Geotextiles in pipeline construction
Specialty Fabrics Review | November 2011
Pipelines carrying oil, gas or sewage traverse all kinds of topology, including areas with high water tables, flood plains, marshes, tidal areas, rivers and lakes. These watery environments can cause pipes to float, so standard pipeline construction includes weights made of concrete, steel rebar and lifting hooks, welded wire mesh and fabric to protect the pipe from abrasion. A less expensive and more ecological solution may be geotextile pipeline weights (GPW), constructed of polypropylene fabric filled with local gravel or rock. GPW reduces energy costs (no concrete mixing, hauling or manipulating finished weights), is safer to manufacture and uses inert, leaching-resistant polypropylene and local fill, reducing the possibility that non-native materials will adversely affect the environment. Keymay Industries Ltd., Alberta, Canada, manufactures ECOBAG-GPW, one version of the geotextile application.