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Award of Merit: Industrial Category

Rehabilitation of Concrete Walls in a Salt Production Facility
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Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Submitted by BASF Corporation

Salt Washing Plant

Exportadora de Sal S.A. de C.V.
Baja California Sur, Mexico

Project Engineer/

Ing. Antonio Martínez Dibene
La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Repair Contractor
Solid Art Technologies S de R.L. de C.V.
Baja California Sur, Mexico

Material Supplier/

BASF Mexicana S.A. de C.V.
Mexico, DF

The Salt Washing Plant is located in Guerrero Negro in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico. This plant is the largest salt production facility in the world and generates over 
7 million tons (6.3 million metric tons) of salt per year, exported mainly for Pacific Basin consumption centers.

The plant was built at the end of the 1980s and was designed for a service life of 20 years because of the extreme conditions that make this structure susceptible to chloride attack. The salt is transported from adjacent fields and transferred by a massive piece of equipment known as DART. The DART vehicle transports approximately 360 tons (330 metric tons) of salt in addition to the weight of the equipment (approximately 520 tons [470 metric tons]). The hauling is constant and the DART returns every 5 to 20 minutes in three shifts 365 days per year, with the plant stopping production only 4 hours per day. 

A dynamic loading model was developed by a structural engineer to assess the current condition of the structure assuming the continued operation of the DART transport equipment. Core analyses indicated the existing concrete walls had deteriorated to the point where they were inadequate to support sustained operation.

The client required a solution for the repair of the concrete, which could extend the service life of the structure for another 20 years, maintaining the same service conditions and made without stopping plant production.

The repair strategy involved removal of the deteriorated concrete and reinforcement and mechanical preparation of the sound substrate. New reinforcement was anchored into the substrate and shotcrete containing macrofibers was applied. In addition, buttresses were added at several locations along the wall to provide additional support.

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