Environmental Regulations Bring Containment to the Forefront

Bill Shehane on Apr 27, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Pond LinerRecent 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. 

Power Plant Challenges

Unlined ponds pose a particularly timely  problem for utilities that own coal-burning power plants. Legislation is being proposed that would further tighten regulations and reduce options for coal ash disposal.

Many owners of these ponds must now either remove the dangerous materials or line them to protect groundwater, while avoiding regulatory penalties and potential legal liabilities.

Consider Long-Term Costs

When preparing a spec for a geomembrane lining job, engineers have a lot to consider. Since geomembrane lining was previously an unnecessary expense, cost is typically the chief concern, but the cheapest solution can quickly become very costly if the geomembrane fails, breaks down, or needs replaced after a short lifespan.

To mitigate risk, lining or relining ponds quickly, reliably and effectively is paramount. It’s also important to consider durability and longevity. Liners are susceptible to damage wear and tear, so they are part of a regular maintenance plan for all facilities.

A liner that fails to do its job can also fail to protect the owner of the pond from legal liabilities and regulatory penalties.

Go with Strength

Most geomembranes are made as an unsupported film. Most unsupported films for pond liners are 60 mils thick, meeting minimum requirements and the material is the least expensive. Alternatives, however, offer the necessary strength required as well as other advantages. The reinforced XR® Geomembrane is stronger, thinner, and more flexible. As a prefabricated product, XR Geomembranes are also easier and faster to install. Their unique composition gives them high resistance to all types of chemicals and the UV rays that break down other liners. This makes them  ideal for long-term applications, especially pond liners, which primarily have exposed side slopes.

The High Cost of Failure

Uncontained runoff and seeping from industrial ponds can lead to devastating costs. The cost of coal ash alone has reached well into the billions, with many utilities being forced to pay for environmental damages and potable water. The damage has spurred legislation that continues to become more stringent. Finding the best geomembrane liner is great insurance against future liabilities and needs.

Learn More

Learn about how different geomembranes work and read our case studies, or contact us today to talk about your specific project.

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