At the FedEx Ground Distribution Center located in Southern Pocatello, Idaho, the foundation beneath approximately 2,500 square feet of the facility’s front office area was on the move. In 2015, the slab had dropped more than five inches at its lowest point, and at that time it was believed that the soils below the building had settled all they would. A contractor hoped to address shallow voids and injected polymer grout just below the concrete slab, lifting it to roughly three inches at the lowest point. However, the slab continued to drop and by mid-2019 the interior slab had settled by more than seven inches, requiring additional geotechnical exploration at greater depths. Following these studies, URETEK was contacted to densify the soils and raise the sunken slab.
Onsite geotechnical exploration revealed undocumented fill present beneath the structure at depths between 19 and 25 feet below grade. The fill appeared to consist of superficial, very dense, and poorly graded sand with silt and gravel that may have been placed as structural fill. The remaining fill was said to consist of loose to very dense silty sand and sandy clay mixed with construction debris such as brick, concrete, asphalt, wood, and plastic. The fill appeared to be underlain by native lean clay with gravel and by weathered basalt bedrock at approximately 22 to 28 feet below grade. It is believed that the undocumented fill and construction debris were not properly compacted and included voids during placement. Resulting settlement loosened the upper layers of structural fill and affected the interior slab more than typical settlement found within similar structures would.
Geotechnical studies confirmed that the facility’s exterior bearing foundation walls had not dropped in elevation, and that the Helical Piers installed during initial construction had not failed. As such, it was agreed that the URETEK Deep Injection® (UDI) process would provide an ideal solution for the ongoing soil failure issues underneath the main building foundation. Injection locations were pre-determined to ensure densification of the affected areas. Because of the variety of depths and the inconsistency of the fill below, pilot holes were pre-drilled to target depths and grout injection tubes were installed. Crews injected a lightweight polyurethane grout to depths of 24 feet below grade, effectively filling the targeted voids and densifying the surrounding soils. Laser levels determined the extent of injection required, with crews closely monitoring any slab movement to avoid internal structural repairs for the client.
A tent was installed to reduce dust within the facility while crews drilled holes in the slab. FedEx requested after-hours and weekend work scheduling to avoid interruptions to their normal operations. (URETEK also worked around FedEx’s Christmas Holiday and end of the year rush.) Although pre-drilling increased the installation time, URETEK completed the project successfully and densified the soils to the 24-foot depth without any removal of the interior slab. FedEx was able to stay open with no shutdowns or costly business delays.
URETEK Deep Injection® (UDI)
Widely referenced throughout our industry, UDI involves the injection of structural polymer into base and subgrade soils to increase the load bearing capacity. This is achieved by injecting the polymer through small holes drilled directly through the pavement structure to depths determined by site-specific analysis. Our URETEK 486 Star® material flows easily into voids and weak zones within the soil mass below. Through a controlled chemical reaction, the expanding polymer compacts surrounding soils and applies a controlled pressure on targeted areas of the affected pavement above. If needed, a multi-injection design plan is utilized to gently return the pavement to its original grade. The composite material quickly cures into a strong, dimensionally stable, and water-resistant geo-material, providing years of reliable service.
URETEK 486 Star®
URETEK 486 Star® polymer is a two-component, high-density, expanding thermoset polyurethane system. It was developed to be the ideal solution for under-sealing, void filling, lifting of settled pavement, stabilization and stiffening of weak soils, and for encapsulating and sealing buried infrastructure. URETEK 486 Star® is environmentally inert, non-toxic, and resists underground water erosion or weakening due to its industry-leading hydrophobic properties.