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Understanding Erosion Behind Seawalls - Causes and Effects

Coastal erosion is a major issue. As a matter of fact, one football field of wetlands disappears into open water every 100 minutes. Louisiana has lost over 2,000 square miles of land since the 1930s, or about the equivalent of the state of Delaware.


There are a number of reasons why so much land loss is occurring, including the levying of the Mississippi River, shipping channels and canals, oil and gas infrastructure, subsidence and sea level rise. While you can’t change the world overnight, you can protect your land from coastal erosion.


Let’s learn more about what causes erosion, the effects erosion has on seawalls and how to repair erosion behind seawalls.


Causes of Erosion Behind Seawalls


Wave action and hydraulic forces


Seawalls serve as barriers, deflecting the energy of incoming waves to prevent them from eroding the land. However, the sheer force of these waves can cause erosion indirectly. Wave action creates turbulence, leading to scouring and undermining of the seabed behind the seawall. This constant wave energy weakens the sediment and erodes it over time.


Seawall design and construction flaws


Improper design or construction of seawalls can exacerbate erosion instead of preventing it. Inadequate drainage, poorly placed joints or unsuitable materials may lead to erosion issues behind the seawall. Water seepage through cracks or gaps can also undermine the stability of the structure and erode the soil behind it.


Natural processes and climate change


Natural processes, including tidal fluctuations, storm surges and sea-level rise driven by climate change, intensify erosion behind seawalls. For example, rising sea levels increase water pressure against the wall and exacerbate erosion processes, impacting the stability of the coastline.


Effects of Erosion Behind Seawalls


Loss of land and habitat


Erosion behind seawalls contributes to the loss of valuable coastal land. As the soil erodes, it can lead to the gradual recession of the shoreline, affecting property, infrastructure and natural habitats. Coastal habitats for wildlife and ecosystems may also diminish, leading to ecological imbalances.


Structural instability and safety concerns


Continuous erosion weakens the land behind the seawall, compromising its stability. This erosion-induced instability poses risks to the structural integrity of adjacent properties, roads and utilities. In severe cases, it can lead to structural failures and pose safety hazards.


Economic and social impacts


The economic impact of erosion behind seawalls is substantial. Property devaluation, increased maintenance costs for infrastructure and the need for frequent repairs contribute to financial burdens on coastal communities. Moreover, erosion-induced land loss can displace communities, affecting their social fabric and cultural heritage.


Repair Erosion Behind Seawalls


Living near a body of water offers a unique experience, but it also comes with more responsibility. If your seawall’s structural integrity has been compromised, it may not provide the protection you expect. Fortunately, Foremost Foundations and Construction can provide you with quality seawall repair at an affordable cost.


Using polyurethane resin, which is lightweight, fast-drying, waterproof and eco-friendly, our team can repair your seawall and protect it from erosion for years and years to come. To schedule your free inspection and estimate, contact Foremost Foundations and Construction today.


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