Seawall Failure Series: Part II

Naturally Occurring Environmental Conditions Can Cause Seawall Failure

Our first post in the series discussing common causes of seawall failure focused on the naturally occurring environmental condition referred to as normal wear and tear. To refresh your memory on normal wear and tear, please revisit the previous post.

Water Depth Changes and Severe Weather Can Be Harmful to the Strength and Stability of a Seawall

In this post, we will discuss two more conditions, natural to the environment, that can cause or contribute to seawall failure. These are:

  • Significant Changes in Water Depth Along a Seawall
  • Severe Weather Conditions, such as Tropical Storms or Hurricanes

Significant Changes in Water Depth Along a Seawall Could Result in Seawall Failure

Waterway lock systems, dams, canal dredging, and climate change are just a few ways the water flowing along or crashing against a seawall can be impacted, resulting in a significant change to water depth. Over the long term, significant water depth changes can result in seawall failure.

If water levels have increased since the seawall was constructed, the seawall may no longer be effective at preventing water surges from crashing over the seawall. This can lead to damage of nearby property. Even worse, if the seawall drainage system isn’t working properly, water can build up on the wrong side of the seawall, exerting pressure outwards, and potentially causing the seawall to fail.

If water levels have decreased after seawall construction wrapped, this could lead to an imbalance of the pressure against the seawall, potentially leading to seawall failure. Pressure imbalances will be discussed in more detail in the next section of this article: Changes to the Seawall Pressure Balance.

Keeping an eye out for things happening around you that might impact water levels along your seawall and tracking water levels regularly can help prevent seawall failure caused by a change in water depth.

Impact from Severe Weather Conditions Can Cause Damage to a Seawall

Florida residents have seen more than their fair share of severe weather conditions wreaking havoc throughout the state. Floridians know they need to stay in a state of constant preparedness, as you just never know when the next extreme weather event will come your way.

Being prepared to weather the storm takes more than shuttering windows, setting up the generator and stocking up on supplies. Those are all very important items on the checklist, but there is one more item that will help protect you, your family, and your property. Have your seawall inspected by a professional to ensure it is in the best working condition. A properly maintained seawall can often mean the difference between a water surge hitting the seawall or flooding the first floor of your house. It can also help people stay safe. In some cases, it can mean having a few additional seconds to scramble to higher ground.

Remember to call the seawall experts at Gibson Marine Construction to schedule a professional seawall inspection. They can help you with any seawall repairs you may need before the next severe storm begins its march toward Florida.

Learn More About Seawall Failure

Please stay tuned next month to get more great tips on how to spot the warning signs of seawall failure and how to potentially prevent future seawall failures. The next post will dive further into the topic of seawall failure, focusing on the seawall pressure balance and how an imbalance can lead to seawall failure.

And remember to reach out to the experts at Gibson Marine Construction for help inspecting your seawall and making repairs to seawall damage caused by naturally occurring environmental conditions. Staying on top of regular seawall maintenance and repairs today, can help delay or possibly prevent a future seawall failure.

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