A geocomposite barrier for hydrocarbon containment in the Arctic

Richard J. Bathurst, Kerry R. Rowe, Barbara Zeeb, Ken Reimer

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The paper describes the background and remediation steps that were taken to contain migration of a subsurface hydrocarbon contaminant plume at a site in the Canadian Arctic. A composite liner consisting of a novel fluorine surface-treated high-density polyethylene geomembrane and a geosynthetic clay liner was selected as the short-term (several years) barrier solution. The paper describes the design details, the selection criteria, and the challenges that were overcome to install the barrier system. A complimentary program of site monitoring is underway together with a parallel program of laboratory testing investigating the long-term effects of freeze-thaw, low temperatures, and contact with jet fuel on specimens of the barrier components. Results from site monitoring show that the barrier system is performing as planned three years after installation. Laboratory tests completed to date show that the geosynthetic barrier materials can be expected to maintain acceptably low rates of hydrocarbon diffusion and advection well beyond the original 3-year design life of the barrier system.


Geosynthetics, barrier, hydrocarbon containment, Arctic, geomembrane, Geosynthetic Clay Liner

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