The BP/Amoco Refinery in Wood River, Illinois, has been a landmark for some 75 years. Although the refinery itself is no longer in operation, the location continues to be important to the community as a future industrial site. As part of the site's reclamation process, the petroleum giant must satisfy EPA requirements by taking steps that prevent petroleum contaminants from leaching into the Mississippi River.
To comply with the EPA mandate, BP/Amoco hired Massman Construction Company to build a watertight barrier wall along the riverbank between the existing slurry wall and the Mississippi River. The contractor's original specifications for the 2,497-foot long wall called for piling with job-applied sealer; however, Hammer & Steel's engineers suggested an easier, more cost-effective alternative-hot-rolled steel sheet piling with factoryinstalled interlock sealant.
Massman's long-standing relationship with Hammer & Steel weighed heavily in their decision to accept that recommendation, despite some initial concerns-one of which had to do with delivery, since the piling was being shipped from Europe. "As things turned out," noted Paul Hammond, Massman's area engineer, "the piling arrived on, or maybe even ahead of, schedule."
Hammer & Steel provided a CAD generated layout for the piling walls and special fabricated corners to meet the desired wall dimensions. The piling was loaded onto four lash barges in Europe. The barges were then transferred to a cargo ship for transport to New Orleans, where they were discharged and towed up the Mississippi river to Massman's St. Louis, Missouri yard.
Massman's engineers were also concerned that it might be difficult to drive presealed piling. Pretreating material at the factory is a unique process. It involves applying a polyurethane material into the interlock at such precise tolerance that the pieces easily slide together; yet, when installed, interlock so tightly that they are completely watertight. The engineers were pleasantly surprised. "The driving went well," Hammond remarked.
This was the first time Massman Construction had occasion to use presealed piling, but it won't be the last. "For one thing, it's easier to work with," Hammond noted. "In the field, all you have to do is lubricate it." But the real advantage over other fieldinstalled, weather-sensitive systems is cost. "The savings were considerable," Hammond stated, "maybe 10% or 15%."