For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Hydraulic fill.

Hydraulic fill

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Hydraulic fill" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Hydraulic sluicing

Hydraulic fill is a means of selectively emplacing soil or other materials using a stream of water. It is also a term used to describe the materials thus emplaced.[1] Gravity, coupled with velocity control, is used to effect the selected deposition of the material.

Borrow pits containing suitable material are accessible at an elevation such that the earth can be sluiced to the fill after being washed from the bank by high-pressure nozzles. Hydraulic fill is likely to be the most economic method of construction. Even when the source material lacks sufficient elevation, it can be elevated to the sluice by a dredge pump.

In the construction of a hydraulic fill dam, the edges of the dam are defined by low embankments or dykes which are built upward as the fill progresses. The sluices are carried parallel to, and just inside of, these dykes.[vague] The sluices discharge their water-earth mixture at intervals, the water fanning out and flowing towards the central pool which is maintained at the desired level by discharge control. While flowing from the sluices, coarse material is deposited first and then finer material is deposited (fine material has a slower terminal velocity thus takes longer to settle, see Stoke's Law) as the flow velocity is reduced towards the center of the dam. This fine material forms an impervious core to the dam. The water flow must be well controlled at all times, otherwise the central section may be bridged by tongues of coarse material which would facilitate seepage through the dam later.

Hydraulic fill dams can be dangerous in areas of seismic activity due to the high susceptibility of the uncompacted, cohesion-less soils in them to liquefaction. The Lower San Fernando Dam[2] is an example of a hydraulic fill dam that failed during an earthquake. In these situations, a dam built of compacted soil may be a better choice.

Poorly built hydraulic fill dams pose a risk of catastrophic failure. The Fort Peck Dam is an example of a hydraulic fill dam that failed during construction where the hydraulic filling process may have contributed to the failure.[3]

Hydraulic fill is also a term used in hard rock mining and describes the placement of finely ground mining wastes into underground stopes in a slurry by boreholes and pipes to stabilize the voids.


  1. ^ "Initiating Hydraulic Fill Projects" (PDF). International Association of Dredging Companies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  2. ^ "The Lower San Fernando Dam" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  3. ^ French, Brett. "Fort Peck Dam damage from 2011 being repaired". The Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 16 December 2013.

{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Hydraulic fill
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?