Geosynthetics February/March 2021 - 15

Bituminous geomembranes
for ponds in mining
By Natalie Daly and Bernard Breul

B

itumen has emerged as a standard 20th-century waterproofing material in civil and water engineering in the form of bituminous concrete, asphalt and bituminous geomembranes. The first applications of
bituminous geomembranes (BGM) were in France in 1975 near Grenoble
and for potable water storage reservoirs at a 6,562-foot (2,000-m) altitude
in the Alps.

General presentation of BGM
The structure of BGM is multilayered, including a nonwoven polyester
geotextile at the core, which provides mechanical resistance and high
puncture resistance. This geotextile is impregnated in an elastomeric bitumen compound that provides the waterproofing properties and ensures
the product's longevity by impregnating the geotextile. The glass fleece,
also impregnated in the bitumen, provides the dimensional stability during
fabrication. The sand coating improves the resistance to ultraviolet (UV)
light and grip, and the antiroot film prevents puncturing from roots and
vegetation (Figure 2 on page 14).
Manufacturing is done under strict quality-control procedures certified under an ISO 9002 quality-assurance scheme and under a French and
European ASQUAL certification, and it is CE marked (European marked).
The factory, located in the north of France, operates with an ISO 14001
environmental certification.
Some technical characteristics of BGM giving advantages for a use in
pond projects include:
*	 Low permeability of 6 × 10-14 m/sec (ASTM E96).
*	 High mass per unit area between 124 and 189 ounces per square yard
(4.2 and 6.4 kg/m2), giving an important resistance to lifting in windy
regions and possible installation even in windy regions at high altitudes
(ASTM D3776).
*	 The density is 68 pounds per cubic foot (1.2 ton/m3), so BGM can be
installed underwater without floatation. The seams underwater are
welded with a mastic (ASTM D1505 and ASTM D792, Method A).

Natalie Daly, P.Eng, PMP, is
managing director-Eastern North
America for Axter-Coletanche in
Montreal, QC, Canada.
Bernard Breul, Eng., is a civil
engineer with Ecole Polytechnique
Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
and is based in Riom-èsMontagnes, France.
All figures courtesy of the authors.

www.GeosyntheticsMagazine.com

13


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Geosynthetics February/March 2021

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