January 13, 2016

Tech Note: Earthen and Steel Berm Combination

The use of a corrugated steel containment berm with an earthen berm is an effective means to maximize the benefits of both materials.

Both earthen berms and Contains’ corrugated steel berms have their individual design constraints. Due to constructability issues of the soils utilized to construct an earthen berm, a slope leading into the containment is typically required. Depending on the soils and the requirements of the containment, this slope typically is in the range of a 3:1 or 4:1 slope. To accommodate this slope the earthen berm containment must occupy a much larger footprint when compared to our corrugated steel berm. When comparing the area required for our 57” corrugated steel berm to an earthen berm of the same height, an earthen berm would require a minimum of an extra 40 feet in both the length and width of the containment to accommodate the soil required to construct the earthen berm around the perimeter of the containment with a 4:1 slope. Contain Enviro Services’ Zero Ground Disturbance system offers almost complete utilization of any given area as there is no slope required. Our corrugated steel berm offers a 90°degree wall that only requires 18” on the outside of the containment for the exterior braces.

Contain Enviro Services Ltd. supplies and installs steel containment berms with wall heights of 22”, 33”, 44” and 57”. A design constraint of our system is that we currently only offer a maximum wall height of 57”, an earthen berm has no such design constraint. In situations where our clients have limited room to provide secondary containment, and a 57” corrugated steel berm does not provide sufficient containment volume, Contain Enviro suggests you consider an earthen and steel berm combination.

By installing the corrugated steel containment wall on top of an earthen berm, the advantages of both systems can be realized. In a recent project that Contain Enviro was involved in, our client had only a limited area available to provide containment. An earthen berm was first considered, however with a 4:1 slope the earthen berm would consume far too much area, leaving insufficient room to provide the required containment capacity within the restricted area available on this site. Contain Enviro Services suggested utilizing our 57” containment wall on top of a 31” earthen berm, greatly reducing the footprint required while still providing the necessary containment volume within the limited area available. In addition, the earthen and steel berm combination was the most cost effective solution when it was compared alternate materials or systems.

In situations where area is extremely restricted an option to consider is the use of uniaxial geogrids. Uniaxial geogrids provide additional tensile strength to the soil offering increased stability to the earthen slope, allowing much steeper slopes down to as aggressive as a 1:1 slope. The Uniaxial geogrids are installed between lifts of 12”- 16” of compacted soil along the length of the earthen berm to provide the required slope reinforcement. In these situations the use of an earthen/corrugated steel berm combination will maximize the containment volume available within any given area.

Earthen and Steel Berm

Contain Enviro Services Ltd. is the leader in the supply and installation of corrugated steel containment systems for use as primary or secondary containment in a wide variety of challenging applications, and can provide you with the design support to deal with your most demanding application.

For more details about our products and services please contact Contain.


About CESL

Contain Enviro Services Ltd. has been a major player in the secondary containment industry since 1997. Our head office is located in Grande Prairie, with regional offices in Cold Lake and Calgary. Find us on Twitter and Linkedin


Introducing the Contain 67” Wall

Zero ground disturbance – no posts required.
• Reduces foot print when having to install in space restricted areas.

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