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A large mining operation that required lined containment of runoff to prevent groundwater pollution.
GSE constructed a reservoir with a double synthetic liner and leak detection drainage layer. A 60 mil (1.5 mm) secondary liner of GSE Leak Location liner, GSE HyperNet drainage net and an 80 mil (2.0 mm) primary liner of white-surfaced GSE Leak Location comprised the system. The project used a total of 1.7 million square feet (160,000 square meters) of geomembrane.
After installation, we performed a spark-testing operation, employing an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to pull a spark-testing unit mounted on a trailer. The unit, which exerts less pressure on the liner than normal foot traffic, was operated by a single GSE technician. It includes a power supply that charges a sliding neoprene contact pad and a six-foot (1.8 meter) wide brass brush. It also contains voltage and sensitivity controls used to minimize any interference or noise created by moisture or humidity. As the ATV moved forward at two to three miles per hour (three to five kilometers per hour) covering one to two acres per day (4,000 to 12,000 square meters), the brush swept over the liner surface to detect penetrating damage. When leaks were found, an extrusion bead or a patch was placed over the hole, depending upon the size.
Not only was the primary liner spark-tested for leaks, but the coextruded light-reflective surface added further benefits. The white surface reflects sunlight, lowering and stabilizing liner temperature, which results in less wrinkling and bridging. Additionally, because of its white surface and black base, visual detection of scoring and other impact damage was improved.
The combination of a white surface on black liner with spark-testability resulted in a maximum installation quality control, using a material with built-in comprehensive capability for damage detection.
When mine workers purposely made small holes in the liner without the knowledge of GSE personnel, our innovative system detected every hole by displaying a spark and emitting an audible signal.
With the GSE Leak Location Liner system, all leaks were detected and repaired in a cost-effective, reliable and safe manner. The facility designed helped allay local community fears and the system can be retested as needed to provide complete containment assurance.