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Pioneering drainage research stories now available


May 16, 2016
By Drainage Contractor administrator

May 16, 2016 – The year 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the beginning for the corrugated-wall HDPE plastic drainage pipe manufacturing industry in the United States. Drainage Contractor columnist James Fouss and his colleague Dr. Norman Fausey conducted the pioneering research with promising results that helped the industry get its start in 1965.

Working for the USDA-ARS Soil and Water Conservation Research Division and stationed at the Ohio State University, Fouss and Fausey created a paper on the early research project results, which was presented at the first National Drainage Conference held in December 1965. Many details and challenges encountered in the research had never been documented or published, although some special details and events were reported verbally at some engineering meetings. Early phases of the research involved developing improvements in the plastic-lined mole drainage channel concept, but through field experiments the long-term structural stability of the thin-walled plastic mole liner was found to be poor and therefore not acceptable. When corrugated-wall plastic tubing (originally developed in Germany) became available in the U.S. early in 1965, it was adopted for research and evaluation in the USDA-ARS drainage materials phase of the project. The activities and events of the overall research project were written in three main subprojects that made up the comprehensive research project. The three subprojects were written in separate stories, as follows: 

  • ARS Story on the R&D for the American version of Corrugated-Wall Plastic Drainage Tubing and Plow- In Method of Installation; 
  • Story behind the Story about the ARS Coop R&D Project for Laser-Beam Grade-Control on a Draintube Plow; and,
  • Story behind the Story on the Development of the ARS “Big Red” Draintube Plow with Laserplane Automatic Grade-Control System

These three stories and supporting documents are now available in PDF format and can be viewed and/or downloaded from the Transforming Drainage project website. Original printed copies of the research stories and many of the supporting publications and reports were provided as historical reference documents on the pioneering drainage research developments for the Drainage Research History Section of the International Drainage Hall of Fame, housed in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Ohio State University. 

“It is hoped that the stories may provide some ideas and hints to future drainage researchers with pioneering ideas on ways to overcome barriers to research progress, including limited project funding and skepticism by research administrators, in their own revolutionary research and development drainage projects to further improve drainage technology in the years ahead,” says Fouss. Watch for more information from Fouss in the November issue of Drainage Contractor magazine. 

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