ECS Concrete Design Specialists Enable Clients to Achieve 300+ Year Service Life

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Earlier this year, ECS was part of HDR Engineering, Inc.’s Grand Award and Pinnacle Award winning team selected by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for work done on project owner HRSD’s Virginia Initiative Plant: Nutrient Reduction Improvements, located in Norfolk, VA. ECS concrete mix design expert Bill Denison was brought on board to finish work that had been started by another consultant. Mr. Denison’s participation gave the project team the combination of expertise and experience to get the job done right. Project owner HRSD and HDR Engineering were both familiar with Mr. Denison’s work through other projects the team had successfully completed. Winning the Pinnacle Award was just the icing on the cake.

It’s especially important for critical infrastructure projects to be constructed using concrete mixes that are designed to withstand concrete deterioration caused by Alkali Silica Reactivity (ASR) or sulfate attack. In a nutshell, this chemical reaction, which is a by-product of certain concrete mixes, causes a gel to form, which can absorb moisture and expand. The expansion creates internal pressure in the concrete that leads to cracks, which act as entry points for moisture and other elements to seep into the concrete, causing it to break down even more over time.

ECS concrete mix design expert Bill Denison told me recently, “You can actually revamp a concrete’s mix design to enable concrete to have a service life that exceeds 300+ years,” he said. “Stop and think about it. If you need a water or sewage bearing structural concrete tank below grade, or a tunnel that needs to carry a roadway beneath a large body of water, or a bridge that carries families over a river, you certainly want to create a concrete mixture that will be impermeable to Alkali Silica Reactivity or sulfate attack. Imagine a concrete design that achieves what is essentially an impermeable concrete that fosters a 300+ year service life with no corrosion.

“When we’re talking about the critical infrastructure that helps bind our communities together, this is a huge advantage that ECS can provide to project owners, contractors, and engineering firms.”