The International Geosynthetics Society–North America chapter (IGS–North America, formerly NAGS) and the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) co-sponsored a day-and-a-half seminar March 22–23 in Syracuse, N.Y., that focused on the design of waste containment systems. The seminar drew more than 100 participants, including representatives from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 headquarters, plus graduate students and their professor from Syracuse University, several landfill owners and operators, design consultants, contractors, and manufacturers/suppliers of various geosynthetic materials.
Richard Brachman, from Queen’s University and president-elect of IGS–NA, was the lead lecturer.
Robert Phaneuf, from the N.Y. DEC’s Division of Materials Management, presented overviews of the proposed revisions to New York’s solid waste regulations, Title 6 NYCRR Part 360, as they relate to landfill liner and final cover systems. He also provided a brief introduction of the points of interest from a New York state regulatory perspective for each of Prof. Brachman’s design topic lectures.
Abigail Gilson, from TRI Environmental, provided information on electrical leak detection with a video demonstration of the test and guidance in designing an electrical leak detection program.
The program concluded with a panel presentation that included representatives from three consulting firms. Titled “Take-Home Points,” it offered information from the design consultant perspective. The panel members were: Cory McDowell, from Baron and Loguidic, Bradford Smith, from GHD Consulting Services, and Mark Swyka, from Cornerstone Environmental.
Providing sponsorships from the GMA membership were GSE Environmental, Agru America, Titan Environmental Containment, and Terrifix Geosynthetics. Sponsorship included the opportunity for tabletop displays and 15-minute time slots during meals to speak about projects that their companies had completed.
In adjourning the seminar, Phaneuf (N.Y. DEC), expressed appreciation on behalf of the Division of Materials Management to the seminar sponsors (IGS–NA and GMA) for bringing this training opportunity to a New York location and for providing a venue where both regulators and design engineers have an opportunity learn together at a reasonable cost.
Comments from participants, from college students to seasoned practitioners, clearly indicated that the seminar was timely and well worth their time. One of the graduate students said:
“We found the technical seminar both comprehensive and enjoyable. As graduate students, it was stimulating as well as valuable to not only learn about the proper selection, design, and construction of geosynthetic materials being used in today’s landfill liner and final cover systems, but also to be cognizant of the many reasons for failures encountered in real projects. The opportunity enabled us to widen our knowledge of the fundamentals when it comes to landfill engineering, design, and construction, while complementing that knowledge with the technological tools, techniques, and advances available to us today, as well as getting the unique opportunity to understand the many regulatory concerns associated with each area of discussion.”
Another comment from one of the New York regulators in attendance: “Simply the best professional technical training opportunity that I have had while being at the DEC.”
Dave Suits is the executive director of IGS–North America.