Pipeline Erosion Control: Submar Case Study

Pipeline Erosion Control: Submar Case Study

When it comes to erosion control, articulated concrete revetment mats can reduce the risk of runoff. A perfect example of this is seen on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. As an article from The Courier, dated September 25, 2003, and titled, “Matting Services Common Locally, Help Protect Wetlands,” indicates, Submar mats were laid along the Intracoastal Waterway as part of a Texas state initiative to help prevent soil erosion.


The Purpose Behind Submar Mats


Articulated concrete revetment mats are beneficial because they can:

• Prevent pipelines from shifting when resting on the ocean floor
• Protect pipelines buried within the ocean
• Prevent the possibility of on-shore pipelines touching

One of the primary reasons why Submar mats were used in this project is because they prevent pipes from touching. Many gas and oil pipelines are running throughout the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. If the pipes touch that may affect proper function. Placing Submar mats between them adds an extra level of protection.

Additionally, the state of Texas chose Submar mats because they encourage vegetative growth and reduce the risk of runoff. Submar mats allow native vegetation to grow in areas where moving water or loose soil would otherwise prevent it from doing so. By feeding plants through the slits in the concrete mats, the roots can take hold and help to mitigate the risks of erosion and runoff. The mats were used as a land plug to keep pockets of erosion from growing larger.


Installing the Concrete Mats For Pipeline Erosion Control


Because of the weight of the concrete mats, Submar relies on a mechanical crane to lower strips in pieces of approximately 10 to 20 blocks. As the mats began to approach the pipeline, a team of divers secured the mats and maneuvered them into place.


The Results


Now, nearly a decade and a half since Submar installed its articulated concrete mats, the project is still a success. The mats reduce erosion and actually help to rebuild regions that had previously eroded away.

Soon after the mats were installed, vegetation began to grow. If you were to dive down to the bottom of the mats now, you would see that grass and other ocean-floor vegetation has taken hold and grown through the block openings. In some places the vegetation is so thick, it would be difficult to find the mats. The mats have become a natural part of the embankment.

Submar has delivered hundreds of thousands of articulated concrete mats worldwide to pipeline companies who recognize their value. Learn more about our work when you read about our case studies on the PROJECTS page.