It has been more than a year since the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) inducted new officers and a new board of directors, which occurred in March 2017 at the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geotechnical Frontiers Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Officers and directors currently serving include Patrick Elliott, president (Raven Industries); Laura Storey, vice president (Consumers Energy); Ed Silva, treasurer (Engineered Polymer Technologies); Andy Durham, secretary (Owens Corning); Dale Kemnitz (Leak Location Services); Ray Peebles (Cooley Group); Bill Shehane (Seaman Corporation); and Duff Simbeck (Simbeck & Associates).
FGI’s officers and board of directors have accomplished much in the past year, including:
- Increased membership: Fresh ideas and reinvigorated board discussions have led to bringing in four new FGI members.
- Successful short courses: The short courses offered at The Ohio State University in Columbus have been successful, selling out with 92 participants in fall 2017, which led to the offering of a second course with 78 participants in April 2018.
- New website: The redesigned FGI website has updated content, better graphics, allows tracking of usage and is now mobile friendly.
- Webinars: FGI has completed three very successful webinars in collaboration with the Geosynthetics Materials Association (GMA): “Fabrication, Installation, and Testing” on Oct. 19, 2017; “Slope Stability: Part I” on Feb. 27, 2018; and “Slope Stability: Part II” on May 31, 2018.
- Pond leakage calculator: FGI created this excellent spreadsheet tool that calculates the water loss of a geomembrane vs. compacted clay soil liner and the cost associated with water loss. The calculator can also help with pond sizing and volumes.
- Increased participation in FGI Summer Internship Program: In 2017 FGI provided internships to six civil and environmental engineering students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to four different member companies.
- New samples to Minnesota DNR study: FGI expanded the long-term geomembrane durability study in Hibbing, Minn., to include eight additional geomembrane samples. This is a long-term commitment and should produce unique data from several geomembranes over the next 20 years.
- Geosynthetics magazine articles published: Geosynthetics magazine published the following FGI-related articles over the past year: “Long-term Durability of Geomembrane Materials and Seams” in April/May 2017, “Protecting Geomembranes from Animal Damage” in June/July 2017 and “FGI Expands Summer Internship Program” in November 2017.
- Polypropylene specification development: FGI developed a new specification for supported and unsupported flexible polypropylene geomembranes that represents an industry standard for high-quality products. The FGI polypropylene specification is available to download from the FGI website.
In addition to these recent accomplishments above, FGI is currently working on the following projects:
- New PVC specification: FGI is developing an updated PVC specification that will provide the end user with a more consistent and high-quality, industrial-grade PVC.
- Columbus Reservoir paper: FGI is researching a journal paper on the largest containment project in the world that shows factory-fabricated seams are more consistent and at least 10% stronger than field seams.
- Video library of ASTM test methods: FGI is producing a library of high-quality videos for its website and YouTube channel that explains and demonstrates ASTM test methods used for testing flexible geomembranes.
- Short courses: FGI has two additional short courses scheduled for 2018 that will address geosynthetics in civil engineering applications: Aug. 3, 2018, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (will also be recorded and live-streamed), and Oct. 24, 2018, at Saginaw Valley State University, in collaboration with Consumers Energy and Plastatech.
- Summer Internship program: In 2018 FGI plans to expand its internship program by developing new partnerships with other universities (e.g., Colorado State University and The Ohio State University) to educate more geographically friendly interns to its members.
- Clay vs. geomembrane costs paper: FGI is writing a conference paper to highlight the benefits and cost savings of using geomembranes over compacted clay soil for containment applications.
- RPP project case study: FGI is researching a case study of a premature failure of an RPP pond liner system, along with a new installation of an RPE system including mechanical attachment, venting system, ballast system to prevent uplift if ground water becomes an issue, anchor trench, underlayment, pipe details and panel fabrication.
- Installation details: FGI is creating a library of installation details for engineers and clients to download from the FGI website in both .jpg and .dwg formats.
FGI is dedicated to advancing the use of fabricated geomembranes through education, research and technology transfer. FGI is a consortium of manufacturers, fabricators/installers, designers, regulators and material suppliers of fabricated geomembranes.
For more information on FGI, please visit www.fabricatedgeomembrane.com.