How to repair flood levees in weak soil, in record time


Our pre-fabricated vertical drain helped New Orleans repair broken flood levees after Hurricane Katrina, and before the next storm season.

Broken levees, swampy soil

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, some of the levees protecting New Orleans broke, causing widespread flooding. The US Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors needed to combat weak soil to repair and strengthen 11km of earthen levees – in record time. However, reinforcing and adding height to dikes is difficult, especially in swampy areas.


Drain away

Contractor US Wick Drain decided on a multi-layered approach using a sand blanket, geotextile fabrics, and rock and prefabricated vertical drains. They chose our durable, 100mm-wide Colbonddrain CX1000 prefabricated vertical drain, which is driven deep into the weak soil, to consolidate and stabilise it faster than traditional methods. This speeds up projects significantly.

The drain also has a higher tensile strength than most wicks, and the fabric is thermally bonded to the polymer core in a unique way. In addition, the core has a corrugated cross-section so water can discharge quickly – essential in soft, marshy soils.



Contractor, US Wick Drain


New Orleans


Visit Enka Solutions


Colbonddrain CX1000

Keeping cities safer in storm season

The mammoth installation is believed to be the third-largest per linear span of pre-fabricated vertical drain (PVD) in the United States. As part of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, there are now more than 2.75 million linear feet of Colbonddrain in more than 300,000 holes across the entire project. By absorbing moisture, the drainage system will keep the levees stable – and New Orleans safe – during hurricane seasons to come.