26550 Acheson Rd, Acheson, AB, T7X 6B2


Soil Stabilization and Erosion Control

Tough Cell® geocells for effective soil stabilization applications
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Soil Stabilization with the Tough Cell® Geocell Confinement System

Tough Cell® geocells are an effective solution for soil stabilization and erosion control for applications such as slopes and embankments. These flexible, honeycomb-like cells are installed on the ground and filled with soil to provide structural support and prevent erosion. The cells form a strong, flexible matrix that can withstand heavy loads and prevent soil movement.

One advantage of using an NPA geocell such as Tough Cell® over an HDPE-based geocell is that the novel polymeric alloy material is stronger and more stable in extreme conditions, providing better performance in challenging soil conditions. This allows for a wider range of applications and more effective soil stabilization.

In slope and embankment applications, Tough Cell® can reinforce the soil and prevent it from sliding or collapsing. The cells provide a stable foundation for vegetation to grow, helping to further stabilize the slope, prevent erosion, and allow for successful soil remediation.



  • TOUGH CELL® – cellular confinement system or geocell for soil stabilization and reinforcement
  • STRATUM LOGICS – engineering partner focused on creating custom solutions



  • Tough Cell®
  • Paradox Services
  • Stratum Logics

Project Profile

Grierson Hill Slope Stabilization

Since 1978, the city has undertaken an ambitious project to build a light rail system to improve public transit in the Edmonton Metropolitan area. One of the newest additions to the transit system was to be built next to a steeply graded slope, which required structural support to stabilize it.

Grierson Hill was a notorious hill in the Edmonton region. It measured in at a whopping 666m/2 185ft a.s.l. This was a mammoth project, and the right team was needed to defeat it. The Grierson Hill slope above the LRT track comprised two portions. The first portion was the slope, composed of a soil/clay mixture stabilized using soil nails. The second portion consisted of a 100% embankment with no supporting materials other than the natural slope.

Because the slope is at such an angle, stabilizing the terrain while simultaneously maintaining the native vegetation would be a complex task. Paradox stabilized the slope with Tough Cell®, which would hold topsoil in place long enough for vegetation to take root, allowing the dirt to become stable through vegetation.

Paradox Supervisor giving instruction for Tough Cell® installation

The Challenge

Vegetation growth on that slope was challenging, especially because it was extremely steep. The bank needed stability, or the vegetation wouldn’t hold it together.

Grierson Hill has long presented a challenge in Edmonton due to its persistent tendency to slide towards the river. To mitigate this, there was a need for structures atop the bank, which required soil nailing.  Soil nailing is a ground stabilization technique that can be used on either natural or excavated slopes. It involves drilling holes for steel bars to be inserted into a slope face, which are then grouted in place. Mesh is subsequently attached to the bar ends to hold the slope face in position. While this method is typically effective, it proved insufficient for addressing the unique conditions of Grierson Hill.

The Solution

The key to making the slope’s bank sustainable was to create a surface that would support native vegetation while increasing the slope’s stability. This was executed by using soil nails to hold the deeper structure of the bank together, followed by Tough Cell® to provide cellular confinement to hold the topsoil in place. The Tough Cell® layer was then hydro-seeded (the spreading of grass seeds). This created the optimal environment for seeds to root and create a better surface-holding arrangement as they mature. 

The Paradox Difference

Paradox embarked on this project knowing that it required an innovative solution as durable and long-lasting as the Alberta terrain itself. We knew this endeavor would be a challenge—but having undertaken it, it was totally worth it.

Tough Cell® geocells were used to create a solution that could withstand the slope’s harsh conditions. Having previously used HDPE geocells for slopes that weren’t as challenging, our collaborators identified that something different was required. HDPE geocells would stretch, move, and entirely change their shape as weight was added. However, Tough Cells® are static (the material withstands stretching). They were built to provide long-term confinement that requires less maintenance and increases the longevity of projects.

Tough Cell® geocells maximize soil confinement and drainage while preventing runoff by distributing load evenly throughout the material. Because they’re so stable, Tough Cell® can be used in various projects, like Grierson Hill, where long-term stability was needed.

Their proprietary technology ensures equal load distribution and reinforces the infill material of low-strength and easily-sourced aggregates such as sand, local soils or recycled materials. Tough Cell® geocells are fabricated from a new Novel Polymeric Alloy; developed explicitly for geocells that have been found superior to any other geocell or cellular confinement product. This is why we knew that no other product would work and why Tough Cell® has been trusted by Paradox for years.

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