Containing Contaminants (Available Only in Geoenvironmental Special Issue)

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor in Chief; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 5, Pg. 14A-16A

Document Type: Feature article


The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy are currently in favor of containing contaminants and either remediating on site or simply capping such materials within barriers. There are a large number of containment methods currently in use. Among these are various types of slurry walls, soil mixed walls, and geomembrane barriers. Sometimes these materials are combined. Both agencies and the DuPont Company of Wilmington, Delaware, are conducting research and demonstration projects on containment technology. One application that has reached the commercial stage is that of vertical membrane barriers, and one advance is in equipment designed to simultaneously trench and install the membrane via a spool. Several applications of this patented Polywall technique are described, both for hazardous wastes, and for preventing leakage at non-hazardous sites. Such walls can be keyed into an underlying confining bed to seal off contaminated sites. Another approach to using vertical membranes in smaller panels is also described, developed by the GSE Company of Houston, Texas, which also conducted research to improve permeability characteristics and joint sealing methods.

Subject Headings: Membranes | Pollutants | Occupational safety | Waste sites | Walls | Trenches | Soil mixing

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