Wick drains, also known as Prefabricated Vertical Drains (PVD), are installed to provide drainage paths for pore water in soft compressible soil.
- Accelerate drainage during surcharge programs
- Consolidate tailing ponds and leach pads
The wick drain material is a prefabricated geotextile filter-wrapped plastic strips with molded channels. The drain is fed down through a hollow mandrel mounted on an excavator or crane mast. At the bottom of the mandrel, the wicks are connected to an expendable anchor plate. A vibratory hammer or static method is used to insert the mandrel to design depth. The mandrel is then removed, leaving the wick drain in place. The wick drain is then cut at the ground surface, a new anchor plate is connected to it, and the mandrel is moved to the next location. A pattern of installed vertical wick drains provides short drainage paths for pore water, which accelerates the consolidation process and the construction schedule.