In late January 2020, just before the Chinese Lunar New Year, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in large areas of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The city went into lockdown on Jan. 23, 2020, with the Wuhan Urban and Rural Construction Bureau calling for the rapid construction of a hospital like the one built to tackle the SARS virus in 2003. Preventing toxic wastewater and hazardous waste materials generated by the new Huoshenshan Hospital from contaminating the groundwater would be critical to the success of the project. With just days to construct a state-of-the-art medical facility containing 1,000 beds, collaboration by all suppliers was vital.
Beijing GeoEnviron Engineering and Technology Inc. (BGE) and GAD Environmental Technology Co. Ltd., two of Solmax’s key customers in China, were involved in the installation of geomembrane liners for this project. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes produced and supplied by Solmax Geosynthetics (Suzhou) were chosen as the main component of the primary barrier system. To meet the 24-hour production schedule needed to produce the 430,556 square feet (40,000 m2) of 79-mil (2-mm) thick textured HDPE geomembrane liners in time, the Solmax Suzhou operation team decided to return to the plant during the Chinese New Year holiday.
Solmax’s HDPE geomembrane meets the international GRI-GM13 industry standard; it has excellent chemical resistance, mechanical tensile properties, aging resistance, and moisture and waterproofing performance. It is widely used to contain leachate and waste in solid waste landfills as well as to provide a base barrier in mining, petrochemical and industrial applications.
The geosynthetic barrier system for the hospital was designed and constructed using HDPE geomembrane with nonwoven geotextiles placed above and beneath the geomembrane liner to protect it from damage by sharp objects and construction debris. An 8-inch (20-cm) thick layer of sandy soil was placed on top of the geomembrane barrier system, and the concrete foundation and erection of a modular structure followed.
Collaboration among all stakeholders led to the completion of the Huoshenshan Hospital in just 10 days. The hospital went into operation on Feb. 3, 2020, playing an important part in the fight to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and to cure the thousands of infected people. Solmax’s contribution in meeting the tight deadlines for supply of the geomembranes for rapid hospital construction has been acknowledged by the China Technical Association on Geosynthetics.