Orlando, Fla. — 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,” commented 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.) 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 in Summit County, Colo.  From the late 1800s to the 1940s, dredging was the preeminent method of extracting gold in the area.  In this process of extraction, the valley floor was turned upside down as 70-90 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 3000 linear feet the Blue River, just north of Breckenridge, Colorado. Work included rechanneling the river, earthwork to reshape the original corridor, installation of river liner, backfilling and restoring the river corridor. The lining was comprised of installing 27 prefabricated 30 mil PVC blankets totaling 255,798 square feet.

Extreme Project Award

Cell #2 installation under a very tight time frame and inclement weather.

G.E. Environmental Solutions Inc. (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) for the Cell #2 Expansion. The Cell #2 Expansion was awarded the extreme award for 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 and this pushed this project into the cold weather installation, specifically mid-November in Northern Alberta, Canada. In addition to the sleet, snow and rain, the installer was 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 geocomposite, 495,000 square feet geomembrane, 366,000 square feet geosynthetic clay liner, 64,500 square feet geonet, and 64,500 square feet geotextile.

Innovative Project Award

Pearce Creek Dredge Disposal Facility Innovation Award

Hallaton Environmental Linings (Sparks, Md.) for Pearce Creek Dredge Disposal Facility.  The Pearce Creek placement site, owned and operated by the 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 the 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. Migration of this groundwater, which moves very slowly, 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.