Earth Retaining Systems and Slopes

MEA has extensive knowledge and experience in evaluating and designing stable earth slopes; whether from merely determining a stable slope configuration, reinforcing by various means, or implementing a retaining system to satisfy the project needs. MEA engineers also have extensive experience with the remediation of slope stability failures and the knowledge needed to prevent them.

The reasons for maintaining slopes with earth retaining systems are endless. Whether the project requires protection for workers during excavation, prevention of erosion, increased efficiency of a mining method or to permanently retain a soil or rock face, there are many options and conditions that must be considered. Therefore, having a full knowledge and expertise in this area will result in the most cost-effective design.

Design support and evaluation of an earth retaining system often includes in-depth analysis of the material being retained and strict specifications on the fill being placed, as well as the overall stability of the system. Soil can be retained by a number of methods including the use of geosynthetics, soldier piles and lagging, sheet piles, cast in place walls, secant piles, soil or rock anchors, soil nails, and mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls.

For more information on specific projects related to this topic, see the following MEA Technical Bulletins:

UPDATE #39: Using Reinforced Soil for Construction of Retaining Structures and Earth Slopes UPDATE #42: Advantages of Reinforced Earth over other Retainage Systems


  • Analysis of Groundwater Seepage
  • Analysis of Wick Drains and Surcharging
  • Erosion Prevention
  • Geogrids and Geofabrics
  • Ground Movement and Vibrational Dynamic Analysis
  • Hard Rock and Softened Soil Excavations
  • Mining Supplementation (Above and Below Surface)
  • MSE Wall Design, Evaluation and Repair
  • Secant Piles and Cast In Place Walls
  • Soil/Rock Slope Stability Analysis
  • Soil Anchors and Soil Nails
  • Rock Bolts
  • Damage Preventions Analysis

In-House Lab Testing

  • Compaction Tests
  • Soil and Rock Engineering Properties
  • Swell Tests
  • Consolidation Tests

Field Testing

  • Field Survey
  • Test Drilling
  • Extensometer Measurement