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Image text: "Considerations when Building Steel Retaining Walls".

Considerations When Building Steel Retaining Walls at Biogas Plants

Consideration of building steel retaining walls as more biogas plants are built is becoming important. Space can be very limited, especially when AD plant owners decide to add additional digester tanks to existing tank farms.

Using a retaining wall is often the only way in which AD plants can be squeezed onto the only available land.

That way, sloping sites and sites where the planning authorities prohibit construction above a certain level can be used.

Slopes can be levelled by retaining walls, and digesters can be placed below the surrounding ground level to bring down the top-level, and hide them when this is required.

Considerations When Building Steel Retaining Walls

Many people can choose among various types of earth-retaining structures. There are differential surfaces established in each of them, and whenever there’s a vertical interface, steel is used.

One of the popular methods used in retaining wall construction is steel sheet piling. These piles resist the water and soil pressure by acting as a beam where they span their entire length across supporting points vertically.

Materials like steel are often used for permanent or temporary retaining walls. These are present in construction works or cofferdams where the piles of steel enable deep excavation. The digging of deeper terrain and excavation are facilitating water level construction that is usually related to permanent work.

When the construction of the site is completed, the steel retaining wall is often reused for other projects. These are the varieties that are environment-friendly, and they are flexible as well.

Some applications are usually seen in bridge abutments, basements, quay walls, underground storage tanks, and car parking lots.

They are retaining heights that allow underground station access and deter strangers from entering a construction site. They can retain their propping even when they are built in various positions because they essentially comprise high modulus piles.

Some of the advantages of using these steel sheets are the following:

  • The construction work can be faster and more durable compared to reinforced concrete.
  • There are permanent sheet piles that have narrow forms of construction. They are usually installed near the boundaries of the sites that maximize their overall usability.
  • The sheets can be used in various types of soils
  • No requirements are reiterated for excavation of the foundations of the walls
  • No need for the disturbance to be made from the existing ground, unlike boring the place when you do concrete piles
  • Steel components from many manufacturers are made with premium quality from the factory, and this is different from that of a site quality
  • Piles of steel can be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes
  • They can help advance other jobs involved in the project
  • They have an immediate load carrying-capacity
  • Utilized as a sort of curtains for more private and efficient work
  • Sustainable materials and products used so they can be extracted easily from the site whenever needed.

Image text: "Considerations when Building Steel Retaining Walls".

Guide for Designs

The purpose of these walls is to hold the soil depending on the project that you’re planning to do. When you are designing them, various factors should be taken into consideration regardless of whether they were intended for commercial or residential usage. You can learn more about the walls on this page.

There should be standardized care applied to them similar to that of a bridge because this is essentially a structure. Depending on the application, you may decide on a specific wall style that will work best for your construction area, how deep the excavation will be, and when you need reinforcements.

Know that building these retaining walls need careful planning and a thorough understanding of the location. You’re essentially making sure that the walls will not collapse as they can become a hazard when the layout was not carefully well thought out. Some of the design guidance that you may need to know are the following:

Location is Important When Building Steel Retaining Walls

The location is vital, and you can ensure that everything is secure by having a thorough understanding of underground utilities, property lines, irrigation, and stormwater management systems. Some of the additional factors that can affect location include:

  • If the walls are on a slope, you may want to have a storage of the additional infill, or you can have them brought to the location of your choice.
  • Excess soil should be present at the location you’ve chosen. If the site is up on a hill, you need storage for the excess.
  • Consider the natural drainage patterns of the area. The size of the wall can be an issue to natural drainage, and they might be impeding the flow downstream.
  • You may have a wall that’s built along your neighbour’s boundary. If this is the case, make sure that the reinforcements will not encroach on the land on the other side to prevent trouble.
  • Know if there are other surcharge loads like vertical forces and additional weights like fencing and guardrail.


The soil is the foundation of the retaining walls and with this base, ensure that it’s meeting the required load to support everything. Determine the stress parameters, bearing capacity, type, and friction angle of the soil, and it should be strong and firm. It should not tend to be moist like the clay varieties. Know more about clay here:


You need to plan for the design after calculating footprint sizes, heights, slopes, and setback angles. These will all depend on the site’s grade and elevation. There’s also the presence of gravity that can cause the retained materials to move down the slope naturally, so you should make preparations for counteracting this with a robust design.

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