Construction Company GIDROKOR (Saint Petersburg) offers a design concept and applies specialized technology for the installation of impervious membranes made of modern geosynthetic materials.
The impervious membrane in question is actually an impermeable element that provides for structural waterproofing by adding underlying protective layers. The materials used in the installation of an insulating membrane must be almost entirely waterproof, resistant to chemical, biological, and even toxic substances, and technically and economically feasible for the site in question as well as appropriate for the surrounding hydro-geological and geo-technical conditions.
Designs for impervious membranes are varied: they include traditional
clay blankets and various combined approaches featuring geosynthetics.
designing and constructing environmental-protection facilities,
GIDROKOR applies specialized technology for the installation of
impervious membranes made of geosynthetics.
The application of modern, geosynthetic materials, in particular, geomembrane – rolled polymer sheets varying in thickness from 1.0 mm to 3.0 mm made of high-density (HDPE) and low-density (LDPE) polyethylene – is an essential element of landfills that comply with international industry standards. In fact, HDPE and LDPE geomembranes (as opposed to polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other geomembranes) have become an integral part of all international standards binding on the impervious membranes used in hydro installations, in particular, toxic industrial-waste collectors and production-consumption landfills.
HDPE and LDPE geomembrane specifications:
- high waterproofing properties with a filtration coefficient of 10-8mday;
- high stress-strain properties of up to 26 MPa (thanks to which the membranes can withstand a great deal of force and even be used as a reinforcing material);
- high tensile elongation of up to 800%, flexibility, shrink-resistance and crack-resistance (thereby ensuring the integrity of the filter-proof element even under significant post-collapse deformations);
- resistance to acids and bases within the 0.5 to 14 pH range and other chemical exposures;
- durability, resistance to temperatures ranging from -50°С to +60°С and UV resistance (the membranes contain no additives or fillers that could accelerate the aging process or undermine original physical-mechanical properties).
One of the advantages of geomembrane is its high-degree of technical efficiency. The width of a geomembrane roll measures just 6-7 m, which reduces the need for thermoform seams by semi-automatic welding equipment and dramatically cuts the number of extrusion welds made by hand at the seams. Standardized geomembranes have outstanding welding properties, resulting in assembly cost-savings – high welding speeds and the ability to arrange for the quality installation of up to 12,000 m2 per day. Convenience in terms of both transportation and storage.
Another important characteristic involves the well-developed practice of conducting a step-by-step assessment of materials and work – starting with passport-issuance for the raw materials used in fabrication of the geomembrane, followed by testing of the mechanical characteristics of each roll, and ending at the construction site with instrument testing and passport-issuance for welding seams.
All of the aforementioned criteria are satisfied by geomembranes made of high-density (HDPE) and low-density (LDPE) polyethylene manufactured in strict compliance with specialized professional international organizations such as the Geosynthetics Research Institute (GRI) at Drexel University in the USA, the principal industry authority. The world’s leading geomembrane manufacturers follow the uniform industry specifications developed by the Geosynthetics Research Institute – GRI GM 13 for geomembrane made of high-density polyethylene and GRI GM 17 for geomembrane made of low-density line polyethylene. Only then can the quality, reliability and efficacy of the material be assured. Strict standardization evidences a product with a comprehensive set of specific engineering characteristics. Any variation – even with respect to a single aspect – means OTHER membranes! None of the membranes produced by Russia today constitute materials analogous to the membranes manufactured by industry leaders abroad.
These standards represent the primary technical reference for all manufacturers on the international market. The standard was developed, first and foremost, for the USA and incorporates the methods of the ASTM testing system. In Europe, the GRI GM standard has been adapted to existing state standards. Note that HDPE geomembrane is an integral part of any impervious membrane system in use at domestic solid-waste landfills; that said, its minimum-acceptable thickness is 1.5 mm in the USA, 2 mm in EU countries, and 2.5 mm in Germany.
Today, all of the main polyethylene-geomembrane producers serving as corporate members in the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) and other professional associations are represented on the Russian market.
Оne of the world’s leading manufacturing companies is Solmax International Inc. (Canada).
- Solmax International Inc. was founded in 1981. Business area – production of geosynthetic materials, in particular – rolled-polymer geomembrane waterproofing, whose manufacture was launched in 1997.
- The structure of the company includes all of the services necessary to ensure stable production output, including an on-site laboratory for quality assurance testing and a research-and-development laboratory tasked with the development of new materials and the conducting of periodic and long-term testing.
- SOLMAX International Inc. holds quality-management certificate СА02/2694 ISO 9001-2008 valid through 04.2014 and environmental-management certificate СА09/3886.00 ISO 14001:2004 valid through 06.2012, issued by SGS Systems & Services Certification Canada Inc.
- For its polyethylene geomembrane, SOLMAX holds a Safety Certificate reflecting all of the standard criteria for material handing.
- SOLMAX International Inc. Is a corporate member of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS).
The use of geosynthetics in Russia reflects an adaptation of European technology. GIDROKOR was present at the birth of the Russian market for the use of geosynthetic materials in the design and construction of hydro installations. Back when the first such projects were still in their infancy, specialists were confronted with the realization that they would have to independently develop the regulatory framework that would allow engineering-designers to choose appropriate technical solutions, and clients to evaluate the quality of performed work.
In due consideration of the requirements of international quality standards governing the manufacture and installation of geomembranes as developed by GRI, the development of GOST 30547-97 “Rolled Waterproofing and Roofing Materials” was accompanied by TU5774-002-39504194-97 “Geomembrane Rolled Polymer Waterproofing,” as developed by Company specialists, which reflects the specific parameters and criteria by which material quality can be definitively evaluated. The document long served as the sole Russian regulatory document reflecting the requirements of international quality standards governing the manufacture and installation of geomembranes – GRI GM 13 for geomembranes made of high-density polyethylene and GRI GM 17 for geomembranes made of low-density polyethylene.
Solmax International Inc. (Canada) geomembranes are mass produced in accordance with the requirements of the International Geosynthetics Society and the manufacturer’s in-house quality-control system, and in compliance with TU5774-002-39504194-97 (with amendments 1, 2), and possess all of the necessary and sufficient characteristics permitting the use of this type of product in the construction of complex environmental-protection installations and facilities.
- SOLMAX products were first introduced to the Russian market in 2001 by St. Petersburg-based GIDROKOR, at which time geomembranes sold under this brand were issued their first GOST R certificate;
- In 2010, following a scheduled manufacturing inspection and a fault-free evaluation of the system for the control and stability of output quality, and based on the findings of laboratory testing of the entire product line of SOLMAX-brand geomembranes made of high-density and low-density polyethylene and related accessories, the RF Federal Agency of Technical Regulation and Metrology issued Certificate of Conformity No. ROSS SA. SL90.Н00080 - GOST R, valid through 17.08.2013;
- SOLMAX geomembranes also have Certificate of Conformity No. RSS SA. PR50.Р00072 – ROSSTROSERTIFIKATSIYA and Health-and-Safety Report No. 78.01.06.577.P.008934.05.10 dated 28.05.2010, enclosed with Expert Opinion No. 78.01.09.577.P.3124 dated 06.08.2010.
Strict standardization in the manufacture of geomembrane is an exclusive feature of this class of materials. All manufacturers of polyethylene geomembranes are obliged to adhere to the uniform specifications developed by the International Geosynthetics Society – GRI GM13 for HDPE geomembranes (HDP, HDPE) and GM17 for LDPE geomembranes (LDP, LDPE, VFPE). Thus, the term “geomembrane” refers not merely to polyethylene film, but to a product with a full set of specific engineering characteristics.
One of the most important features of geomembranes is the fact that the reliability of installations constructed therewith is supported not just by the characteristics of the material itself, but first and foremost by the quality of assembly, i.e. the quality with which the individual panels of the geomembrane are welded into a continuous, filter-proof membrane. Insofar as the filter-proof membrane is a vital structural element of any structure, only accredited specialists should take part in its installation.
The International Association of Geosynthetics Installers (IAGI) is an organization created to unite all leading geosynthetics installers. It is comprised of more than two hundred corporate members worldwide, and the standard quality-control procedures developed by the Association are an integral part of any design documentation prepared in North America, Europe and the Middle East. IAGI membership means strict standardization of the quality of materials, installation, welding, and step-by-step instrument control of the quality of performed work with a full-service guarantee.
- In 1997, together with the Vedeneev All-Russia Hydro-Engineering Research Institute and the St. Petersburg Research Institute of the Panfilov Public-Utilities Academy, OOO GIDROKOR developed the first “Recommendations on the Design and Construction of Impervious Membranes Using Polymer Geomembranes” in Russia. The document has been reissued twice and retains its currency to this day.
- In 2005, GIDROKOR sent a set of documents to GLAVGOSEXPERTIZA entitled “Use of Geomembrane Made of High-Density and Low-Density Polyethylene in Construction.” Summary Opinion No. 7065-05/GGE-2968/03 dated 08.09.2005 is on file.
It was GIDROKOR which first introduced modern polymer geomembranes to the Russian market and the respective technology to the practice of designing and constructing environmental-protection facilities.
Among the first domestic facilities featuring the use of geosynthetic materials was the tailings pond developed by GIDROKOR in 1996 when reconstructing the zero-discharge water system for the Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Plant. Installation of the impervious membrane included the use of a 1.0 mm-thick, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembrane manufactured by NSC (USA) and an imported geotextile fabric with a density of 300g/m².
Between 2001 and 2011, Solmax geomembranes have been used on the RF AND CIS market, among other applications, at the solid-waste and oil-slurry landfill complex at NPZ KINEF (2001), for the dry shutdown of the Mir diamond mine held by ALROSA (2003), in the development of tailings operations at the Ulbinsk Metallurgy Plant in Kazakhstan (2003-2006), in the refurbishment of the impervious membrane for the tanker battery at the De-Kastri Oil Export Terminal (2010), and many other sites.
Overall, GIDROKOR has “packed-up” hundreds of sites using geomembrane in various climactic zones throughout Russia, including in permafrost zones and CIS countries (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan).
The technical parameters of polyethylene geomembranes and their performance capabilities under facility operation allow for the successful application of such impervious membranes in the design and construction of landfills for various hazard-levels of production and consumer waste, reservoir insulation, oil-slurry landfills, ash dumps, technical reservoirs, protective dams, and other industrial-complex installations, in the development of oil-and-gas and mining deposits, in agriculture, and in the waterproofing of underground and buried installations.
It should be noted that quality materials and professional installation do not, in and of themselves, guarantee the reliability and effectiveness of the finished structure. The determining factor is the overall soundness of adopted design solutions. Thus, geomembranes should be viewed not as a material, but as a technology.