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New ASTM geosynthetic practice standardizes leak-detection method

Features | November 10, 2011 | By:

A new ASTM International practice standardizes a geoelectric method used to detect potential leaks in exposed electrically isolating membranes in the field in containment applications.

The new standard, ASTM D7703, Practice for Electrical Leak Location on Exposed Geomembranes Using the Water Lance System, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D35.10 on Geomembranes, part of ASTM International Committee D35 on Geosynthetics.

According to Tim Bauters, P.E., Ph.D., a senior engineer at Golder Associates Inc., and first vice chairman of D35, many modern landfill cells, lagoons, impoundments, and ponds are lined with synthetic materials such as high density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to prevent leakage.

“Particularly for new landfill cells, leachate lagoons or waste impoundments, rapid and accurate detection and pinpointing of leaks can prevent costly site closures, delayed permitting/opening and, in the worst case, cleanup costs,” says Bauters. “Even for ponds containing benign materials such as irrigation or drinking water, leaks can cause costly site damage from washouts or sinkholes as well as loss of revenue.”

Using ASTM D7703 to geoelectrically test the geomembranes prior to placing the containment system in operation will minimize the amount of leakage. The new standard will be used by regulatory agencies, designers of containment systems, owners and geoelectric surveyors.

All parties with an interest in geomembranes are invited to participate in the ongoing standards developing activities of D35.10.

ASTM Committee D35 Next Meeting: Feb. 1-3, 2012, January Committee Week, Atlanta, Ga.

Technical Contact: Tim Bauters, Ph.D., Golder Associates Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., Phone: 408-220-9223;

ASTM Staff Contact: Christine Sierk, Phone: 610-832-9728;

ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603;

Source: ASTM International

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