Freeze-thaw cycles: bad for roads, but really good for dewatering.

How does a Bishop Solids Management Solution fare in the wintertime?

For most municipalities, springtime freeze-thaw cycles are a problem, causing damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure. But for the Bishop Solids Management Solution, with Geotube® containers, freezing and thawing is a natural wonder that provides a tremendous boost to the dewatering process and can help reduce the volume of a container by as much as 50%.

geotube, freeze-thaw

This happens because water expands when it freezes, so the ice crystals that form inside the Geotube® container cause compression of the solids and force more water to be squeezed out. Once the Geotube® container thaws, the water is released and the solids are further consolidated. The best part is that the freeze/thaw/consolidation process happens naturally, costs nothing, and requires no oversight from plant operators.

It’s not unusual to see the volume of a Geotube® container shrink by as much as 50%. This volume reduction frees up space in the bag, and enables it to be refilled with solids— though we recommend that you wait until the Geotube® container is fully thawed before pumping into it again. A full thaw can take several weeks due to the size of the container, but as a general rule, once the ground is free of frost your Geotube® container is ready to accept more solids.

Once the Geotube® container is full again–and if you have space–let it sit over winter and freeze again. In some cases, the dewatering and consolidation may be sufficient to allow you to refill the container again. Some of the sites we service have been using the same Geotube® container for three or four seasons. But even if the container can’t accept more solids, the additional dewatering and volume reduction will help reduce the time and cost of hauling the solids off-site.

Learn more about the Bishop Solids Management Solution for containment and dewatering of solids.

Contact us with your questions about the Geotube® freeze/thaw/consolidation cycle and to arrange a dewatering test of your solids.