Sheet pile usage in flood protection

In recent years, severe floods caused by storms and heavy rains have increasingly shaken the whole world and have shown that flood protection continues to be an important topic. In order to minimise flood damage, significant investments are required in this area – and steel sheet piles offer an efficient solution for flood control and riverbank protection.

Efficient flood protection systems with sheet piles

In order to establish an efficient anti-flood system, apart from creating a polder system with flood plains, reclaimed land, or marshes, it is necessary to take some integrated steps within the range of the environmental development and construction strategy. It is essential to build a relationship between modern technology solutions and the potential of the natural environment itself.

The implementation of steel sheet pile jagged walls is the safest and the most cost-effective solution. Sheet piles are the best answer for building and reinforcing flood dikes, ditches, etc. Their high tightness coefficient is well-known and has been tested in practice. ArcelorMittal sheet piles, either hot or cold rolled, are an appropriate and optimal solution for the problem. Self-propelled high frequency vibrators and hydraulic machines are used for the sheet pile caving. This way there is no environmental damage.

A short installation time allows for the implementation of sheet piles just before the flood arrives. It is possible to use them in many ways, taking into consideration the evaluated and real loads.

Steel sheet piles offer numerous benefits in flood protection

1. Sheet piles can seal and stabilise both existing and new flood dikes. They prevent tides and stabilise the structure of flood dikes. The combined wall is an impassable barrier for animals and tree roots and prevents landslides. The part of the wall seated into the ground is corrosion-resistant — under normal conditions it is assumed that the wall thickness decrement reaches 0.03 mm per year and 1.5 mm per 50 years (source: Eurocode 3. Design of steel structure. Part. 5 Piling).

2. Another benefit of using sheet piles within the range of flood protection is the material as itself: Steel is homogenous, flexible, plastic, and safe for the environment. The material meets the requirements of well-known standards (EN). Steel is 100% recyclable — it is 100% 'ecological' material.

3. Steel jagged walls are provided as ready-to-use products for immediate application. Some construction transformations like replacement, caving depth increase, or sheet piles joining, may be operated at any time. It is possible to use various sheet pile types within the scope of the given project and to join them in order to make the structure unbroken and optimise investment costs.

4. Sheet piles are one of the solutions for ditch (flood dike) tides. Whereas other construction materials yield easily, it is impossible to break a sheet pile structure. ArcelorMittal sheet piles, used in anti-flood structures all over Europe, prove that they are a fast and cost-effective solution.

Author: Ewa Sakwerda, ArcelorMittal MSc Engineer
2008