Volker Staal en Funderingen is one of the companies collaborating with Deltares in the Biosealing Joint Industry Project (JIP). This project got off to a definite start in early September 2013.The parties are investing a total of €400,000 to further study the functioning of BioSealing and start a number of practical projects.
BioSealing is a cheap, sustainable alternative for sealing underground leaks in for exampl tunnels, construction pits and parking garages, but also for combating flooding behind dykes. In addition to traditional methods for in-situ dyke sealing, such as grout and chemical injections or constructive repairs, BioSealing offers a relatively cheap alternative with little environmental impact.
BioSealing was initially developed by Deltares and Volker Staal en Funderingen. With this technology, in the event of a leak certain nutrients are injected into the ground near to the suspected leak. This stimulates the growth of soil bacteria, which substantially reduces the permeability of the soil and slowly seals the leak.
BioSealing has already been used for several projects. Not just in a large pilot project for sealing a leak in Amsterdam's North/South line but also in a dam in the Danube in Austria. The effect of the concept is therefore proven.
Not all questions have yet been answered, though. The BioSealing JIP will address them in more detail.
The duration of the effect of BioSealing will be investigated and any possible further improvements to the process. This research will be conducted in Deltares' Environmental Laboratory in Utrecht, in close collaboration with Austrian and Dutch researchers from Zuckerforschung Tulln and Bioclear.
The participating companies will also be starting on the JIP new projects, so that the technology can be applied more broadly, gaining more practical experience. Projects are planned in the Czech Republic (GEOtest) and the Netherlands (VSF). The necessary basic materials will be supplied by Sireg and Avebe. These projects will be extensively monitored by Texplor to validate the laboratory research at Deltares.
Currently are taking part in the BioSealing JIP: Sireg Italy, Zuckerforschung Tulln Austria, Bioclear the Netherlands, Texplor Benelux, Avebe the Netherlands, Züblin Spezialtiefbau Austria, Volker Staal en Funderingen (VSF) the Netherlands, GEOtest Czech Republic and Deltares the Netherlands. The number of participants may still increase.
Figure: The injection of BioSealing nutrients stimulates the growth of bacteria, sealing the pores and blocking water leakage as a result.