The Geosynthetic Materials Association represents at agencies and non-governmental organizations
By Andrew Aho
Agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) rely on the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) to be the prime resource for consistent and accurate information on the correct use of geosynthetics. These groups often reach out to GMA expert advice regarding geosynthetic applications, specifications, and market information.
Volunteers from GMA-member companies provide expert guidance through GMA to users and specifiers in agencies and organizations. The companies who are engaged with GMA provide expert advice that helps shape the marketplace. These volunteers help ensure that users are receiving the correct information about geosynthetics.
Some recent examples of GMA members’ engagement with shaping the industry include working with the:
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
- National Highway Institute (NHI).
- Transportation Research Board (TRB).
- Government Accountability Office (GAO).
- Edison Institute.
- Mexican Institute of Transport (IMT).
- American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
GMA members are providing content for five Geosynthetics Installation Pocket Guides that FHWA has asked GMA to produce. These installation guides will be used in the field by FHWA’s Central Lands Highway Division, but will also be made available to other agencies as well as state DOTs.
GMA members have provided content and expert advice on FHWA classes and publications. This helps ensure that the correct and up-to-date geosynthetic information is taught to agency and commercial engineers. Examples include: Design of MSW Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes FHWA NHI-09-083 and Geosynthetic Reference Manual FHWA NHI-07-092.
The Transportation Research Board is one of the programs of the National Academies. The TRB has relied on GMA and GMA members to provide industry expertise in a number of programs. Most recently it was the TRB Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) Geotechnical Solution for Soil Improvement, Rapid Embankment Construction and Stabilization of Pavement Working Platform.
GMA members compiled data for case studies, peer-revised papers, and other documents that demonstrate the cost/benefit of using geosynthetics in roadways. This information was provided to the GAO for background as it produce the study of innovative materials used in transportation.
The Edison Institute is the trade association for the electric utilities. GMA members have provided guidance on the use of geomembranes in coal ash storages site. GMA also participates as the industry representative on the Edison Institute’s Utilities Solid Waste Action Group (USWAG).
The Mexican members of GMA are developing specifications for geosynthetics in transportation for the Mexican Transportation Institute. The specifications are similar to the M288 specs used by DOTs in the U.S.
GMA members serve as representatives on AASHTO’s National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP), which recently updated its geotextile product testing program to include an auditing of manufacturers’ QAQC programs and requires printing of the prime manufacturer’s name or ID on the fabric.
GMA-member volunteers wrote the M288 specification for geotextiles used in roadways and adopted by AASHTO. Currently, GMA members are updating the M288 specifications. GMA volunteers are also developing a biaxial geogrid specification for transportation that will be presented to AASHTO upon completion.
Dozens of GMA member companies send representatives to the GMA Lobby Days in the spring and fall each year. These experts meet with agency and congressional offices to advocate for geosynthetic market growth and increased utilization of geosynthetics in transportation, civil and environmental projects and programs.
My point in listing this GMA member involvement is to both recognize and thank the dedicated men and women who help shape our industry. I also want to encourage you to become engaged and take advantage of all the opportunities to influence, guide, and put your mark on the issues and programs that make this industry viable. Finally, I want to invite geosynthetic manufacturers, distributors, and service providers to step up and join us as we continue to move the industry forward.