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Benton Harbor

September 1, 2010

PROJECT: Water filtration plant update
CHALLENGE: Circular Sheet Piling
SOLUTION: Simultaneously pound sheet piles into 22-foot circle
CUSTOMER: Benton Harbor Charter Township
LOCATION: Benton Harbor, Michigan
TIMING: September 2010
VALUE: $260,000
PARTNERS: Erhardt Construction

Imagine drawing a perfect circle. Now picture yourself doing so in the dark...and you’re holding your pencil with your toes. Sounds tough, right? A recent Team Elmer’s earth retention project was just as tough.

The City of Benton Harbor was updating its water filtration plant to boost water processing from 10 million gallons per day to 12 million per day.

The plan called for a raw intake system adjacent to the plant that would divert water from underground pipes and above-ground cylinders--each designed to “pre-filter” and process 6 million gallons of Lake Michigan water. The water would then be pumped to a new filter system within the water treatment plant.

Team Elmer’s was tasked with creating the bank retention and circular sheet piling that would then allow the other contractors to build the pipe and pre-filter system. In a typical ‘straight’ job, these sheet piles are driven one at a time. But in this case, it was critical that the piles formed a circle that was precise, straight and plumb so the concrete forms for the intake pipe could be poured against it.

The result? The Team Elmer's sheet piling gurus simultaneously pounded 47-foot tall sheet piles into the ground in a perfect 22-foot diameter circle. That’s almost as tall as a five-story building and wider than your living room!

The other contractors were then able to pour the concrete intake pipe that would ultimately complete the upgrade to the City’s plant.

Marc Felt, an Erhardt Construction project engineer, oversaw the entire project and was blown away by Scott Tebben and the rest of the Team Elmer's crew.

“Our expectations were exceeded by far. I was impressed by the controlled manner that the pilings were installed and their tolerances are maintained to this day. Not to mention Team Elmer’s was accommodating to project changes that occurred while we were on-site, provided a quick turnaround, and the crew was easy to work with."

It wasn’t a typical job...but at Team Elmer’s, there’s no such thing!

By the Numbers

  • 47-foot XZ-95 sheeting was installed with a vibration hammer
  • 40-foot well with a 7-foot toe into soils
  • Intake pipe was poured from the top down in 5-10 foot increments
  • Stiff clay was hit at 30 feet
  • Hydraulic hammer was used to penetrate 80 blow count soil

Click here to download a PDF of "The Perfect Circle: 47 Feet Tall!"


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