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Locating geomembrane leaks described in new geosynthetics standard

News | August 5, 2013 | By:

ASTM committee to meet Jan. 29-30

ASTM International announced in an Aug. 2 press release a proposed new standard for all field-proven electrical methods for locating leaks in installed geomembranes.

ASTM WK42576, “Practice for Electrical Leak Location on Exposed Geosynthetics,” is currently in development by Subcommittee D35.10 on Geomembranes, part of ASTM’s Committee D35 on Geosynthetics, according to the release.

“The technology in the field of leak location develops rapidly but disseminates slowly,” said Abigail Beck*, the director of liner integrity services at TRI Environmental Inc., and a D35 member. “There are pockets of people all over the world who perform the methods separately but rarely come together for technology exchanges. It is important to have documents such as ASTM standards that bring all of these technologies together in one place. Streamlining all of the exposed methods into one ASTM standard will create this place in which new developments and technologies can be added as they are developed.”

*For a state-of-the-practice update on leak-location liner integrity surveys, read Beck’s synopsis of the panel discussion, “How to specify a geoelectric leak location survey,” which was presented at the Geosynthetics2013 conference April 3, 2013, in Long Beach, Calif.:

More coverage on this topic is in the October/November-2013 issue of Geosynthetics magazine.

The ASTM press release further described the WK42576 proposal: “[It] will provide a comparison of the different leak location methods to assist the user in deciding which is appropriate for a particular application. Typical leaks consist of knife slices, punctures from equipment or tools, failed seams, and forgotten patches.”

Beck added this comment: “The cost of performing a method to locate leaks is a small fraction of the cost to install the geomembrane, making it an economical and sensible installation quality control method.”

Beck noted that leak detection, using one of the procedures outlined in the proposed standard, will prevent the migration of contaminants to groundwater when a geomembrane is used for environmental containment.

The press release said that: “Upon approval, ASTM WK42576 will be used by design engineers, leak location contractors, geomembrane installers, regulators, and site owners. The proposed standard will also function as an educational tool for anyone specifying liner integrity or leak location surveys of exposed geomembranes.”

The ASTM press release also invited all interested parties to contribute to the ongoing development of ASTM WK42576. In addition, the subcommittee will be working on revisions to two related standards: ASTM D6747 (“Guide for Selection of Techniques for Electrical Detection of Leaks in Geomembranes) and ASTM D7007 (“Practices for Electrical Methods for Locating Leaks in Geomembranes Covered with Water or Earth Materials”).

The next ASTM Committee D35 biannual meeting is Jan. 29-30, 2014, in Houston.

Technical contact: Abigail Beck, TRI Environmental; Austin, Texas; V: 512 263 2558; E:

ASTM staff contact: Katerina Koperna, V: 610 832 9728, E:

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