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November 28, 2007 9:12 AM CST

Saint Louis Retaining Wall Co.’s Green Wall Research


St. Louis Retaining Wall Co. is partnering with AmerenUE, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and Charah, Inc. to revolutionize the landscaped retaining wall industry. The partners are testing the use of bottom ash, a byproduct of burning coal to generate electricity, as part of the growing medium for green (living) wall systems.

Saint Louis Retaining Wall has developed and patented EcoWorks, a green wall system similar in intent and results to the green roofs currently being used for many Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified projects around the country.

Green retaining wall systems are being evaluated at SIUE, a leader in research and testing for green roof technologies through the Green Roof Environmental Evaluation Network. Once the research is completed, Saint Louis Retaining Wall Co.'s EcoWorks retaining wall systems will put St. Louis at the front of the green construction movement, as the new "high impact green" materials will become the preferred alternative available for both commercial and residential projects all over the United States.

Bottom ash is not considered as hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency, which Ameren recycles for various construction and manufacturing applications, including blasting grit and structural fill; synthetic roofing shingles, lumber and bricks; concrete and cement production; and snow and ice control through Ameren Energy Fuels and Services - Ameren Corp.'s non-regulated fuels company.

Saint Louis Retaining Wall anticipates the quantified test data from SIUE will be a positive for the future of sustainable retaining wall design for the national green movement and regulatory agencies. Interest in the product line is growing rapidly and Saint Louis Retaining Wall has been getting calls daily from around the country from architects, landscape architects, engineers and responsible developers who have high interest in the upcoming results from the study.

Ameren and Charah, Inc. are also watching the research with anticipation. Positive results will mean that fly and bottom ash will be more readily approved by state regulators for use in public works projects like highway construction. The research results will give the companies one more piece of data that says bottom and fly ash should be allowed for use in a broader range of materials and projects.

For more information, visit

About the Author

St. Louis Retaining Wall Company is the inventor of the Hercules Modular Block Retaining Wall System. Learn more at


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