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01/06/2011 - geosynthetics

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A Primer and Guide for HDPE Geomembrane Liners in Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Lagoons -- Avoiding Whales By Ian D. Peggs

A common "whale" failure in a WWTP liner. These failures are preventable with proper design and installation understanding. There continue to be many (w hale) failures of geomembrane liners in w aste w ater treatment plant lagoons and farm manure ponds. These failures are generally due to leakage through the liner, the inability to remove leakage, the generation of methane, and the subsequent inability to vent the methane. Therefore, w hen using high-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane liners, carefully consider the follow ing points during the design and installation of these lining systems: 1. Assume that the geomembrane liner will leak a little. It may not, but it probably w ill. 2. Identify an acceptable leakage flow rate. This is the Action Leakage Rate (ALR) above w hich the responsible holes must be found and repaired. 3. There are two frequently specified ALRs -- 20 gpad for landfills under a 1 ft head, and 500 gpad for municipal WWTP w ith 6 ft head. 4. Zero leakage is not an option. It might be achieved but it should not be relied upon. 5. Whatever ALR is assumed there should be a leak drainage, collection, and removal system under the geomembrane to handle this leak flow rate. 6. Leaked liquid must be continuously removed to minimize the generation of methane. 7. The floor of the lagoon should be sloped to a sump. It should not be flat. 8. A sloped geocomposite LDS under the liner is desirable for rapid reporting of a leak anywhere in the liner and for allowing gas venting upslope to air vents. 9. A network of geocomposite strips under seams may w ork but has often been seen not to w ork. 10. A light geotextile w ill not function as leak drainage and gas venting system. 11. If concrete embedment strips are used for sealing liner to concrete structures ensure the strip is well-embedded in concrete -- no voids underneath, and no gaps or concrete betw een strip butt joints or beveled corners. 12. Embedment strips and batten strips should be in same plane as liner, not perpendicular w ith only a short distance between corner and seal. 13. Ensure grinding in preparation for welding is continuous along strip surface. 14. W hen w elding, allow for larger heat sink in strip than in geomembrane. 15. Batten strip seals must have gasket between geomembrane and concrete. 16. Batten strip bolts should not be cranked tight -- the objective is to compress the gasket no more than its compressive yield strain.


01/06/2011 - geosynthetics
17. Ensure subgrade is well compacted at edge of concrete, and that concrete corner is rounded. 18. Use geotextile cushion betw een geomembrane and concrete. 19. Try to avoid underw ater seals. 20. Liner should be fully supported when filled. This may need some slack in liner betw een fixed points if installation is done at higher temperatures. If installation is done at low er temperatures no slack need be built in. 21. Amount of slackness depends on material coefficient of thermal expansion and temperature difference expected 22. The only temperature of interest is the geomembrane temperature. 23. Liner under aerators should be ballasted (concrete slab) to prevent uplift and to provide support for aerator at low w ater levels. 24. Seriously consider a geoelectric liner integrity/leak location survey w hen the liner has been completed. AN ADDITION, COURTESY OF GLENN DARLIEK of LEAK LOCATION SERVICES INC. 25. Don't plan on puncturing the whales to get rid of them. Special thanks to Glenn for the contribution! You are right. Mark Smith (formerly of Vector) also added an entertaining note on Geosynthetica's Facebook page which many of us have heard (and perhaps witnessed the aftermath of): "The most interesting advise I was ever given on w hales came from an old timer at a WW TP perhaps 25 years ago. When I asked what he did to get rid of them, he smiled and patted the shotgun hanging in the rack of his pickup truck."

The primary objectives are to minimize leakage, remove leaked liquids, and vent gases. Ian Peggs is the president of I-CORP INTERNATIONAL, Inc. He can be reached at is a fr ee technical infor mation r esour ce for all geosynthetics user s and industr y member s. Technical infor mation is available r egar ding geomembr anes, w oven & nonw oven geotex tiles, geogr ids, geosynthetic clay liner s (gcls), geocomposites, geocells, geotex tile tubes, geonets, geofoam and all other for ms of geosynthetics. As w ell, the site cover s many differ ent applications including envir onmental & hazar dous w aste containment, landfill, mining, agr icultur e, aquacultur e, constr uction, tr anspor ta tion, r ecr eation, er osion contr ol, r einfor cement, bar r ier s, dr ainage and filtr ation. Please use the navigation bar above to sear ch for standar ds, specifications, technical guidance tools, calendar of events, industr y r esour ces, dir ector y, new s, employment oppor tunities, r esin pr icing and much mor e!

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