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Geomembrane testing

Q&A: GMA Techline | April 1, 2024 | By:

Q: We are a geomembrane manufacturer and have a client who asked us to test an old geomembrane that we sold to them 20 years ago for a surface impoundment. They are also asking us to test a competitor’s geomembrane used at the same site. Can we issue a formal report to a governing agency of results on such geomembranes—one that we produced and one from a competitor? 

A: For starters, this is a complex question that is better asked of an attorney rather than an engineer. However, I can tell you that most good manufacturers have a keen interest in field performance of their materials and are always testing aged-exhumed materials FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY! If you are going to do this and share the results within an informal report with your client, I would strongly suggest that you include the following three clauses in your report:

It should be noted that the test specimen and test sample used for this report was believed to be representative of the material produced under this designation. However, these results are indicative of only the specimens that were actually tested. 

The testing herein is based upon accepted industry practice as well as the test method listed. We neither accept responsibility for nor make claims to the final use and purpose of the material beyond the original warranty. 

It is specifically requested that this document be considered proprietary information and should not be reproduced, except in full, without the written approval of “our company.” 

All of that written, your company cannot submit a formal report on such case histories to a government agency and especially not on a competitor geomembrane. This is a conflict of interest and strictly forbidden. To be viable, such reports need to be submitted by a consultant working for a third-party laboratory or a research institution with peer review.

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