Pilot project battles erosion problem on Harrison County beach

Giant rolls of black filter fabric along with a light-colored mat filled with concrete will be combined for one purpose; to protect the beach drainage structure from future damage. (Photo source: WLOX)
Giant rolls of black filter fabric along with a light-colored mat filled with concrete will be combined for one purpose; to protect the beach drainage structure from future damage. (Photo source: WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's an almost constant threat to Harrison County's 26 miles of sand beach: erosion. Various approaches have been used to try and prevent the damage caused by erosion.

The latest project involves drain pipes along the beach. A Tampa, FL, company has created a construction zone on the beach across from the Coast Coliseum.

Giant rolls of black filter fabric along with a light-colored mat filled with concrete will be combined for one purpose; to protect the beach drainage structure from future damage.

"Trying to reduce some of the erosion on some of the drainage pipes. What we're doing is putting this concrete mat material on the existing pipes all the way out to the water line," said Chuck Loftis, Harrison County Sand Beach Director.

The filter fabric is first laid across the pipe as a protective layer. Then comes the fabri-form concrete mats.

"It's a fiberglass type material bag, and then they come back and pump in the concrete material," Loftis explained.

Workers do a little fancy footwork to ensure the concrete is spread evenly through the tough fabric matting.

This is a pilot project, funded with CIAP grant money. A spokesman with the company installing the erosion control system is confident it will work with this beach application.

"It works great. It's economical. It lasts. I've put some in 30 years ago, and it's still intact," said Hertz Rotenstein.

While this may be new to the sand beach, this product and process has been used successfully in erosion control projects around the country.

"We do a lot of DOT work in the Southeast, and they use it for their drainage structures and bridge applications underneath the bridges," said Rotenstein.

Along with the project in front of the coliseum, a similar system will be installed around the drainage pipe at the foot of Eisenhower Drive.

Loftis says if the project works well and if he can secure more grant money, the erosion control system will be expanded to other areas along the beach in Harrison County.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.