Mr. Trau Kod

Recently, our friend Boc Kron built Mr. Trau Kod (shown above) to protect the reservoir and embankment. It was explained to me that Cambodian people believe there are spirits for all elements such as earth, wind, clouds, etc. and Mr. Trau Kod was built to represent the spirit of the reservoir. This spirit is meant to protect the area and seek revenge on anyone that would harm the reservoir. I think we will still need to implement our inspection and maintenance program after the project is completed but it's comforting to know we have Mr. Trau Kod on our side.


Filling the Breach

This week the site crew began filling the embankment breach. This is the location where the river eroded the existing embankment away and destroyed the old reservoir. As you can see in the photo above, the river is still running through the space so we are filling it with soil and spreading it with the bulldozer to create a solid platform for our heaver equipment to work.

Once this platform is complete we can cut the key into the base and begin filling and compacting the new soil.



l to r: Narith, 'Stella', and Steve Forbes. at this moment, Stella buckles under the pressure.

we spent an afternoon fabricating a 12’ long, 2” diameter split spoon tube out of a pvc pipe cut longitudinally in half, then banded together with steel bands. the split spoon would core a sample of the soil by being probed into the ground using the bucket of the excavator to drive it down. we were uncertain if the pipe would be strong enough to probe through the unknown soil conditions, so we simply just had to take the risk. we invested a lot of sweat equity, and passion, into the creation, and joked that if the pipe were to simply burst into pieces during use, we would cry, “Stella….!!!!”, to express the pain of our loss.
Well, unfortunately, we hit a tough clay layer where Stella started to buckle under pressure. We weren’t able to probe any further than 0.25m when we started to hear a lot of cracking in the pipe. But, the good news is, the clay layer was a good discovery, as we had assumed worst soil conditions during design. We verified the clay layer by using the excavator to dig a ~10’ deep test pit, upon which we discovered a 1m layer of clay at the surface. Stella was demoted to being used as a measuring stick when taking photos of these test pits.


Raw Steel

8 tons of raw steel....and that doesn't include the pickup truck. These #20 (#6 US) rebar was delivered to the site yesterday. we spent over $6k for this purchase alone.

Embankment Excavation

l to r: bryse and bouny

it took about a week and a half to excavate a portion of the main embankment for the proposed watergate location. the excavation is approx. 20m wide, and 3.5m high.
this location was chosen because the soil conditions at the existing breach (not pictured) is unknown, and consolidation and stabilization of that soil would require surcharging over an extended period of time. instead of building the watergate at that breach, a new location was proposed with the assumption that the soil which it is founded on will already be well consolidated over a number of years by the existing embankment.


The Sheepsfoot Roller

Part of our design was to specify the use of a sheepsfoot roller for the soil compaction on the embankment. Narith assured us that it would not be a problem to obtain one here in Siem Reap. However, when we made the deal with the equipment owner they mentioned that their one sheepsfoot roller was already rented but they could provide us with a sheepsfoot tow.

The sheepsfoot tow was definitely inferior to a full sheepsfoot roller and on top of that, the flat drum roller they sent out to pull this thing was older than me and broke down after a week.

Finally, after some tough negotiations, we were able to get a Self-Propelled Tamping Roller and this thing is a beast. You can feel the earth shake when it rolls by. This is a relatively rare piece of equipment so if it breaks down we could be in big trouble but for now it looks like we are in pretty good shape.