First Aid Geomembrane Repair Best Practices and Recommendations
Written by Glenn Eckert | Manager, Engineering Business Management Group
Occasionally geomembranes fail, requiring repair for a small leak or tear. When this happens, a trained technician needs to determine the geomembrane type and appropriate welding procedure. Sometimes, due to a job site's remoteness, seasonal issues, timing, or merely the severity of the damage, this is not a viable option. This technote offers suggestions to manage the situation until the leak or tear can be fully repaired.
The first step in any liner repair is to isolate, clean, and dry the area around the tear. Once the area is adequately prepared, it may require no more than a section of tape to be placed over the small rip or tear. In many cases, a strip of tape over the damaged area will be all that is required. Single-sided geomembrane repair tape is distributed by Layfield in a 6" width.
For larger tears, Layfield suggests using the "Band-Aid" approach. In this technique, a section of the geomembrane is used as a patch over the damaged area. The geomembrane patch can be salvaged from a non-critical section of the geomembrane or sourced directly from Layfield. This technique uses a taped seam rather than welding. The repair patch does not necessarily need to match precisely to the damaged geomembrane material.
The damaged area is again isolated, cleaned, and dried; the area requiring cleaning must equal the area of the geomembrane patch, plus 3-4" around the circumference to ensure a clean surface to maximize the tape adhesion. 2" double-sided tape is applied to the perimeter of the patch. The patch is placed down over the damaged section, similar to using a Band-Aid on a skinned knee. As an added layer of insurance, Layfield suggests placing an additional strip of geomembrane repair tape centred over the flat seam.
If the area under repair is relatively flat, Layfield suggests placing a compressive load over the area to secure a leak-proof seal. A few shovel loads of gravel or a 2' x 2' cement paving block available from hardware stores would be an excellent choice for this.
Only use these techniques as temporary measures until a trained Layfield technician can properly address and repair the damaged geomembrane. Layfield technicians are fully trained in all aspects of geomembrane installation, welding, and testing geomembranes.