Situated along the banks of the Ohio River is a nuclear power components manufacturer with a barge dock to facilitate the transportation of large components and heavy metals. For security, woody vegetation was not allowed on riverbank slopes adjacent to the barge facility. Over time, the riverbank had eroded, creating steep slopes, greater than 1:1. The existing soil onsite was a sandy silt material that was very erosive. This portion of the river experienced frequent flooding that had expedited slope erosion in the past.
The eroded riverbank slopes were graded to uniform slopes, ranging from 2:1 to 3:1. Regulatory permitting for the project required that an armoring system provide a natural cover, rip rap was not permitted to be used. Flexamat Plus, a vegetated concrete erosion control mat, was selected by the design engineer to protect the riverbank slopes from erosion while allowing grass growth. One of the regulatory agencies involved on the project was the State Department of Natural Resources. The DNR was impressed that wildlife, including deer, could safely walk over the concrete mat.
Approximately 200,000 square feet of Flexamat Plus were installed on the riverbank. Within a week of the concrete mat installation, the Ohio River flooded. The newly armored riverbank was submerged for two weeks. After the flood waters receded, the slope maintained it's integrity. Within the first growing season, grasses established within the tied concrete block mat system.
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