Coushatta, LA: Oxbow Mine Dewatering Cell #6

Coushatta, LA: Oxbow Mine Dewatering Cell #6

Project Description

industries mining coushatta laSignificant Project Features:

  • Soil Bentonite Slurry Wall
  • 8,500 Linear Feet.  576,000 Square Feet.   Maximum of 82-feet deep
  • Target Average Permeability of 1 x 10-7 cm/s


The Oxbow Mine is a surface lignite coal mine just west of the town of Coushatta, Louisiana. The Oxbow mine yields approximately 550,000 tons of lignite coal each year and, along with the neighboring Dolet Hills mine, has been the sole provider of fuel for the 650 mega-watt Dolet Hills Power Station since 1985.

Project Objectives:

Following successful completion of the Cell #5 Slurry Wall, Geo-Solutions was contracted by the American Electric Power Service Corporation (AEP) Dolet Hills Lignite Company to install the Cell #6 Slurry Wall to provide subsurface groundwater control and facilitate surface mining in Cell #6 of the Oxbow Mine.


Description of Work:

The Cell #6 slurry wall included the installation of 576,000 vertical square feet (vsf) of soil/bentonite (SB) slurry wall.  The wall was installed to a maximum depth of 82 feet below ground surface (fbgs), keying a minimum of 10-feet into the local Wilcox Group soil formation.


Excavation was accomplished under bentonite slurry using a Komatsu PC1250 excavator and Geo-Solutions’ long-reach boom and stick attachment. Bentonite slurry for trenching was produced on site in Geo-Solutions’ custom-made batch plant and pumped to the trench.   The SB wall was 8,500 feet in length and tied into the existing Cell #5 slurry wall.

industries mining coushatta la

Trench spoils were blended with bentonite slurry as well as additional dry bentonite placed alongside the trench to create a controlled backfill mix. The target permeability for the SB wall was an average of 1 x 10-7.   Target permeability was attained in all samples with an overall average permeability of 1.16 x 10-8.

Geo-Solutions served as the prime contractor for the project.  The scope of work for the project also included:

  • Site clearing/grubbing and disposal of debris
  • Working platform preparation
  • Stripping, relocation and stockpiling of existing topsoil
  • Temporary erosion and sediment control
  • Permanent surface-water runoff control including a levee and drainage ditch system
  • Water retention pond with Spillway/Emergency Spillway structures
  • Site Restoration/preparation for mining

Geo-Solutions’ commitment to safety was demonstrated on this project as it was completed with no incidents, accidents or near misses under active supervision by MSHA, OSHA and the Mine’s safety department.  Additionally, the Mine, including our project, was undergoing an active MSHA audit during completion.  There were no MSHA findings associated with the slurry wall installation operation.

Because the surface mining operations depended on the completion of our work, schedule was a major focus.  A major rain event caused extensive flooding during the project, despite an extended shutdown, the project was ultimately completed on schedule.

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