When designing a pond or lagoon, preventing leaks is a major concern. However, determining the best geomembrane liner for your project can be an extremely daunting task. You have to decide between reinforced and unreinforced geomembranes, which material and thickness is best, and between a myriad of other physical properties that could play a part in the success of your project. As a result, people oftentimes choose a natural clay liner because it is the less complicated choice.
Typically there are two types of geomembranes: flexible membrane liners and rigid geomembranes. With flexible geomembrane liners, large panels can be prefabricated in a factory prior to being delivered to a job site. Rigid membranes, on the other hand, need to be shipped to job sites before their geomembrane seams are joined together. So what difference does it make?
Containing fuel spills and chemical discharges is mandated by parts of the Clean Water Act—specifically the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulation.
The state of California recently announced a massive infrastructure spending plan. This is likely to be the start of a national trend as politicians on both sides of the aisle recognize critical infrastructure improvements are needed from coast to coast.
Increasingly, geomembranes have helped make infrastructure projects more durable and cost-effective. Geomembranes have been used in a variety of applications for decades, but within the last 20 years they have become important elements to transportation infrastructure projects.
Recent studies have demonstrated heavy metals and other toxins seep from unlined ponds into groundwater, causing environmental damage and posing health risks. Now, dozens of companies in industries like power generation involving coal ash are scrambling to quickly and effectively place geomembrane liners in their ponds to protect groundwater.
Performing regular geomembrane inspections (where applicable) is critical and necessary for a successful long-term installation. Ongoing inspections can minimize field repairs and also prevent premature failure.
Many times, geomembrane leaks are caused by weather events or result from damage inflicted by personnel or equipment. As a result, the type of environment should be taken into consideration when deciding how frequently inspections occur. Some higher-risk locations that require more-frequent inspections include those that have surrounding trees and plenty of foot or vehicular traffic on the liner, subject to high winds, hurricanes or hail storms.
Once you’ve determined how at risk your geomembrane installation is based on environment, you should put an inspection and maintenance plan in writing. These are the steps you should follow to create an effective inspection and maintenance plan that will increase the service life of your geomembrane installation.
There are many misconceptions across the geomembrane industry about what constitutes an optimally manufactured geomembrane. One of the most prominent relates to their required thickness, which often leads to a common topic of deliberation among geomembrane experts and engineers: “Is a thicker membrane actually better?”
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is defined as the cultivation of aquatic plants and animals in a variety of water environments. As the need for higher volumes of protein continues to increase, so too does the need for aquaculture ponds. For farmers there is another layer of complexity to consider; how to ensure that the plants and animals being harvested are healthy and disease free. This is where geomembranes can offer benefits to the aquaculture industry.
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you are specifying a geomembrane. There are numerous factors one must consider in order to choose the best fit for your application, however lifetime cost is often overlooked. In reality, a geomembrane with a low initial cost might cost you just as much, if not more than, a geomembrane that costs more upfront. Before signing the check, you should uncover the real cost of your geomembrane by looking at usual costs incurred over the lifespan of the product.