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Lightweight backfill

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IN RESPONSE TO:
Greg Leyh <lod(--nospam--at)pacbell.net>

I am looking for a lightweight alternative to 'pea gravel'
for backfilling to a treated wood retaining wall.  I have
searched the SEAOC archives, but didn't find anything.

I have heard of styrofoam pellets being used as backfill,
and was wondering how they might weather, or if there would
be any other adverse consequences (like raccoons eating them).

Do you mean "billets" of expanded polystyrene?  I used to have literature on
EPS blocks that were used as fill.  I remember one example where they were
used to fill a gully over soils that could not support usual fill to support
a road bed.  My vague recollection is that these blocks of EPS were about 4'
x 8' x 16'.  You could contact The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.,
Expanded Polystyrene Division at 202-371-5200 if you want to follow up.

Roger Davis
Architect
SDS Architects, Inc.