The Menard Vacuum Consolidation method is an atmospheric consolidation system used for preloading soft saturated fine-grained soils (Clay, Silt and Peat). The procedure consists of installing a vertical and horizontal draining and vacuum pumping system under an airtight impervious membrane. The area is sealed by scaling the membrane into a network of peripheral trenches. These trenches are continuously recharged and filled with water to maintain full saturation of the soils and to avoid a general lowering of the ground water table within the treatment area.

The Menard Vacuum Consolidation method has been successfully applied since the late 80’s to various types of structures and applications (power plants, sewage treatment plants, highway embankments, airport runways).


  • Significant time savings over other classical consolidation methods with Surcharge and Vertical Drains.
  • Elimination or reduction of importing and transporting large quantities of surcharge fill material.
  • Elimination of the risk of slope failure during the placement of the surcharge embankment.
  • Isotropic consolidation allows the subsequent phases of construction to proceed quickly, without any requirement to observe a surcharge consolidation period to occur and to gain enough shear strength to proceed with construction of the embankment structure.