Attapulgite: A Clay Liner Solution?

by William R. Tobin, Project Manager; McBride-Ratcliff & Assoc., Houston, TX 77040,
Paul Wild, Project Chemist; McBride-Ratcliff & Assoc., Houston, TX 77040,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 2, Pg. 56-58

Document Type: Feature article


Poor performance of clay liners at waste management facilities has resulted in the EPA mandate of synthetic polymeric liner materials to comply with zero penetration requirements. Laboratory testing of clay soils with highly concentrated waste compounds have also shown dramatic permeability increases. However, clay as a solution to flexible membrane liners may also present construction and durability concerns. Attapulgite may be the solution to conventional clay liner problems. Index testing has shown that this natural clay is more stable than bentonite upon contact with fluids with a low dielectric constant, a high electrolyte concentration, and multivalent cations. In one of its first applications in the U.S., attapulgite slurry was used to construct a cutoff trench to contain chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds.

Subject Headings: Clay liners | Permeability (soil) | Clays | Waste management | Laboratory tests | Soil tests | Penetration tests | Environmental Protection Agency

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