van on siteAbbeydale Industrial Hamlet is an industrial museum in the south of the City of Sheffield, England. The museum forms part of a former steel-working site on the River Sheaf, with a history going back to at the 13th century. In 1725 a purpose built dam was created adjacent to the back of the site in order to power a water wheel, this dam is now a threat to the structure itself.

Over time the masonry used to create the dam has eroded which has allowed significant amounts of water to seep through to the embankment which backs onto a wall of the museum. Despite regular maintenance of the dam, a solution was required to stop the water permeating through the embankment and into part of the museum structure. The local council approached Uretek to see if it was possible to overcome the problems using a form of water sealing through resin injection.

This project involved a number of factors that made it difficult. Crucially it wasn’t clear where exactly the large proportion of water was escaping the dam. It had been drained to undergo repair works, but not to the required depth to establish the key problem areas. Consequently Uretek proposed a solution that would involve treating the length of the dam where the embankment backs on to the museum and creating a seal that would redirect water away from the wall.

abbeydale water barrierThe solution involved injecting hydro-insensitive expanding resins into the top of the embankment at varying depths to create a new barrier within the soil itself. In order to test the viability of the solution Uretek treated a smaller area of the embankment and monitored water flow. The test results indicated Uretek’s expansive resins mitigated the amount of water coming through the embankment.

Following the test phase a full treatment was initiated. Expansive geopolymer resin was injected through the top of the embankment at 1 metre intervals to form the protective barrier. The project required the technical teams to inject resins at depths of 1,3 and 5 metres to ensure the embankment was sealed. This would take the pressure off the 14th century structure and reduce the water seepage into the museum.

The initial treatment was successful in reducing the amount of water permeating through the embankment by 80% and Uretek are now completing additional injections at specified areas where small amounts of water are still evident.

Uretek’s solution was the only viable answer to save the museum. The alternative being a full dam drain and rebuild, which required unimaginable cost. Uretek was able to safely monitor the amount of resin injected to ensure it did not compromise the structure, yet still form the complete barrier.