P.O. Box 919 Leland, North Carolina 28451


US Wick Drain

Accelerating Consolidation

Welcome to US Wick Drain

We are a ground improvement firm specializing in the supply and installation of wick drains


What Are Wick Drains?

The prefabricated core is made of high quality flexible polypropylene which exhibits a large water flow capacity in the longitudinal direction of the core via preformed grooves or water channels on both sides of the core. Each wick drain can provide a greater vertical discharge capacity than a 6 inch diameter sand column. The prefabricated core is tightly wrapped in a geotextile filter jacket of spunbonded polypropylene which has a very high water permeability while retaining the finest of soil particles. Both the core and geotextile filter jacket have high mechanical strength, a high degree of durability in most environments, and high resistance to chemicals, micro-organisms, and bacteria. Please look at our line of wick drains and see why our wick drain is superior to other wick drains.

How Are Wick Drains Installed?

Wick drains are installed with specialized equipment, called stitchers. The stitchers, which are mounted on either backhoes or cranes, consist of a vertical mast housing a special installation mandrel. The mandrel, containing the wick drain, is hydraulically pushed or vibrated into the ground to the desired treatment of depth, typically to the bottom of the soft-soil stratum. As the mandrel is withdrawn back into the mast, the undamaged wick drain is left in place within the soil mass. The mandrels are 10 square inches in cross-section, thus causing minimal disturbance to the soil. Depending on soil conditions and depth, installation rates may be as high as 4,000 L.F. per hour.

Concept Animation

What Are Typical Applications?

The applications of wick drains are as diverse as the imagination of the design engineer. Typical applications have included dams, large storage areas, highway embankments, tanks, bridge abutments, buildings, and airport runways.

Concept Animation

How Are Wick Drains Designed?
The design of vertical consolidation using wick drains is based on theory developed by S. Hansbro in 1979, which is used to calculate the spacing of the wick drains based on the horizontal coefficient of consolidation (Ch) of the subsoil. The drains are normally installed in a triangular or square pattern.

The rate of soil consolidation or settlement is controlled by how rapidly the pore water can escape from the soil. The controlling variables are the spacing between the wick drains and the permeability of the soil. The amount of consolidation is independent of whether wick drains are present and is determined by the soil compressibility and the weight of the fill above the wicks. By developing a set of design curves of drain spacing, fill height, and consolidation time, the most economical drain spacing and height of fill can be selected to achieve a given degree of consolidation in a specified time period.

What Is The Cost?
There are many factors affecting the cost of wick drains on a particular project, including subsurface conditions, size of project, prevailing wage rates, type of drain used, etc. However, the cost of installation is primarily affected by the subsurface conditions. For ideal conditions, the installed cost may be as little as $0.40 per vertical foot, plus mobilization. If predrilling is required to penetrate stiff or compact layers, the cost of wick installation is controlled by the difficulty of predrilling, and may exceed $1.00 per foot
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