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Editorial: Geomembranes and water

Editorial | April 1, 2018 | By:

The World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that a clean water supply is “fundamental to global health.” WHO estimates that considerable exposure worldwide to contraction of many waterborne diseases and conditions (diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition, parasites, bacterial infections, etc.) could be diminished by increasing access to safe drinking water, improving sanitation and hygiene, and improving water management.

Wider use of geomembranes can help reduce such risks of disease, as they are effective impermeable or semipermeable layers for all kinds of liquids. Geomembranes line, lie beneath or cover reservoirs, landfills, agricultural sites, canals, heap leach ponds at mining facilities, coal ash ponds at power plants, dam facings, and highways, among other applications. 

In this issue of Geosynthetics, we take a closer look at geomembranes and water, with Richard Thiel concluding his three-part series on “Design of Exposed Geomembrane-Lined Ponds: Controlling Uplifting Gas Bubbles.” Andy Durham explores the deployment of a reinforced composite geomembrane at the Full-Scale Levee Breach and Hydraulic Test Facility in Mississippi in “A Next-Generation Liner Solution for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” Bernard Breul, Natalie Daly and Bertrand Breul take a historical look at using geomembranes on a dam facing in “Bituminous Geomembranes on a French Dam.” And after groundwater-related delays in California pushed back the installation, Geosynthetics presents Part 2 of John Heap’s “Reviving the Palos Verdes Reservoir,” a feature many of the magazine’s readers have been waiting for since the publication of Part 1 in the October/November 2016 issue.

The Panorama column also takes a look at geosynthetics (including geomembranes) and water by showcasing winners of the IFAI IAA Awards in the Mines/Landfills/Wastewater category. The Award of Excellence goes to Tensar and Groupe Solmax for a capping project on a manufacturing sludge facility that uses both geogrids and geomembranes. The Outstanding Achievement Award goes to Flint Industries for geotextile tubes employed for dewatering at a massive Washington, D.C., tunneling project.

Finally, Holly O’Dell adopts a big-picture look at the geosynthetics industry’s major role in protecting and conserving water in this issue’s Final Inspection column.

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