News

FGI Welcomes Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute(FGI) is pleased to welcome its newest Government/Regulatory Agency Member, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR).  

The mission of the Iowa DNR is to conserve and enhance our natural resources in cooperation with individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life in Iowa and ensure a legacy for future generations. The Iowa DNR manages fish and wildlife programs, ensures the health of Iowa’s forests and prairies, and provides recreational opportunities in Iowa’s state parks. Just as importantly, the Iowa DNR carries out state and federal laws that protect air, land, and water through technical assistance, permitting, and compliance programs. The Iowa DNR also encourages the enjoyment and stewardship of natural resources among Iowans through outreach and education.

The FGI liaison is Brian L. Rath, P.E., Environmental Engineer Senior in the Solid Waste and Contaminated Sites Section, who can be reached at brian.rath@dnr.iowa.gov. Please help us welcome the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to the FGI!!!!

FGI Welcomes Burke Industries LLC

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) is pleased to welcome its newest manufacturer member, Burke Industries LLC. Burke offers a highly diversified portfolio of elastomeric solutions for construction, aerospace, the armed forces, and a wide range of commercial applications. Burke has their own product lines in roofing, pond-liners, and aerospace. Their experienced team ensures consistent results and high-performance solutions, time after time. Burke was founded in 1942 by Roscoe Burke in San Jose, CA, where it is still headquartered today. The FGI liaison is Kevin Sroka, who can be reached at kevin.sroka@mannington.com or www. burkeind.com. Please help us welcome Burke Industries to the FGI!!!!

FGI Welcomes Fabtech

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) is pleased to welcome its newest Fabricator/Installer member, Fabtech.  Established in 1986 and incorporated in 1994,Fabtech has extensive experience as a leading geomembrane installer in Australia, as well as an international presence.  Fabtech is a proven leader in the multi-disciplined technology that encompasses the lining and covering of dams, reservoirs, landfills, effluent lagoons, tunnels, irrigation channels and tanks.  At the forefront of its industry, Fabtech has installed over 10 million square meters of geomembrane liners and covers in Australia, the PacificRim, UAE, Eastern Europe and New Zealand. The company headquarters are located in Dulwich, South Australia, and their FGI liaison is Graham Fairhead, Managing Director, who can be reached at gfairhead@fabtech.com.au. Please help us welcome Fabtech to the FGI!!!!

FGI Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) grew out of the PVC Geomembrane Institute (PGI), which was an industry-based research center based in Michigan that focused on the appropriate use of PVC geomembranes in containment applications. In 1998, the PGI sought proposals from various universities to establish a technical collaboration and liaison to increase research and technology transfer related to PVC geomembranes. In 1998, the PGI accepted Dr. Timothy D. Stark’s proposal to collaborate with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). From 1998 to 2009 the PGI operated from the UIUC and conducted various short courses, developed and promulgated material specifications for PVC geomembranes, and conducted research on geomembrane durability, minimum plasticizer molecular weight needed for long-term durability, constructing and monitoring a long-term field test section in Hibbing, Minnesota, and various other topics related to PVC geomembranes.

In 2009, Dr. Stark proposed to broaden the PGI to include other flexible geomembranes that could be factory-fabricated into large panels, transported to a project site, and quickly installed. This expanded the PGI to include other geomembrane polymers, such as, flexible polypropylene, Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM),Chlorosulphonated Polythylene (CSPE), Ethylene Interpolymer Alloy (EIA),Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH), and others. After about four years of discussion from 2009 to 2013, the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) was founded in Illinois and based at the UIUC. In 2013 Dr. Stark and the first FGI President(Andrew Mills) launched the FGI with an innovative dues structure. The initial operating budget was estimated and it was proposed that the more members that joined the FGI, the lower the annual dues would be. This resulted in a large number of companies joining the FGI and a simple dues annual structure of$2,000 per manufacturer and fabricator/installer members, which is still in operation today.

The FGI focuses on the research of flexible geomembrane or geosynthetic materials that can be prefabricated in a controlled factory environment resulting in more constant, uniform, and predictable completed seams than in the field and less installation damage because of the shorter installation time.

The FGI now offers monthly webinars, short courses, and podcasts all over the world and supervises research on fabricated flexible geosynthetic materials using graduate and undergraduate students from the UIUC. The FGI website provides various resources, including, calculators to estimate pond leakage with and without geomembrane wrinkles, cost comparison between factory and field seam fabrication, panel weights for shipping, anchor trench design, and others, flexible geomembrane installation and attachment details for typical ponds, geomembrane testing videos, an online PDH program, geo-engineering quizzes, a geomembrane product and equipment guide, field and factory safety messages, and more! We hope you will participate in some of these activities and eventually consider joining the FGI. For more information, please visit fabricatedgeomembrane.com.

Dr. Stark’s Cross-USA Lecture Tour Concludes

The Geo-Institute (G-I) of the ASCE provides the Cross-USA Lecture Tour to local G-I chapters and Graduate Student Organizations as an ongoing program to enhance the prestige of the Geoprofession and local events. The Cross-USA G-I Lecturer is a nominated distinguished geoprofessional that has to visit at least five different U.S. locations during the tour. Dr.Stark provided the host groups with a choice of thirty lecture topics and each group selected the topic to be presented at their location.

Timothy D. Stark, Ph.D.,P.E., a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an expertise in geotechnical and geosynthetics engineering, was selected by the G-I Local Involvement Committee to be the 2022–2023 Cross-USA lecturer. Dr. Stark says all geoprofessionals are invited and encouraged to attend the meetings because the lectures are geared toward practicing geotechnical engineers and include recommendations for best practices as well as some lessons learned from major projects. He has been involved in a number of projects on these topics, which has facilitated the transfer of his research results to practice.

Dr. Stark says one of the highpoints of the tour for him has been “traveling to many G-I chapters and meeting hundreds of practitioners, students, academicians, contractors and other geoprofessionals. A couple of interesting developments during the Cross-USA Tour include attracting 138 geoprofessionals to the first in-person meeting of the Louisiana G-I chapter and serving as the keynote speaker for a number of regional conferences.”

The Cross-USA Lecture Tour started on September 19, 2022, and continued through early November 2023. The 23 tour stops included Blacksburg, Va.; Hershey, Pittsburgh and Valley Forge, PA.; San Diego, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; metropolitan New York, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga.; Ames, Iowa; Jackson, Miss.; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA.; Columbus, OH; Tampa, FL, Smithfield, VA, Louisville, KY, and three G-I virtual presentations that are available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAw_li-bQfAWRso-1OwNebw.

During the tour, Dr. Stark discussed case histories such as: fill placement on a slope, toe excavation and deep bedrock landslide, 3D analysis of the Yeager Airport reinforced soil slope failure, and 2014 Oso, Washington Landslide: failure mechanism and runout analysis. He also covered technical topics that include 3D slope stability analyses, design geosynthetic interface strengths for landfill stability, drained soil shear strengths for static slope stability analyses, behavior of textured geomembrane/nonwoven geotextile interfaces, importance of design peer review, drilled shaft integrity testing, a new flow failure assessment procedure for dams and embankments, and the effect of liquids on geosynthetic interface strength and landfill slope stability. Some of these topics will be coming to the FGI Webinar Series in the near future.

FGI Fall 2023 Newsletter Now Available

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Top FGI Headlines for Fall 2023:

- FGI Embarks on Hydropower Foundation Research Project

- FGI Sets Dates for Third Annual Live Online CQA Course & Certification Exam

- Project Spotlight: Hinkle Reservoir Replacement Bottom Liner System, Baffle, and Floating Cover

- Upcoming FGI Webinars

Dr. Stark Attends Chesapeake Containment Systems Annual Seminar

Tim Stark traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to give a presentation at the periodic geosynthetics conference organized by Chesapeake Containment Systems, Incorporated. This year’s conference is titled: “Geosynthetics 201”.Ryan Kamp opened the conference with a welcome and his presentation titled:“ What are Geosynthetics and What Do They Do?” (see Figure 1). Dr. Stark followed Ryan Kamp with a presentation that outlined the advantages of factory fabricated geomembranes, Columbus Upground Water Reservoir case history, and various design calculators developed by the FGI. Some of the calculators discussed are the factory fabricated Panel Weight Calculator, Pond Leakage Calculator, Geomembrane Defect Leakage Calculator, Installation Cost Comparison Calculator, and anchor trench design calculator.

Dr. Stark’s presentation was followed by an excellent presentation by Ken Daly of WSP and an Illinois alumni titled: “CCR Landfill Reclamation for Beneficial Reuse -Lessons learned and Practical Considerations”. There were a total of ten presentations and a Panel Discussion titled: “Considerations and Constructability for a Waste Containment Facility involving Geosynthetics”. The other presentations were:

·        Performance Examples of a Geomembrane with Integrated Drainage Capabilities-Containment & Closure – Chris Eichelberger of Agru-America

·        Exposed Geomembrane Cover System Applications Utilizing the Wind Defender Ballast System – Elliott Pugh of Wind Defender and Brad DeArment of ICS (see Figure 2)

·        Electrical Leak Location (ELL) – Planning and Preparation – Andrew Colby of BLE (see Figure 3)

·        Best Practices and Considerations for the Infill Components of the Closure Turf System – David Scherbaty of Air Pump East

·        Geosynethetic Performance Testing: Considerations and Analysis – JP Kline of Geotechnics Inc.

·        The Need for Mitigation in Your Containment Project – Andrew Plowman of Varicore Technologies

·        Innovative and Sustainable Engineering Solutions using Huesker Geosynthetics – Vona Ojaruega of Huesker

Dr. Stark tries to regularly meet with members and/or visit the facility of FGI members to better understand each member’s business and how the FGI can provide additional benefit to them. The FGI is an exciting advancement in the geomembrane industry and allows the Institute to focus on flexible geomembranes.

FGI Summer 2023 Newsletter Now Available

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Summer 2023 Newsletter Features:

FGI Creates New EIA Geomembrane Guideline

Project Spotlight: Tank Liner Replacement for Demineralized Water Storage

Women in Geosynthetics (WIG) Develops New Website

FGI Offering Online CQA Course & Certification Exam Monthly

FGI's Website - #1 Resource for Fabricated Flexible Geosynthetics

FGI Welcomes Megaplast USA Inc.

The Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI) is pleased to welcome its newest manufacturer member, Megaplast USA Inc. Megaplast USA Inc. is a leading supplier of high quality PE films like geomembranes and specialty films including LLDPE & extra flexible films. Megaplast is committed to provide its customers with tailor made solutions that maintain global standards across a plethora of industries. Megaplast USA Inc. is part of the Mega Group based in India, an industrial film and textile manufacturing conglomerate. Megaplast was established in 2007 and expanded its footprint in North America with a warehousing facility in Houston, Texas. The FGI liaison is Dhananjay Phadke, Marketing Manager, who can be reached at dhananjay.phadke@mega-group.inor www.megaplast-us.com. Please help us welcome Megaplast USA Inc. to the FGI!!!!

Amy Woods Recognized by Women in Geosynthetics

This month, we’re launching our new ✨Member Spotlight✨ program. Every month, we will honor one of the awesome women in the Geosynthetics industry. This months nomination is Amy Woods with Titan Environmental Containment & Titan USA ! Amy is a Technical Product Manager at Titan Environmental Containment. She has over 20 years of experience working in the geosynthetics field in both public and private sectors including municipal government, consulting and construction supply. She has spent the last 8 years focused on stormwater management and green infrastructure working with Contractors, Engineers and Owners to design solutions for low impact development projects. She is particularly passionate about protecting and enhancing the natural environment and using engineering techniques and new technologies to optimize this. She has managed projects in just about every region within Canada and the US and currently resides just outside of Toronto, Canada with her husband, two children and their new puppy.

Amy was nominated by a fellow WIG member. When asked why we thought she would make a great spotlight, the individual said “Amy was integral to my growth in the geosynthetics industry and really nurtured the idea of maintaining assertiveness in order to achieve growth within the company. I’ve seen Amy handle all types of situations and personalities with extreme grace. She’s such a talented and experienced Stormwater industry leader. The amount of projects that Amy has tackled single handily blows my mind, and she always took the time out to speak with me on a personal level, and get me the material I needed in a timely manner on a professional level.”Awesome work Amy! We’re so lucky to have you a part of our industry and a key WIG member!

If you would like to nominate someone for our member spotlight, please email Jordan Wiechmann at jwiechma@itape.com or Jen Miller at fabricatedgeomembrane@gmail.com.