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Teoh Soon Hooi1, Lim Lum Kong2, Loke Kean Hooi3 & Chia Yew Ken4

ABSTRACT The Kuala Kangsar - Grik Highway (Federal Route 76) project in Malaysia required an alignment that cuts through Raban Lake. For the lake crossing, a bridge which consisted of 10 piers 2m to 8m deep had to be constructed. To construct the piers, it was necessary to back-fill a section of the lake with sand to create a platform for construction machinery and boring works. The Environmental impact assessment required that pollution resulting from the back-filling operation, boring and cofferdam activities be controlled. This paper describes the successful use of a nonwoven geotextile for environmental pollution control for the entire length of the 742m bridge construction. It identifies critical properties and specification of the geotextile required for silt curtain performance and construction. Methods of geotextile installation in deep water is also described. After the installation of the geotextile silt curtain and during the construction of the bridge piers, the quality of the water was monitored which showed minimum pollution within acceptable limit. Keywords: Geotextile; Pollution control; Monitoring

1. INTRODUCTION The Raban Lake is a popular recreation area in Perak, Malaysia and well known for its water cleanliness and aquaculture activities. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies were conducted prior to the bridge construction to assess environmental pollution sensitivity. The EIA studies classified Raban Lake as Class IIB under the subheading Recreation Use With Body Contact where water pollution must be controlled to ensure that the total suspended solid particles is less than 50 mg/l. 2. OVERVIEW The 10 piers for the bridge deck involved sinking 186 numbers 1.5m diameter bored piles into the soft underlying soil. The water depth ranged from 2m at Pier 1 to a maximum depth of 8m at Pier 10. Constructing the bored piles from a barge was not possible since Raban Lake is situated in a very remote area with no access for heavy marine construction equipment to reach the site. To install the piles and construct the piers the contractor proposed a combination of temporary sand filled working platform linked by a temporary composite steel bridge (Figure 1). Sand backfilling was spread into the lake from Pier 1 to Pier 5 and from Abutment B to Pier 10 to create an access and platform for boring works at Pier 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10. A 6m width temporary composite bridge, made of steel H-piles and reinforced concrete double T beams, spanning from Pier 6 to Pier 10 was then erected. This temporary
Chief Resident Engineer, Maunsell Sharma & Zakaria Sdn Bhd Senior Technical Engineer, Polyfelt Asia Sdn Bhd 3 Regional Technical Manager, Polyfelt Asia Sdn Bhd 4 Project Engineer, Sigma Consortium Sdn Bhd
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composite steel bridge was required for heavy construction equipments to do additional bored piles and cofferdam works at Pier 6, 7, 8 and 9. To limit pollution of water during construction the contractor evaluated the use continuous sheet piles as an alternative to a nonwoven geotextile silt curtain. The nonwoven geotextile silt curtain option was chosen for cost and installation speed advantages.












Silt curtain Southern Embankment B P10 P9 P8 P7

Silt curtain Temporary steel bridge







Temporary sand fill w orking platform

Temporary sand fill w orking platform

Northern Embankment



Figure 1: Layout of the piers and silt curtain.

3. DESIGN OF SILT CURTAIN The silt curtain used for the pollutant control was a sinking type. The curtain was designed based on conservative hydraulic flow theory. The horizontal and vertical forces considered to be acting on the silt curtain were: - pressure due to water flow (W1), wind (W2), wave (W3) and buoyancy (W4) (Figure 2).

Silt curtain

Table 1: Mechanical and hydraulic properties of the geotextile.


W4 W3 W1

Properties Unit Continuous filament nonwoven needle punched 100% polypropylene,UV stabilized Characteristic short term tensile strength kN/m Elongation at characteristic short term % strength (md/cd) CBR puncture strength N mm Effective opening size (O90) Vertical water flow (50mm head) Mass per unit area (l/m2/s) (g/m )

Type A

31 80/50 5200 0.08 42 500

Figure 2: External forces acting on a silt curtain.

3.1 Calculation of water force (W1) Pressure due to water force =

1 xC d xV 2 xLx 2
= 0.5 x 1.2 x 0.04 x 8 x 101 = 19.4 kgf/m

where Cd = drag force factor (1.2) V = velocity of water current (0.2 m/s) L = length of curtain (8m) = density of water (101 kgf. s2/m4)

3.2 Calculation of wind force (W2) Pressure due to wind force =

1 xC d xV 2 x x 2

where V = wind velocity (10 m/s) = diameter of float (0.225m) = density of air (0.119 kgf. s2/m4)

= 0.5 x 1.2 x 100 x 0.225 x 0.119 = 1.60 kgf/m

Total horizontal forces acting on curtain = 19.4 + 1.6 = 21 kgf/m (Wave force, W3 = 0). 3.3 Calculation of buoyancy due to nonwoven polypropylene geotextile (W4) Vertical buoyancy force = L x t x = 8 x 0.004 x 1000 = 32 = 32 x 0.2 =6.4 kgf/m Resultant force =
212 + 6.4 2 = 21.95 kgf/m

where L = length of curtain t = thickness of geotextile = specific weight of water as porosity of geotextile > 80%

= 21.95 x F.S. = 439 kgf/m = 4.3 kN/m for 1 to 2 years use, F.S. 20 Use Type A nonwoven geotextile, tensile strength = 31 kN/m (Table 1), F.S. = 31/4.3 = 7.2. O.K.

4. CONSTRUCTION SEQUENCE The bridge construction sequence can be subdivided into 3 stages where nonwoven geotextile silt curtain was used to control water pollution due to sand filling, bored piles and cofferdam construction activities. 4.1 Stage 1 - Sand backfilling at Pier 1 to 5.

The water depth along Pier 1 to Pier 5 ranges from 2m to 5m. A temporary working platform was required for the construction of bored piles and subsequently for construction of bridge deck (box girder) with direct shoring method. The most time-effective option was to backfill the area with river sand, which was locally available.
100 90

Percentage passing %

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100

Particle size, mm

Figure 3: River sand gradation curve.

Figure 4: Back filling of river sand into lake.

The river sand consisted 80% of particle size smaller than 1mm as shown in Figure 3. Direct dumping of sand fill into the lake was a major concern, as it will result in dispersion of silt and sedimentation particles into the downstream. To prevent this, a row of nonwoven geotextile silt curtain was installed from Pier 1 to Pier 7 prior to the sand filling operation for pollution control (Figure 4). The sand-filling operation also caused yellowish foam to appear at the lake surface. The nonwoven geotextile silt curtain acted as a screen to contain the foam. The high vertical water flow properties of the nonwoven geotextile allow dissipation of water pressure build up during the sand filling operation with its optimum opening size for pollutant retention. 4.2 Stage 2 - Bored piling works in water

The bored piling works at Pier 6 to Pier 9 was carried out on a temporary steel piling staging / platform which was build 3m above the high water level. Installation of 1.5m diameter bored piles was carried out using the hydraulic rotary boring rig / machine. Due to the nature of the soft underlying soil, permanent steel casing and water was used to stabilize the bored hole. The bored shaft was formed by continuous boring and removal of bored material (soil and rocks). Spillage of soil slurry and contamination of the lake as a result of retrieval of the boring tools from the bored hole was a major concern. Furthermore, during concreting of the bored piles it is necessary Figure 5: Installation of silt curtain to flush out loose soil / debris at the toe of the bored shaft. This for temporary steel bridge. is to ensure the pile soundness and was achieved by tremie concreting process. The continuous concrete placement flushes the loose soil particles to overflow at the rim of the steel casing polluting the surrounding water. The installation of nonwoven geotextile silt curtain was effective in controlling pollutant form bored piling works from diffusing into the downstream (Figure 5). 4.3 Stage 3 - Cofferdam construction for Pier 6, 7, 8 and 9.

It was necessary to construct temporary steel sheet pile cofferdams at Pier 6 to Pier 9 for construction of pilecaps in water. The size of the cofferdam was 9.6m x 27.6m at Pier 6, 14.1m x 24.3m at Pier 7 and 23.1m x 32.1m at both Pier 8 and 9. The soffit of the pilecap was located at RL 54.235m at Pier 6, RL 52.675m at Pier 7, RL50.264 at Pier 8 and RL51.664 at Pier 9; from its high water level of RL60.52. The cofferdam was constructed by driving sheet piles of prejointed length 16-18m into the soft underlying soil. This was followed by phases of dewatering in accordance to strutting installation process by means of an 18m long-arm excavator and Figure 6: Effective pollutant control hydraulic-jet-suction-method. The soil slurry are pumped out during cofferdam construction. from the cofferdam into the lake surrounded by silt curtain. The high vertical water flow properties of the silt curtain allow diffusion of water through the nonwoven geotextile due to volume displacement during the pumping process. The optimum opening size allows retention of soil particles. A layer of nonwoven geotextile was installed around the cofferdam to control water contamination from the soil slurry during the excavation (Figure 6).

5. SILT CURTAIN INSTALLATION METHODOLOGY An initial topographical survey was carried out to determine the depth of water along Pier 1 to Pier 10. The topographical survey shows that the water depth ranges between 2m at Pier 1 to a maximum depth of 8m at Pier 10. The silt curtain was fabricated based on the water depth topographical survey. To reduce material wastage, the width of each panel was fixed at 4m as the width of the geotextile supplied from the factory was 4m width. Each panel was tailor made and labeled so that the length was sufficient for the respective depth location in the lake. Each individual silt curtain panel was joined together by the use of high strength nylon rope. An overlap of 500mm was provided between each adjacent panel and threaded continuous together along the whole length with nylon rope to prevent piping of pollutant. The silt curtain was then attached to a 225mm HDPE float for buoyancy. Steel chain of 5 kg/m weight was fixed along the bottom of the silt curtain for anchoring the panel to the bottom of the lake. The launching of the silt curtains into the lake was carried out from a small pontoon (Figure 7). With the HDPE floats alignment in position, concrete blocks were sunk to anchor the HDPE floats in position. Concrete block were tied to the HDPE floats at 3m intervals.

Figure 7: Installation of silt curtain from a pontoon.

For UV protection, a 0.5mm thick black high-density polyethylene sheet was wrapped around the nonwoven geotextile. To prevent collision of boats onto the silt curtain during the night, hazard lights were also installed on the HDPE floats to aid night navigation. 6. MONITORING AND MEASUREMENT Water quality monitoring and assessment for total suspended solid was carried out prior and after the sand backfilling operation. On 15/03/02 (prior to the sand filling operation) the total suspended solid in the lake was not detectable (ND) with less than 5 mg/l. This result formed the base limit for the future assessment. The total suspended solid was tested according to the method specified in American Public Health Association (APHA-2540D) by a third party laboratory. After the silt curtain was installed and during each construction activities, the total suspended solid in the lake (outside the silt curtain) was monitored. The moniTable 2. Monitoring of total suspended solid during construction activities.
Report No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Monitored Date 14-15/3/02 29-30/07/02 29/08/02 27/09/02 24/10/02 29-30/11/02 27/12/02 29/01/03 26/02/03 21/03/03 23/04/03 28/5/03 24/06/03 25/07/03 29/08/03 25/09/03 1st Sample ND (< 5) 8 ND (< 5) 10 ND (< 5) 10 6 ND (< 5) 6 5 ND (< 5) 5 Total suspended Solid (mg/l) 2nd Sample ND (<5) 7 ND (< 5) ND (< 5) 9 ND (< 5) ND (< 5) 6 5 5 6 Base Line ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) ND (<5) Limit 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 Sand filling P1 - P5 Temporary bridge construction Temporary bridge construction Temporary bridge construction Temporary bridge construction Temporary bridge construction Bored piling works at P6 Sand filling at P 10 and bored piling at P6 Sand filling at P 10 and bored piling at P8 Bored piling works at P8 Bored piling works at P7 & cofferdam works at P6 Bored piling works at P7 & cofferdam works at P6 & P8 Bored piling works at P9 & cofferdam works at P6 & P8 Bored piling works at P9 & cofferdam works at P8 Cofferdam works at P7 & P8 Cofferdam works at P7 & P9 Remarks

tored results shows no presence of total suspended solid outside the silt curtain and confirms that nonwoven geotextile silt curtains are effective in controlling pollutants in calm water conditions. 7. SUMMARY The performance of the silt curtain on the Raban Lake shows that :i) A nonwoven continuous filament geotextile can be used as an effective entrapment mechanism to prevent soil and silt spillage contamination of clear water during construction works such as waterways. ii) The containment of silt pollution of the water is within tight environmental limits. iii) The high vertical permeability and pore opening size of continuous filament nonwoven geotextile facilitates dissipation of pressure build up during construction works as well as the effective retention of fine sediment.

iv) A nonwoven silt curtain is economic and practical option for pollutant control in clear water due to its low installation and maintenance cost compared with other alternatives. REFERENCES

Figure 8: Overview of bridge construction with silt curtain for pollutant control.

Daugherty, L.R., Franzini, J.B. and Finnemore, E.J. (1985). Fluid Mechanics with Engineering Applications. Eight Edition, McGraw-Hall, New York, p. 311-319.