Event archive

Event Organiser: The British Geotechnical Association

Water and Tunnelling - Lessons from 40 years, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 19 February 2019
  • 18:00 - 20:00
Water and Tunnelling - Lessons from 40 years, London

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David Hartwell was awarded the 13th Skempton medal by the BGA in 2018. In this lecture he will share his experience of ‘Water and Tunnelling - Lessons from 40 years of Interesting Problems’.

The talk will highlight David’s experience in finding solutions to problems with groundwater associated with shafts and tunnels over the last 40 years. Along the way lessons were learnt, many of which do not appear in groundwater or soil mechanics text books.

Two major projects will be highlighted: the Storebaelt tunnels in Denmark including pressure relief for the cross passages and the MOSES offshore dewatering scheme. The second major project was the recovery of the flooded Docklands Light Rail tunnel under the river Thames; freezing was considered but the scheme adopted included wells in the river and horizontal wells drilled from within the tunnel.

The Skempton Medal

The Skempton Medal is awarded by the BGA to commemorate the life and work of Professor Sir Alec Skempton of Imperial College London, who was a key figure in the development of the science and practice of soil mechanics.

The BGA criteria state:

The Skempton Medal is awarded to a BGA member who has made an outstanding contribution to the practice of geotechnical engineering over a sustained period of time. The individual will not normally have received other comparable recognition in this country. The individual’s work should be closely associated with, though not necessarily carried out in, the United Kingdom. It is expected that not more than four awards would normally be made per decade.

The Skempton Medal citation for David Hartwell can be read here.

Please join us afterwards in the ICE Café Bar for drinks sponsored by COWI.


David Hartwell

2018 Skempton Medal winner

david hartwell

David is recognised world-wide as a leading authority on groundwater and tunnelling and the interaction between the two. He has over forty years of experience investigating and developing practical solutions to groundwater related geotechnical issues for tunnels, heavy civil engineering and mining projects.

He has been extensively involved in developing state of the art solutions to major groundwater problems including the undersea Storebælt tunnels in Denmark, the recovery of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) tunnels under the River Thames in London and collapsed Metro tunnels in Cairo. He has served on several review panels as a Groundwater Expert for international tunnel and excavation projects and litigation cases involving serious groundwater problems.

He has more than 20 published papers and has given invited lectures including at the launch of the publication Groundwater control: design and practice, 2nd edition (CIRIA C750).

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Shelly-Ann Russell

e: [email protected]