SPECIAL SESSION: Panel Discussion – How to Write a Good Geomembrane Spec
Organized by: FGI
Tuesday, Feb. 7th 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Join Panelists: Edward Silva, Ray Peebles, Neil Nowak, and Patrick Elliott with Moderator Timothy Stark leading this discussion on the importance of writing a good geomembrane specification and not using an old specification that may or may not be for the type of geomembrane intended for the current project. In particular, the panelists will discuss the most important parameters of a geomembrane specification for a particular application, such as functionality, longevity, and constructability.
Some of the important parameters to consider when preparing a specification may include: chemical resistance, ability to accommodate differential settlement, dimensional stability to control wrinkles, ability to factory fabricate large panels to reduce field time and exposure, and seam strengths but properties should be keyed to the application of the geomembrane. For example, if there are concerns about subgrade compaction, specifying a material with higher multiaxial elongation properties may be desirable.
It is also important that engineers understand that most material types can have very different properties, and it is important that designers select an appropriate geomembrane to meet project requirements. This will help avoid confusion or blended specifications. Finally, the importance of specifying relevant and consistent properties, e.g., long-term durability in terms of plasticizer retention instead of OIT values for a PVC geomembrane. Afterward, the panelists will answer your questions about writing a good geomembrane specification.
In an environmentally safe, less costly, and efficient manner, the disposal and recycling of millions of gallons of production water (brine water) and flowback water generated from the oil and gas industry annually continue to be challenging. While new technologies are on the horizon, there remains a long road ahead to their implementation.
In his article in Geosynthetic News, Neil Nowak writes in detail about three sites in Wyoming, Utah, and Texas that are evaporating or recycling water in geomembrane-lined ponds. Nowak’s article demonstrates the successful use of black high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners to increase evaporation over clay or unlined ponds and using a white liner to reduce evaporation relative to a black liner.
Each project has been operational for several years; they continue to expand under their permits. Nowak takes us through a combination of favorable factors to the evaporative process, including the natural characteristics of each sites’ climate and the business and environmental goals.
The projects are interesting in that each facility provides oil and gas production companies in the area with a large commercial alternative to production water and flowback disposal versus numerous small ponds or disposal via injection wells.
About the Author: over 30 years of experience in the consulting engineering industry, including civil, solid waste, produced water impoundments, stormwater engineering, and construction projects.
Mr. Nowak has managed environmental compliance, evaporation pond design and permitting, and construction quality assurance activities across the Southwest. As a land-use planner and Environmental Engineer, he explains how various environmental technologies work under specific conditions to companies and the public. Often he is called to public comment meetings and county commissioner meetings, where he prepares and presents project details for review and approval. He works closely with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies to ensure that the engineering and construction of sites comply with all current applicable requirements.