#26: Sand Boil Filter: A more efficient tool to combat internal levee erosion

When river levels rise, so does the threat of sand boils, which occur when water bubbles out of the ground near the base of a levee, surrounded by a mound of displaced soil. Caused by increased pressure, sand boils are a visible sign of erosion within a levee. And unless they are treated immediately, these sand boils will grow and more sediment will be displaced, escalating the risk of a catastrophic breach. However, the current method for fighting sand boils is difficult, expensive and dangerous, requiring hundreds of sandbags.

To simplify this cumbersome process, ERDC researchers have developed a special lightweight filter that can be inserted into a sand boil to alleviate the pressure and stop the erosion. A single person could install it in about 15 minutes, allowing personnel to alleviate multiple sand boils more safely and efficiently – providing greater protection to our nation’s critical levee systems and the lives and livelihoods they defend.

We discuss these Sand Boil Filter kits with Samantha Lucker, a research geologist with ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory.

We talk about why sand boils must be promptly addressed (5:04), and how ERDC’s new filters will improve on the current process (7:56) and enable better levee management (9:04). We also discuss how this effort started (17:00), how it builds on ERDC’s deep expertise in studying the Mississippi River (22:54), and how researchers are improving the filter’s design (21:00) to increase its usage (25:23).

For more information on these Sand Boil Filter kits, contact Lucker at Samantha.L.Lucker (at) usace.army.mil.

For more information on the Power of ERDC podcast, visit https://www.PowerofERDCPodcast.org.