St. James Terminal

Project Details:

Owner: Plains All American Pipeline, L.P.
General Contractor: Boh Bros. Construction Co., LLC
Duration of Work: 9 weeks
Subsurface Conditions: Soft clay and silt deposits
Approximate Key Quantities: 22,400 Wick Drains

Project Overview:

St. James Terminal is a storage terminal located in Louisiana between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. This storage terminal expansion project included the construction of a total of four new 325 foot diameter tanks. Due to poor ground conditions at the site, ground improvement was necessary.

Menard installed Prefabricated Vertical Wick Drains to accelerate the consolidation process, strengthen the underlying soft soil, accommodate the heavy tank loads, and minimize future settlement.

With over 1.24 million linear feet of Wick Drain installed, St. James Terminal represents one of Menard’s larger single-phased Wick Drain projects for above ground storage tanks.

Ground Conditions:

The site was underlain by relatively recent soft silt and clay deposits to a depth of approximately 80 feet. The geotechnical engineer determined that the most cost-effective solution to strengthen the underlying soft soils was to use a combination of soil surcharge with Wick Drains.


The final design called for Wick Drains installed on a five foot triangular grid spacing, extending to the stiffer soils that were present at a depth of approximately 80 feet. The upper end of the Wick Drains were extended to horizontal strip drains placed between every other Wick Drain row. The strip drains served to convey the collected water to drains located just beyond the surcharge footprint.

Once the surcharge was removed, the ground was already subjected to stresses that were similar to those from the tank, thus reducing total and differential settlement to acceptable values. The Wick Drain ground improvement solution sped up the consolidation process and ultimately reduced the time required for the surcharge to remain in place.

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