cycle cost when compared to grouting or concrete repair alone.
The success of the test indicates that this technology may have application at other Reclamation structures.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20