Sistema de subdrenaje

Reinforced soil retaining walls represent an efficient solution, compared to other alternatives; however, to guarantee its quality during the period of service it is necessary involve an underdrainage system.

Excess water affects the parameters of resistance and durability, which is why we emphasize not underestimating it.

The design of a system that involves the use of geosynthetics for subdrainage such as the geodrain is, without a doubt, a contribution that the civil engineer, Álvaro Gutierrez will introduce you next. Remember that you can also go to the transcript, located below the video. (You are interested in: Solutions to control floods with Geotextiles and Geosynthetics).





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Considerations and recommendations for the subdrainage system in soil mechanically stabilized with geosynthetics

The retaining walls in reinforced soil are the combination of the contribution to the resistance of the soil and the geosynthetic reinforcement. Taking into account that the resistance of the soil is affected by the amount of moisture, it is important to guarantee controlled saturation conditions so as not to affect the stability of the structure.

Sistema de subdrenaje

Hence its importance and the reason why we will address the elements, considerations and recommendations to take into account during the construction process.


  1. Elements of the subdrainage system

The first element to take into account in this system is the backrest.. This is in charge of capturing the sub-surface flow and preventing it from entering the structure. For this purpose it is recommended to use:

  • Geodrain: It is a net covered by two non-woven geotextiles.
  • Chimney drain: It is granular material encapsulated in geotextile.

Sistema de subdrenaje

Recommendation. The constructive difference between the geodrain and the chimney drain lies in the installation. While the geodrain can be placed from the beginning, once the slope is exposed, the chimney drain can be shaped as each layer of the structure is built.


The second element to consider is underdrainage at the base. It is made up of granular material encapsulated by a geotextile and is very important since it guarantees that the water table is below the structure.

Sistema de subdrenaje

Recommendation. Keep in mind to always undock this structure.


The third and last element of the system to consider is the horizontal underdrainage, since it is in charge of capturing water and filtration by rain. For this case you can use both geodrain and pipe wrapped with geotextile.

Sistema de subdrenaje

Recommendation. Consider that this underdrainage has a minimum slope, in this way the water will run off in front of the wall.