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Recap of GRI-22 Conference in Salt Lake City

June 1st, 2009 / By: / Updates

The 22nd GRI Conference took place on Feb. 27, 2009, during the last day of a very successful Geosynthetics-2009 Conference and Trade Show.

GRI-22 was also successful and had 18 papers on the theme “Its All in the Details” (geosynthetic details are critical to any long-term system’s performance). Since the theme covered all possible geosynthetic topic areas, a distinct separation of papers by category was not possible. That said, some commentary on each paper follows:

Paul O’Malley of Propex (speaking for Scott Manning) presented proper installation of turf reinforcement mats to prevent soil erosion. Jim Olsta of CETCO described his company’s manufacturing of GCLs, avoiding needle fragments from occurring in the final product. Ian Peggs of I-Corp described several instances of cracks or holes in field-placed geomembranes and how to avoid them in the future. Ron Belanger of Precision Labs described details of testing textured geomembranes, namely core thickness and asperity height, and how to statistically interpret the testing results. Boyd Ramsey of GSE followed by presenting results from a new “optical scanning profilometer” showing the detailed surface of textured geomembranes with a video describing the process. GSE is currently correlating the output to conventional direct shear testing. (A translation of the Ramsey paper into a magazine article starts on page 10.) Sam Allen of TRI then presented direct shear and transmissivity testing details from the perspective of eliminating errors by standardizing procedures and equipment.

Rick Thiel of Thiel Engineering and Vector presented many excellent images of geomembrane attachments to pipe penetrations and perimeter walls in a very detailed and explicit manner. Ian Peggs of I-Corp followed and corroborated many of Rick’s drawings and commentary. Tim Bauters of Golder Associates described proper isolation details of the electrical leak-location survey method as applied to landfill covers as well as electrode spacing and results. Don Hullings of Jones Edmunds Consultants described his method of anchoring exposed geomembrane covers to the underlying soil cover of landfills to the point that rain and winds from three recent Florida hurricanes were successfully resisted. Kevin McKeon of AECom (formerly Earth Tech) presented many details on how to properly introduce liquids into bioreactor landfills, as well as proper gas extraction details.

Three presentations on mechanically stabilized walls (MSE) followed. John Paulson of REDI Engineering led off with many construction hints for constructing segmental retaining walls. Dimiter Alexiew of Huesker followed with the proper construction of facing details for live (or vegetated) walls. Archie Filshill of CETCO Contracting concluded the MSE set by emphasizing proper drainage during and after construction with concerns about the use of fine-grained soils in the reinforcement zone. This set of three papers is a must-read for MSE wall designers and contractors.

George Koerner presented details of smoke detection of imperfections when nondestructively evaluating spray-applied geomembranes. A second paper by Bob Koerner of GSI was not presented due to time constraints. (The topic was the joining and connection of geocomposite drainage materials and it is available on the conference CD.) Han-Yong Jeon of INHA University made a unique presentation of clay nanoparticle-formulated geotextiles used in environmental applications; a completely new and innovative material was presented in this regard. Paul Oliveira of Firestone nicely concluded the conference by describing effective material specifications and pitfalls arising by poorly informed specification writers who merely “cut-and-paste” the specification together. This often produces a troublesome and inadequate document. In this regard, no one is properly served. Clearly, an adequate knowledge base is required by specification writers to achieve in a high-quality product at a reasonable cost.

We at GSI want to sincerely extend our appreciation to all of the speakers and their respective organizations. Also, we thank the 120 attendees at the GRI-22 Conference who stayed for the last day of Geosynthetics-2009 for their interest and involvement in our activities. The question-and-answer responses for every paper was stimulating and most informative.

The conference proceedings CD is available from the IFAI Bookstore.

Bob Koerner is the director of GSI.

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