REGISTER NOW! GCL Shear Testing Webinar - Presented by Dr. Chris Bareither of Colorado State University - THURS - 2/28/2019 at 10:00 AM (MST)

Dedicated to advancing the use of fabricated geomembranes through education, research, and technology transfer.

Factory fabrication reduces field welding, reduces installation time and costs, allows modular construction and provides consistent seam and liner quality.


FGI Welcomes Canadian General Tower (CGT)

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) is pleased to welcome its newest manufacturer member, Canadian General Tower (  CGT is headquartered in Ontario, Canada with additional manufacturing facilities in the United States and China, an innovation design studio in Michigan and international sales offices in Germany, France, China, Japan, and Canada. CGT specializes in high quality coated fabrics and films used in a variety of automotive, industrial, aquatic,construction and geomembrane applications.  Their FGI liaison is Mike Thrasher, Construction Director, who can be reached at  Please help us welcome CGT to the FGI!!!!

FGI is Now Accepting Applications for the Fabricated Geomembrane Engineering Innovation Award

Download Application

The Fabricated Geomembrane Engineering Innovation Award was created to recognize engineers who have creatively used fabricated geomembranes to successfully fulfill a client/owner’s needs, including technical requirements, scheduling and budget.


Today’s engineers are working to solve environmental issues on a global scale. FGI’s Fabricated Geomembrane Engineering Innovation Award competition pays tribute to exemplary engineers who utilize fabricated geomembranes to creatively solve a problem on an important project.

How the Program Works

An engineer, regulatory person, owner, installer or contractor can submit a project for award consideration. An award application must be filled out and submitted by January 15, 2019. A distinguished panel of three judges representing a cross section of industry, government, academia and media, will evaluate the submissions and rank them based on engineering excellence, uniqueness and innovation.


This program is open to all engineers and designers.


The deadline for submitting anapplication is: January 15, 2019.

Apply Today

Download the award application today!!!  The FGI looks forward to recognizing an engineer/designer for their important and innovative work utilizing fabricated geomembranes.



ShortCourse Speakers (Left to Right):  GaryZych (American Electric Power), Sam Allen (TRI Environmental), Kerry Rowe(Queens University), Timothy Stark (University of Illinois atUrbana-Champaign), Glen Toepfer (CQA Solutions), Andy Durham (Owens Corning)

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) presented a live-streamed short course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) on 3 August, 2018.  The short course was organized by the FGI and was streamed on-line by the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA). The short course was offered as a set of six continuous webinars, with a one-hour lunch break separating the three morning sessions and the three afternoon sessions.  The all-day short course drew 210 registrants, with over 100 attendees streaming at any one time.

The excellent and timely presentations focused on the challenges and environmental concerns with containment and engineering technologies and how geosynthetics and geomembranes can be used to mitigate the concerns and risks.  Andy Durham of Owens Corning served as the emcee for the short course; introducing each speaker, as well as moderating the live question and answer section at the end of each presentation. The beginning portion of the short course focused on geomembrane life and performance.  Dr. Kerry Rowe, of Queens University focused on service life of geomembranes, while GlenToepfer, of CQA Solutions provided insight into the latest advancements in geomembrane testing and certified quality assurance (CQA) procedures.  Finally, Dr.Kerry Rowe concluded the morning sessions with an informative presentation on the effects of wrinkles on geomembrane performance.  

The second half of the presentations focused on various applications of geosynthetics in civil engineering applications.  For example, Sam Allen, of TRI Environmental reviewed the best practices for zero leak containment.  Gary Zych, of American Electric Power in Columbus, Ohio gave an informative presentation on effective disposal techniques for Coal Combustion Residuals using PVC geomembranes.  Finally, Dr. Timothy Stark, of the UIUC wrapped up the live-streamed event with a presentation detailing elevated temperatures in containment applications.  

Many attendee questions, comments, and experiences made the course a great success. The topics and speakers from the successful short course are shown below:


Service Life of  Geomembranes – Kerry Rowe (Queens University)

Testing& CQA Procedures – GlenToepfer (CQA Solutions)

Effectof Wrinkles on Geomembrane Performance – Kerry Rowe (Queens University)

BestPractices for Zero Leak Containment – Sam Allen (TRIEnvironmental)

Containmentfor Coal Combustion Residuals - Gary Zych (AmericanElectric Power)

ElevatedTemperatures in Containment Applications – Timothy Stark (UIUC)

The FGI is dedicated to advancing the use of fabricated geomembranes through education, research, and technology transfer. The FGI is an industry sponsored consortium of manufacturers, fabricators/installers, designers, regulators, and material suppliers of fabricated geomembranes. For more information on the FGI, please visit

FGI Accomplishments and Current Activities – A Midterm Review

This article highlights a few of the accomplishments of the current Officers and Board of Directors, as well as the projects in which the FGI is currently engaged.

It has been over a year since the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) inducted new Officers and a new Board of Directors, which occurred in March of 2017 at the ASCE Geo-Frontiers Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Officers and Board of Directors currently serving are: 

President – Patrick Elliott (Raven Industries, Parker, Colorado), Vice President – Laura Storey (Consumers Energy, Saginaw, Michigan), Treasurer – Ed Silva (Engineered Polymer Technologies, Hillside, New Jersey), Secretary – Andy Durham (Owens Corning, Granville, Ohio), Dale Kemnitz (Leak Location Services), Ray Peebles (Cooley Group), Bill Shehane (Seaman Corporation), and Duff Simbeck (Simbeck & Associates).  A few accomplishments of the current Officers and Board of Directors are highlighted below:


·          Increased participation – We have had some great meetings with new ideas and open discussion from new members and the new Board. This has already led to four new FGI members this year.

·          Successful Short Courses – The short courses offered at The Ohio State University were two of the most successful short courses offered by the FGI.  The Fall, 2017 Short Course was sold out (92), and therefore, a second course was offered in April, 2018 (78).  Success was due to a slate of excellent speakers, as well as Owens Corning offering a production facility tour following the short course.

·          New Website- The FGI website has a fresh new look, updated content, better graphics, allows tracking of usage, and is now mobile friendly. Please visit our new site and tell us what you think –

·          Webinars – The FGI has completed three very successful webinars in collaboration with GMA:  Fabrication, Installation, and Testing – October 19, 2018, Slope Stability Part I – February 27, 2018, and Slope Stability Part II on May 31, 2018. 

·          Pond leakage calculator – The FGI created this excellent spreadsheet tool that calculates water loss of a Geomembrane vs. Compacted Clay Soil Liner and cost associated with water loss. The calculator can also help with pond sizing and volumes. Learn More

·           Increased Participation in FGI Summer Internship Program – In 2017, the FGI provided internships to six Civil & Environmental Engineering students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to four different member companies. Learn More

·           New samples to Minnesota DNR study – The FGI expanded the long term geomembrane durability study in Hibbing, Minnesota to include eight additional geomembrane samples. This is a long term commitment and should produce unique data from several membranes over the next 20 years.

·       New Geosynthetics Magazine Articles Published– The FGI published following 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 the FGI Expands Summer Internship Program in November, 2017.

·           Polypropylene Specification Development – The 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. View All FGI Specs


In addition to all of the accomplishments above, the FGI is working on the following projects:


·           New PVC Specification – The FGI is working to create an updated PVC specification that will provide the end user with a more consistent and high quality industrial grade PVC.

·           Columbus Reservoir Paper – 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 – The FGI is in the process of developing a library of high quality videos for our website and YouTube channel that explain and demonstrate all of the different ASTM test methods used for testing flexible geomembranes.

·           Short courses – The FGI has two additional short courses scheduled for 2018 that will address Geosynthetics in Civil Engineering Applications:  Friday, August 3, 2018 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (will also be recorded and live-streamed) and Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at Saginaw Valley State University (in collaboration with Consumers Energy and Plastatech).

·           Summer Internship program – In 2018, the FGI plans to continue to expand its internship program by developing new partnerships with other Universities (e.g. Colorado State University and The Ohio State University) to provide more geographically friendly interns to its members.

·           Clay v. Geomembrane Costs Paper – Conference paper is being written to highlight the benefits and cost savings of using geomembranes over compacted clay soil for containment applications.

·           RPP Project Case Study – The FGI is working on 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 – The FGI is creating a library of installation details for engineers and clients to download from the FGI website in both JPEG and DWG formats.


The FGI is dedicated to advancing the use of fabricated geomembranes through education, research, and technology transfer.  The FGI is a consortium of manufacturers, fabricators/installers, designers, regulators, and material suppliers of fabricated geomembranes.  For more information on the FGI, please visit


FGI Welcomes EPI

The FGI is pleased to welcome its newest fabricator member, Environmental Protection, Inc. (  EPI is based in Traverse City, Michigan and specializes in high quality prefabricated geomembrane panels used in a variety of environmental containment applications.  Their FGI liaison is Dan Rohe, President, who can be reached at or (800) 655-4637.  Please help us welcome EPI to the FGI!!!!

FGI Welcomes EnviroCon Systems, Inc.

The FGI is pleased to welcome its newest member, EnviroCon Systems, Inc. (  EnviroCon is a national geomembrane supply and installation company based in Houston, Texas. In addition, EnviroCon offers both full-service custom fabrication and pipe divisions.  The fabrication division specializes in stock and specialty items such as sump boxes, secondary containment, and large-scale flexible liner panels. The pipe division offers a wide range of HDPE pipe and fusion equipment for sale, rental or turnkey services. Their FGI liaisons are Chris Trevino, Fabrication Sales & Division Manager (, and Derek Huffman, Estimator/Project Manager ( They can be reached at (281) 443-2592.  Please help us welcome EnviroCon Systems, Inc. to the FGI!!!!

FGI Welcomes Titan Environmental USA

The FGI is pleased to welcome its newest fabricator member, Titan Environmental USA (  Titan is based in Houston, Texas and specializes in high quality prefabricated geomembrane panels used in a variety of environmental containment projects.  Their FGI liaison is Tonya Switalski, General Manager, who can be reached at or (832) 819-9758.  Please help us welcome Titan Environmental USA to the FGI!!!! 

Summer Internship Program

Due to the great success over the past two summer, the FGI is continuing its Summer Internship Program.  This program connects undergraduate and graduate Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), as well as other universities, with FGI member companies for a Summer, 2018 Internship in fabrication, manufacturing, testing, installation, marketing or other related areas for hands-on geomembrane experience. 

See available internships.

Solmax Acquires GSE Environmental


Montreal, Québec, Canada (December 20, 2017) – Groupe Solmax, a Canadian-based company and an industry leader in the production of high-quality polyethylene geomembranes for industrial and environmental applications has acquired GSE Environmental based in Houston, Texas from Littlejohn & Co., LLC and certain funds and accounts managed by Strategic Value Partners, LLC, both Greenwich, Connecticut-based private investment firms. Both Solmax and GSE operate globally in the geosynthetic products sector, supplying large industrial players with high-quality containment systems for domestic, hazardous or industrial waste burial sites, retention ponds, fracking and heap leaching pads.  The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ are Solmax’s financial partners for this transaction. Both will have equity positions in the company.


“This acquisition and the combination of Solmax and GSE creates a true global industry leader.  In a highly fragmented market of polyethylene geomembrane manufacturing, we will have the opportunity to lead and help reshape the industry, based on competitive drivers such as operational excellence and efficiency, superior quality products and deep R&D capabilities,” explained Jean-Louis Vangeluwe, President of Solmax. “Merging GSE with Solmax will also give us a broader manufacturing footprint and an expandedworldwide commercial network which will in turn enable us to work more closely and cohesively with customers, including local service companies and specialized installers who require customized attention.  Furthermore, we believe our size and industry leadership will help us work more effectively with global corporations that seek suppliers with manufacturing capabilities around the world and financial means.”

“La Caisse is pleased to take an equity stake in Solmax as it acquires one of the largest companies in its industry and creates the undisputed global leader in geomembrane manufacturing,” stated Christian Dubé, Executive Vice-President, Québec at Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. “In addition to supporting a company from Québec as it grows internationally, la Caisse is investing in a company that is making a difference for the environment.”

“Once again, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ is investing in Solmax to support the growth of this Québec-based flagship company, and a Fonds partner company since 1996. With the leadership of its management team, as well as dedicated employees and quality products, Solmax will become a worldwide leader in its field. This transaction will put the Varennes-based company in a good position to lead the global geomembrane market,” said Normand Chouinard, Executive Vice-President, Investments at the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

“On behalf of my management team, I would like to thank the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ who have been incredibly supportive business partners through this negotiation process. We clearly saw their commitment to enable Québec entrepreneurs who strive for defining growth and value creation on a world-wide scale,” added Jacques Côté, Solmax Founder and Chairman.

Solmax drew on the guidance and services of the following firms to complete this strategic acquisition: McCarthy Tétrault LLP acted as Canadian legal advisors and Jones Day as international legal advisors; PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance inc. acted as financial advisor.  National Bank of Canada and The Toronto-Dominion Bank acted as joint underwriters for the senior credit facilities.

The financial terms and conditions of the transaction were not disclosed.  


Groupe Solmax is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of PE geomembranes and offers high-standard containment solutions. Its products are sold in over 60 countries. They are used by the major industrial companies in the mining, energy, waste management, water, and civil engineering sectors. Solmax’s products are used to protect soils from contamination in applications as critical as the landfills of the world’s most populated cities to the tailings or heap leach pads of mining operating in environmentally fragile ecosystems.


GSE Environmental is a global manufacturer and marketer of geosynthetic barrier systems, stabilization products, and drainage systems used for the containment and management of solids, liquids and gases for organizations engaged in civil engineering projects, waste management, mining, water, wastewater and aquaculture. GSE's principal products are polyethylene-based geomembranes, geonets, geocomposites, geosynthetic clay liners, concrete protection liners and vertical barriers. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, USA, GSE maintains sales offices throughout the world and manufacturing facilities in the US, Germany, Thailand, China and Egypt.


Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at June 30, 2017, it held $286.5 billion in net assets. As one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.


The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a development capital investment fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments. As at May 31, 2017, the organization had C$13.1 billion in net assets, and through its current portfolio of investments has helped create and protect 186,440 jobs. The Fonds is a partner in more than 2,700 companies and has 645,664 shareholder-savers.

For more information:

Groupe SOLMAX:

Andreea Sasu

Marketing Manager

+1 450 929 1234, ext: 247

FGI Expands Summer Internship Program

Left to Right:  Raymond Pu, Abdou Diouff, Billy Hernawan, Civil and Environmental Engineering Students in front of the Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory, home of the FGI, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) expanded its student internship program to three companies and six interns during the summer of 2017.  The first year of the internship program in 2016, one intern worked for Colorado Lining International (CLI) at various sites in the United States. The main objectives of the program are to introduce future civil engineers to the field of geosynthetics field, civil engineering construction, and provide a connection between possible future employers and the many undergraduate (~2,400) and graduate students (~1,200) at the UIUC.  This past summer, CLI re-hired Guo Cheng, a graduate student studying geotechnical engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the UIUC, plus three additional summer interns:  Billy Hernawin (see Figure 1), also studying geotechnical engineering in CEE at the UIUC, Raymond Pu (see Figure 1), studying transportation engineering in CEE, and Xin Li, studying structural engineering in CEE.  In addition to CLI, Owens Corning (OC) participated in the FGI’s Internship Program by hiring Abdou Diouff (see Figure 1), a graduate student studying Construction Management in CEE. Finally, the Layfield Group hired Elsa Wingaardh, (see Figure 4), who is also studying Construction Management in CEE at the UIUC student, to work at their San Diego, California fabrication facility.  These six interns spent between seven (7) and thirteen (13) weeks learning about all aspects of geomembrane fabrication, testing, installation, design, estimation, quality control, and quality assurance.  In addition, they learned about other geosynthetic products that are typically installed with geomembranes, such as cushion geotextiles, geonets, drainage composites, and geosynthetic reinforcement.

 While at CLI’s corporate headquarters in Parker, Colorado, Billy Hernawin, Guo Cheng, Xin Li, and Raymond Pu worked on factory fabrication of geomembrane panels including welding, patching, and both destructive and non-destructive testing of the completed panels. They were also introduced to all levels of CLI staff and leadership.  While in the fabrication facility, Raymond, Guo, Xin, and Billy were instructed on proper geomembrane seam welding techniques and guidelines.  The interns were also exposed to hands-on field experience with basic operations, including:  site cleaning, unrolling and unfolding the geomembrane panels, preparing the panels for welding, performing air channel and vacuum testing of the field seams, and recording and archiving  all of the roll numbers and inventory. 

 At the Owens Corning (OC) facility in Granville, Ohio, Abdou Diouff gained valuable hands-on experience in the research and testing of geosynthetic materials and for a variety of applications.  As an intern, one of Abdou’s first projects was to conduct tests to quantify the interface friction or shear strength of the RhinoMat and RhinoSkin woven-coated polyethylene geomembrane products. These results were used to analyze the suitability of their existing products for a range of slope angles, and assist in developing new geomembranes for the geomembrane market to accommodate steeper slopes.  Abdou was also tasked with evaluating the use of earth anchors for ballasting exposed geomembrane covers from wind uplift on top of closed landfills.  Developing a design methodology to utilize an anchor design for wind uplift mitigation was an important and large project for Abdou.  Finally, Abdou traveled to Mississippi to attend a Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) organized meeting with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center, and local engineers.  During this meeting, the GMA contingent updated attendees on new specifications, geosynthetic products, and applications with these end users.

 Finally, Elsa Wingaardh spent ten (10) weeks over the summer at Layfield’s fabrication facility in beautiful San Diego, California.  Elsa gained valuable exposure to the business aspects of a construction company while working in the Design and Estimating Department at Layfield. Once a project request was received from the sales department, Elsa assisted in providing an in-depth analysis of the specifications, quantifying the project, pricing costs, such as labor, materials, sub-contractors, equipment, and fabrication costs, and creating a final project budget proposal.  To assist with preparing the final budget proposal, Elsa visited several job sites to gain sufficient experience about the work being performed so she could contribute to developing the necessary construction materials.  Layfield also treated Elsa to several fun activities during the summer, including bowling, horse racing at Del Mar Race Track, and attending Layfield’s summer picnic at Rohr Park in Chula Vista, California.

 The FGI is already working on their 2018 Summer Internship Program and hopes to see it expand even further.  The internship program has been a great assistance to the FGI research activities at the UIUC because the interns return with hands-on experience of the testing, installation, and quality control aspects of geomembranes.