S&B recently won two supply contracts in the United States, bringing considerable perspective for further penetration of its products into a market with signs of effective recovery from the global financial crisis.
The contracts entail the procurement of bentonite and technical know-how for the repair of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee, Florida. It is the second largest freshwater lake in the United States, covering the water supply needs of 6 million people and the irrigation needs of an agricultural industry worth 1.5 billion dollars.
The lake is surrounded by the 140-miles long Herbert Hoover Dike built in the early 20th century in order to provide flood protection. Embankments of the dike were constructed during the 1930s with the use of deposits of limestone, gravel and sand, which allow water seepage and, accordingly, under normal circumstances, present small-scale leaks. Yet, when the lake level rises, these leaks grow larger because of the pressure, causing erosion. Lately, and especially during the hurricane season, excessive seepage caused concern, so that the dike was included in the list of the 6 dikes requiring most urgent repair.
The contracts acquired by S&B refer to the first two rehabilitation segments, namely the strengthening of embankments with inner walls of concrete. This construction entails special techniques for foundation, involving the use of bentonite to ensure stability and sealing, since bentonite is well-known as an excellent sealant. In addition, the rehabilitation work requires hi-tech equipment and know-how, and both will be provided by S&B onsite.
This project marks S&B’s entry to the market of large-scale public construction works, achieved thanks to the business moves made by the company during the last few years in the United States.