Awards showcase geosynthetics projects

    The Pearce Creek Dredge Disposal Facility received the Innovative Project Award.

    Members of the International Association of Geosynthetic Installers (IAGI), a not-for-profit geotechnical professional association dedicated to bettering geosynthetic installation and construction technologies, recently announced its winners of the 2017 IAGI Installation Awards. The awards, presented during Geosynthetics 2017 in Orlando, Fla., recognize exceptional work by geosynthetic installers. There were two award categories, Innovative and Extreme. The entry that got the greatest number of votes from the judges is the Award of Excellence winner. 

    “The IAGI Installation Awards recognize those IAGI members who make significant contributions to the field of geosynthetics installation. So often the installer gets forgotten in the discussion of a project,” said Laurie Honnigford, managing director of IAGI. “In reality, a project is a set of plans on a piece of paper until the installer gets involved. The installer can make or break a project and we need to recognize those who improve and advance our industry.”

    Award of Excellence

    Simbeck and Associates (Mancos, Colo.) received the Award of Excellence for the Blue River Restoration project. The Blue River, which feeds Dillon Reservoir and eventually connects with the Colorado River, is one of several tributaries heavily affected by mining operations. From the late 1800s to the 1940s, dredging was the predominant method of extracting gold in the area. In this process, the valley floor was turned upside down as 70 to 90 feet of cobble was brought to the surface and exposed. The practice was repeated up and down the valley — decimating the river and meadows that were once home to an abundance of wild flowers and animals.

    The project involved reconstruction and restoration of approximately 3,000 linear feet of the Blue River just north of Breckenridge, Colo. Work included rechanneling the river, earthwork to reshape the original corridor, installation of river liner, backfilling, and restoring the river corridor. Lining installation involved 27 prefabricated, 30-mil PVC blankets totaling 255,798 square feet.

    Extreme Project Award

    G.E. Environmental Solutions Inc. (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) received the Extreme Project Award for the Cell #2 Expansion because of the number of obstacles the installer had to overcome while completing this project under a compressed timeframe. The start of the project was delayed due to rain, which pushed this project into cold weather installation, specifically mid-November in Northern Alberta, Canada.

    In addition to the sleet, snow, and rain, the installer spent extensive time educating the general contractor about the need for maintaining quality installation. Further, no light plants were available, so the time for installation was limited to daylight hours. In mid-November in Northern Alberta there is approximately eight hours of sunlight to work with. Another challenge was the irregular shape of Cell #2. Within 24 working days, G.E. Environmental had to install 522,000 square feet of geocomposite, 495,000 square feet of geomembrane, 366,000 square feet of geosynthetic clay liner, 64,500 square feet of geonet, and 64,500 square feet of geotextile.

    Innovative Project Award

    Hallaton Environmental Linings (Sparks, Md.) received the Innovative Project Award for the Pearce Creek Dredge Disposal Facility. The Pearce Creek placement site, owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, received dredged material from the C&D Canal’s approach channels at various times between 1937 and 1993. The Corps plans to reactivate the site for placement of dredged material from the federal navigation channel.

    However, in 2013 the U.S. Geological Survey found that a missing or thin layer of clay beneath the site contributed to the entry of degraded water into the underlying aquifers. Slow migration of this groundwater had gradually impacted water quality in some residential wells. When the Pearce Creek site was reactivated, substantial safeguards will be in place to protect and monitor surface water and groundwater quality. The geosynthetic liner will prevent any further impacts from dredged material by preventing it from entering the groundwater system.

    Information provided by the International Association of Geosynthetic Installers (