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Posted in: SmartSlope
SmartSlope Living Wall

Every once in a while, a truly fantastic product comes along.  SmartSlope is one of those products!  The benefits include: excellent block dimension tolerance, a 100% mechanical connection to the reinforcement, a huge pocket for holding soils, the ability to batter at 20 degrees or flatter, and the ability to install drip irrigation lines directly into the block!

Here's a video about the system:

So, we are talking about the Living Wall: the most environment-friendly block on the market and the only block with a true 100% mechanical, verifiable connection.

For more info see

Retaining Walls: What is Global Stability?

Global Stability is the stability of the hillside ABOVE and BELOW a retaining wall.  By it's very existence, a retaining wall changes the shape of a hillside.  These changes should be addressed by the Engineer and Contractor to determine if the hillside is stable.  Take a look at these sketches, photos and video:




Retaining Wall Failure and Rebuild 6041

Posted in: Wall Failures
Retaining Wall Failure: upper portion collapsed
When this 38-foot high retaining wall failed, Kowalski Engineering was retained to help.  Our services included determining what caused the failure, redesigning the new retaining wall, and reviewing the new wall's construction.

Many of the retaining wall blocks were reused on the project - demonstrating that these blocks are extremely durable, even after being dislodged from such a height.  You see, the large and durable block facing was not the problem.

Retaining Wall Failure: upper portion collapsed
The problems were: the type of soil used during construction, the spacing of the geogrids, and (you guessed it) water.  Remember this recipe for failure: "Just Add Water".

Good design and good construction will account for the "added water" and a retaining wall will be quite stable.  We engineered the new retaining wall and reviewed its construction.
Retaining Wall Rebuilt


View Retaining Wall Expert Projects Map in a larger map

Failing Retaining Wall Pushing Building

Posted in: Wall Failures
In Cincinnati, Ohio we have our fair share of retaining wall failures: due to poor construction, poor design, or sometimes just age!  In this case, a number of factors contribute to a failing retaining wall that is literally shoving a building sideways!

Photo of failing old stone retaining wall pushing building sideways!
At this location, a natural stone retaining wall was constructed outside an apartment building.  The foundation walls of the apartment building and this stone retaining wall are supporting the land adjacent to them.

However, at some point in the past another retaining wall was added above!  This additional retaining wall was constructed just a few feet away from the apartment building.  The nearby wall is about 6 feet high, and adds a huge amount of loading to the basement/foundation wall and to the natural stone wall.

The basement wall is being held in place at the front of the building and at the middle of the building, because there are walls at a 90-degree angle to the basement wall.  Those walls are supporting the basement wall.

However, at the rear, where there are openings for the garage doors, there is little support.  The top of the garage doors has been shifted a few INCHES sideways, and the back wall of the apartment building is bulging outward.  Even the old stone wall is being pushed outward.

The owner is currently exploring options for repair!

Jet Filter System

Posted in: Jet Filter System

Jet Filter Components
Retaining walls are failing daily in all parts of the world due to the lack of proper erosion control. The JET FILTER prevents seawall failure by relieving pressure and allowing drainage while saving time & money on extensive repairs. The JET FILTER relieves the hydrostatic pressures created by rain water as well as tidal surges trapped behind erosion control structures such as:

        • Seawalls
        • Bulkheads
        • Retaining Walls
        • Sheet Piling
Because of its unique design, the Jet Filter allows water behind walls to escape, but retains the soil.

For more information contact:

Mr. David Gentry
Blue Marlin Marine Solutions
PO Box 31
Casey, Illinois  62420

Jet Filter Installed in Sheetpile Wall to Relieve Water Pressure

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