Flood protection infrastructure: vinyl sheet piles used as an element of a storm protection system at a marine harbor in Northern Poland

Storm at the Vistula Spit in 2021

A throwback to a project carried out at the Baltic coast in Poland, where our vinyl sheet piles were used in to construct the storm protection infrastructure at a marine harbor in Kąty Rybackie. EcoLock profiles formed cut-off wall which was topped with a retaining wall made of reinforced concrete. Thanks to this investment, carried out by the Marine Authority in Gdynia, the area gained protection against floodings caused by the damming up of water in the Vistula Lagoon. The Pietrucha Group, on the other hand, has added another invaluable experience to its project portfolio.

Violent storms are quite a notorious phenomenon at the Baltic Sea. It is estimated that on the Vistula Spit, approximately 40 days a year the wind is blowing at a storm speed well exceeding 17 meters per second. Storms may be devastating and dangerous, especially when they affect urban areas, however, they are also conductive to a number of positive phenomena. First of all, by bringing the waters from the North Sea, storms help in the water exchange. And with the water comes the life-bringing oxygen. In consequence, they help reverse the detrimental deoxygenation effect of the Baltic Sea.

Man has always settled at the shores of water reservoirs and riverbanks. Water has served as trade routes, provided food, resources and material, gave work. Today, the coastal areas, due to their landscape values, are a popular destination for summer hikes, a place for rest and recreation.

Storms cannot be avoided, but thanks to existing technologies, including environmentally friendly solutions based on vinyl sheet piles, we can effectively protect ourselves against them.

Kąty Rybackie, a small town located at the Baltic Shore, and especially the area of its marina and a fishing harbor, where inter alia, the Vistula Lagoon Museum is located, were exposed to heavy flooding. It was caused by the changing water levels, depending on the direction of the wind. Due to additional unfavorable factors, e.g. waves and ice phenomena, the design of securing this area required the construction of a reinforced retaining wall supported with an anti-filtration barrier in the ground that would be able to resist the most violent atmospheric conditions.

Construction of a retaining wall made of reinorced concrete: visible cut-off wall made of vinyl sheet piles

The designed structure consisted of a retaining wall made of reinforced concrete, accompanied by an over 100-metre anti-filtration barrier which was installed under the foot of the concrete structure. The cut-off wall was made from a 3-metre-long EcoLock vinyl sheet piles type GW 580/11. In order to improve the soil conditions for the foundation of the wall, the existing organic soils on the construction site were partially replaced with embankments made of sandy material which was mechanically compacted using technology and devices ensuring the required effect.


The applied solution effectively protected the area of Kąty Rybackie against flooding from the side of the Vistula Lagoon, as a result of violent storms coming from the North and East direction, which pushed back masses of water from the sea into local rivers.

The Eastern part of the port was protected against the effects of backwater flooding the streets and properties, including the Vistula Lagoon Museum.

Based on the analysis of the LCA analysis conducted at the Łódź University of Technology, due to the use of recycled material for production and lighter weight, vinyl sheet piles burden the environment several times less than traditional technologies. In addition, due to their resistance to external factors, vinyl sheet piles do not corrode. PVC, i.e. the material they are made of, is also safe for drinking water, since it is the same material used for the production of water pipes.

The above factors speak for the use of vinyl sheet piles as a technology worth considering in projects where cut-off walls in the ground are to be constructed. They contribute to the costs optimization and expand the lifespan of hydrotechnical infrastructure, while promoting sustainable development which goes in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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