Leakage Control using Geomembrane Liners

J.P. Giroud

Victor de Mello Lecture

Soils and Rocks, São Paulo, 39(3): 213-235, September-December, 2016 | PDF


Geomembrane liners are used in all types of containment structures. Evaluating the performance of a geomembrane liner is a challenge. While zero leakage into the ground is a legitimate goal if the leaking liquid may pollute the ground and the ground water, or if the soil integrity can be impaired, zero is unrealistic and impossible to measure. Furthermore, zero leakage is not an appropriate goal in some applications such as geomembrane-lined dams. In this paper, it is shown that the difference between acceptable and unacceptable leakage should result from a rational analysis of the potentially detrimental consequences of leakage. Also, it is shown that the specified leakage must be achievable and measurable. Therefore, emphasis is placed on the quantitative evaluation of leakage. Practical guidance is provided for leakage reduction at construction stage and design stage; and typical leakage rates are mentioned. Potential failures associated with leakage control measures are described. Case histories illustrate both failures in case of misuse of geomembranes and the durability of geomembranes. This paper is intended to contribute to the appropriate design and the safety of geomembrane-lined structures.

Invited Lecture, no discussions.