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Value of Enhanced Barrier System - Absolute Barrier EVOH Geomembranes


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Enhanced Barrier System Contains Fuels and Solvents for Recycling Site

By Chris Kelsey and Gary Kolbasuk - Published in Land and Water Magazine - Link to PDF of full article HERE.

Auto-related environmental concerns are generally focused on fuel efficiency and emissions, but one must also consider the end of life for vehicles and their final disposal. The United States has more than 250 million registered passenger vehicles actively on the road. Millions of other vehicles have been retired over the past 100 years. Disposal of these vehicles, with their diverse metals, fuels and fluids, presents a strong environmental challenge.

Some aspects of cars and trucks may be readily reused. For example, there are facilities that chop the “fluff” within cars—e.g., seats, carpets—and reuse that fluff for applications such as landfill cover. Scrap yards and the secondary parts market remove additional elements, but a responsible disposal site must eventually be found.

When a new auto shredder operation was proposed near New Carlisle, Indiana, the operators took an extra step to secure permitting and assure locals of the environmental protection measures at the site. They installed a secondary containment geomembrane barrier beneath a hardscape pad to prevent metal, fuel and fluid contamination of soils and groundwater.

Further, they chose a geomembrane with an internal EVOH layer to enhance the barrier’s protection against gas and VOCs migration.


EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) is relatively new as a barrier layer option within geomembranes, but various types of extruded film and sheet have utilized EVOH for enhanced gas barrier performance for years. Food packaging, for example, has utilized EVOH to ensure product freshness. That may seem like a stretch of an association, but it provides a very good, easy-to-understand example of the concept behind gas barrier layer performance within a sheet or film.

Food packaging is a “throw-away” item for most people; but it is often a complexly layered product. Each layer performs a special function to control humidity, gas, temperature, etc.

As you scale up that concept, you find the highly effective vapor protection barriers beneath commercial and residential constructions. Those vapor barriers often use EVOH layers to heighten performance against radon, methane, and other harmful VOCs.

Geomembranes are even more highly engineered, and their utilization in the waste management has helped that sector become the most advanced sector of engineering in the United States (as measured by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report on American Infrastructure). Yet, even 60-mil high-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes are not tremendously effective at preventing gas migration—notably, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), with which vehicle and other industrial wastes are highly associated......Read full article on the Land and Water site by clicking HERE.


Contractor: C & E Excavating, Inc. Installer: D2 Land & Water Resource Distributor: International Waste Transport Manufacturer/Fabricator: Raven Industries Geomembrane: 201,217 sq. ft. of Absolute Barrier® EB25BS 25-mil
Chris Kelsey is a writer and editor with Geosynthetica (www.geosynthetica.net). Gary Kolbasuk is Principal Scientist for Raven Industries Engineered Films Division (www.ravenefd.com).