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The project of the 1200 MW Rio Escondido Thermoelectric Plant, now under construction in northern Mexico, includes a 300-hectare (750-acre) cooling pond. The entire reservoir will be created by building a circumferential embankment and developing the total storage requirement above the natural ground level. The makeup water will be obtained at a high cost from the Rio Grande by means of a 30-km-long aqueduct with a maximum capacity of 2.5 m3/s. Severe restrictions were put on the allowable seepage.
This paper describes the geotechnical investigations performed for evaluation of the subsoil permeability and the final solution adopted: a clay liner compacted according to a nonstandard procedure. The results obtained in the laboratory and in a full-scale test pond (50 by 50 m) are also presented. During this study the limitations of some accepted tests were put in evidence, and some new techniques were developed.
cooling pond, impervious linings, seepage, permeability, field tests, laboratory tests, compaction, clay structure, groundwater
Research professorConsultant, Instituto de Ingeniería, National University of Mexico, Ciudad UniversitariaComisión Federal de Electricidad,
Head, Soil Mechanics Laboratory, P. T. Rio Escondido, Comisión Federal de Electricidad,