Colbonddrain case study from USA

Protecting New Orleans against future storms

The Prefabricated Vertical Drain (PVD) Colbonddrain CX1000 enabled the strengthening of levees in the very marshy New Orleans area, by dewatering groundwater at greater depth. Consolidation was delivered well within the scheduled time frame. Colbonddrain CX1000 was chosen for its high tensile strength, allowing fast installation.


It’s an extreme challenge – to shore up, stabilize, and add height to huge earthen levees in the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. But the pay-off is priceless – these reinforced levees will help prevent future disasters from floodwaters by hurricanes like Katrina.



Colbonddrain CX1000 was selected for the drainage application. Colbonddrain is a 100 mm wide prefabricated vertical drain that includes an extruded polymer core fully covered with a filter fabric.

Its tensile strength is higher than most wicks and the fabric is thermally bonded to the polymer core in a unique way. The core itself is distinctive because of its typical corrugated cross-section, allowing fast water discharge. Altogether it’s a thoroughly tough and durable composite with excellent drainage capacities.



The project led by the US Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors is complex, involving rapid consolidation and
increased strength on more than 11 kilometres of earthen levees in record time. This critical goal to achieve prior to
the next hurricane season, whilst dealing with very weak soils was the installation of Colbonddrain CX1000.
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One important factor in their success was Colbonddrain CX1000. This Prefabricated Vertical Drain provides a conduit for a faster pore water dissipation, a major consideration working in soft marshy soils. Colbonddrain accelerates consolidation and settlement time dramatically, allowing the levees to be built much faster. Consequently, Colbonddrain speeds up projects. Near Louisiana, more than 2.750.000 linear feet of Colbonddrain now inhabits more than 300.000 holes throughout the LPV 109 Levee project, absorbing the moisture that consolidates the soil to keep the levees stable. This mammoth installation is said to be the third-largest per linear meters of PVD in the US to date. Five stitchers (large drain rigs) were used; a metal plate holding the wick was pushed through the soil by a mandrel to anchor it at predetermined depths. Cone penetrometer testing was performed to determine the wick depth.