Video Story: Waterway Restoration after Mining Activities

The waters of the Schurenbach, a stream near Essen, Germany, formerly ran underground from the foot of an old coal slag heap (the Schurenbachhalde). As part of a land and waterway restoration scheme following the decline and decommissioning of mining activities in the area, the stream was moved above ground in a geosynthetic-lined ditch.
HUESKER’s project video details how inadequate bearing capacity and complex geometries along the waterway restoration route made a conventional barrier (e.g., aggregates and compacted clay) unfeasible from technical and cost perspectives.
A geosynthetic lining solution was called for.


The Schurenbachhalde is a unique stop along the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH). The current route passes through 13 countries and includes 1350 stops connected by roughly 80 “anchor” sites. These areas tell the story of Europe’s industrialization in areas such as textiles, mining, iron and steel, war, manufacturing, transportation development, and more. The route also tells the ongoing story of transition away from classic industrialism.
The Schurenbachhalde is a truly unique vestige of the former mining center. The hill is a 50m high coal tailings heap that has been covered and landscaped. At the top is a moment.
As in many other areas of Germany and along the Heritage Route, beautification and environmental restoration have been prominent solutions to transforming these areas when industry declines.
HUESKER provided slope stabilization geosynthetics and a sealing system to line the watercourse and cap coal waste that was used to form a berm.
The geosynthetic solution enabled the reuse of coal wash waste for fill instead of trucking in large volumes of sand and gravel. This provided not only a green solution but one that saved considerable transport costs for the project.
Also of note, the multi-layer geosynthetic system was thinner than a mineral seal would have been. The lining system consisted of:

  • Drainage mat
  • Geomembrane
  • Protection geotextiles
  • Geogrid
  • Gravel
  • Erosion control matting

“This project allowed HUESKER to underline its credentials as a service partner with a clear focus on technical consulting and innovative geosynthetic solutions,” the video narrator notes.
Watch the video to learn more about the design and the materials selected, and to see how the construction works are meeting the waterway restoration goals of Essen—as well as how these solutions are applicable to revitalization schemes everywhere.


Video Story: Waterway Restoration after Mining Activities
Video Story: Waterway Restoration after Mining Activities
For more about HUESKER’s geosynthetics, manufacturing expertise, and engineering services, visit