The Bizarre Paths of Groundwater Around Structures

Some surprising concerns for engineers who design subsurface structures…

Next time you see a dam, preserving wall, caisson, or any other subsurface manufacturing, there is a good chance that engineers have had to consider how groundwater will affect the steadiness. Although you would never know they are there, some concoction of drains and cutoffs were most likely installed to keep the structure (and the residents around it) safe and sound.

Practical Engineering is a YouTube channel about infrastructure and the human-made world around us. It is hosted, written, and produced by Grady Hillhouse. If you enjoyed the video, hit that ‘like’ button, give us a comment, or watch another of our videos!

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This is not engineering advice. Everything here is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contact an engineer licensed to practice in your area if you need professional advice or services. All non-licensed clips used for fair use commentary, criticism, and educational purposes.

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  1. Practical Engineering

    🥑 Give HelloFresh a try and see if you like it as much as we do here:!
    📖 Did you know I wrote a book?! It comes out in September. You can preorder now for early access and other cool stuff:
    🐦 I posted a little behind-the-scenes discussion about this video on Twitter:

    • Thomas Mackerley

      Hey, why use permanent marker on your demos? Get dry erase and you can draw all you like 🤷‍♂️

    • I love invisible solutions! Defying expectations! And what do you know? I’ll be the first to say it, this is not the most mind blowing revelation. You could have probably predicted it without the fancy model. It can create a positive feedback loop where failure progresses rapidly!

    • Does your new book ship to Australia?

    • Electric Rune Games

      I love Hello Fresh, too; been doing it for about three months, and I think there was maybe one thing in all that time that I didn’t love. And it was OK.

    • Colton Richardson

      I would love to see a video on the teton dam flood in idaho on June 5th 1976. It affected my family greatly and it would be fun to get some explanation on why it failed

  2. I love how your videos are becoming like Wikipedia articles constantly linking to yourself. Gradypedia

  3. You and the undecided fella are top notch. Wish u could do a colab

  4. Hmm the soil looks tasty …

  5. Hi Grady
    I enjoyed the Hello Fresh advo. Congrats on your new family member, probably already joined the world as I’m getting to this video
    My next apartment neighbor moved away ( no idea where) but failed to register a change of address for his Hello Fresh subscription. For three months I was the beneficiary of this error and I’m so glad he forgot. A bachelor – I was able to get as many as six meals from each month ( if a guest was unavailable). I enjoyed the meals a lot and found that I also enjoy cooking. I may spring for my own subscription
    Huh? Wha… Oh yeah … Um the thing on ground water was good too. Just kidding keep up the good work

  6. Congratulations on little engineer #2!

  7. Dominic Walker

    You are the Bob Ross of Engineering videos – great video!

  8. Groundwater was the issue constructing the latest subway line in Cologne/Germany resulting in the collapse of the city archive building (and some other buildings) in 2009 leaving two men dead and a damage of several hundreds of millions Euro. … Groundwater not from Rhine river but flowing to the Rhine river.

  9. Here in California we’ve used up most of the ground water by sinking tens of thousands of wells. As a result, we’ve significantly reduced the risk for earthquakes. As you know, the vast majority of earthquakes are caused by ground water erosion.

  10. Your zig-zagging is excellent, sir!

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