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ASCE offers virtual workshop: Geosynthetic-reinforced MSE walls, berms, embankments and slopes

Events | February 10, 2021 | By:

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will offer a two-day virtual workshop, “Geosynthetic-Reinforced MSE Walls, Berms, Embankments and Slopes,” on March 2 and March 4, 2021.

Participants will have access to the virtual workshop video archives and materials for 60 days from the start day of the workshop.

Virtual workshop brief

Mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) structures utilizing geosynthetic reinforcement were developed in the 1970s, first with geotextiles and then with geogrids. Our estimate is that approximately 200,000 exist, and the technology is utilized worldwide. Unfortunately, there have been several failures; some with excessive distortion and others experiencing complete collapse. This workshop will build on learnings from these case histories. It will discuss, use of marginal soil backfill, poor compaction, improper design or construction, and internal or external drainage of water.

On the second day the course will shift its focus to inspection, monitoring and maintenance of MSE walls, berms and slopes reinforced with geogrids and geotextiles. It is felt to be necessary due to the number of failures, which are believed to be unacceptable. Day 2 focuses on all aspects of inspection from responsibility before, during and after construction to monitoring and remediation. It should be an action-packed two-day four-hour workshop with time for questions and answers.

Learning outcomes

Participants will become familiar with details of geosynthetic-reinforced MSE structures. Different modes of failure (deformation versus collapse) will be illustrated. A database of failures will be categorized, insofar as soil related versus water related, along with the primary accompanying details. This webinar will hopefully lead to mitigating the large number of current failures in the future.

Webinar benefits

  1. Understand the idiosyncrasies of MSE structures
  2. Learn about the major circumstances of failures
  3. Learn the significance of soil issues vis-à-vis water issues
  4. Learn of the various weaknesses of soil issues and water issues insofar as failures are concerned
  5. Learn about four specific issues that are involved in most of the failures
  6. Understand the negative implications that this large group of failures has on the credibility of the technology and on everyone involved in it

Benefits for participants

  1. Apply the latest information on MSE technology and also what went wrong in the past
  2. Examine the possibilities of designing and building better structures at lower costs
  3. Apply new solutions of reinforcement and drainage even with challenging soil conditions
  4. Determine precise instrumentation which will enable the owner to monitor the situation real time

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learning objectives are achieved through demonstrations, discussion, homework, and a short post-test.

Who should attend?

Owners of MSE walls, berms and slopes in both the public and private sectors; federal, state and regional geotechnical, transportation, and environmental engineers; engineers from municipal districts and townships; private and municipal land developers, architectural and landscape designers; general civil consulting engineers; testing laboratories servicing these organizations; manufacturers and representatives of geosynthetic materials; contractors and installers of MSE walls, berms and steep soil slopes; academic and research groups; and others desiring technically related information on this important aspect of our constructed infrastructure.

Workshop Outline Day 1: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 ¦ 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST

  1. Introduction and Background
  2. GSI’s involvement with MSE structures
  3. Failure classifications and statistical findings from case histories
  4. MSE Design
    1. sliding
    2. overturning
    3. bearing capacity
    4. spacing
    5. anchorage
    6. connections

Workshop Outline Day 2: Thursday, March 4, 2021 ¦ 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST

  1. Wall inspection responsibility for construction
    1. before
    2. during
    3. after
  2. Monitoring
  3. Remediation
  4. Summary Comments

Webinar instructor

George R. Koerner, Ph.D., P.E., and CQQ, is the director of the Geosynthetic Institute. He is in charge of laboratory accreditation, field certification and continuing education at the institute. He also manages several research projects and has published more than 350 technical papers in his 35-year association with polymers used in below-ground construction. Koerner’s Ph.D. is from Drexel University in geotechnical engineering. He is a registered professional engineer and a certified quality auditor. Koerner has received many awards over the years. The most notable being IFAI’s Environmental Technologies Award of Excellence 1995, ASCE’s DVGI Geotechnical Engineer of the year in 2004, the title of ASTM Fellow in 2013 and GMA’s first Robert M. Koerner Lecture and Award in 2017.


The virtual workshop costs $295.00 for ASCE members, and $395.00 for nonmembers.

For more information or to register, visit

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