Geomembrane Leak Detection Technology Explained in a Nutshell.


What is a Geomembrane?

A geomembrane is a giant sheet of heavy-duty plastic*, they come in different thicknesses and sizes depending on the intended use (normally between 1mm and 3mm thick and around 8m wide x several hundred metres long). Their main job is to function as a barrier, they line ponds, landfills, canals, industrial roofs etc to contain liquids like water or waste from leaking out and contaminating the soil or groundwater.

In today’s world, geomembranes play a vital role in environmental protection. However, even the best geomembrane products are at very high risk of being damaged during the covering / filling process. In addition, over time minor damage can deteriorate, leading to leaks. Early discovery of geomembrane damage is essential to minimise environmental impact and loss of product, whilst minimising clean-up costs and maximising geomembrane life span.

Electronic Leak Location

ELL is a testing method that uses electrical signals to detect and pinpoint leaks in geomembranes with exceptional precision.

Here’s How it Works in a Nutshell:

A low-voltage electrical signal is applied in such a way that the geomembrane should block transmission of the electricity.

The entire area is scanned using the appropriate choice of system.

Irregularities in the anticipated behaviour of the electrical signals tend to be caused by a leak through the geomembrane are detected and precisely located.

This method offers several advantages such as:

  • ELL can pinpoint even the smallest leaks, ensuring effective repairs and minimal disruption to the client’s business, or the geomembrane itself
  • ELL does not damage the geomembrane, being a form of non-destructive testing, which further maintaining its integrity and lifespan.
  • ELL can scan large areas, keep things running smoothly, and finish the job quickly.
  • ELL technology is safe to use on all geomembranes.

*A small number made of rubber, conduct electricity thereby preventing the use of ELL.

The Importance of Early Leak Detection

Early detection of leaks in geomembranes is crucial for several reasons:

  • Minimises Environmental Impact: By promptly addressing leaks harmful chemicals are prevented from contaminating soil and water in the surrounding areas.
  • Reduces Repair Costs: Early detection allows for repairs before leaks worsen and require more extensive work.
  • Ensures Project Integrity: Maintaining a leak-free geomembrane, protects the overall performance and longevity of your asset.
  • Reduces Project Carbon Footprint: If the project is done right first time the project will not need to be repeated in the future.
  • Saves Valuable Product: Whilst gold, copper or uranium is in liquid / pregnant solution form (e.g. during the mining process at leach pad stage) it can easily escape back to the ground. Operational damage to geomembranes typically costs the mining industry around $30,000 per hectare / $12,000 per acre.

Safeguarding Our Environment and Society: The Ripple Effect of Leak Detection

Geomembrane leak detection is therefore good for the environment and wider society too:

  • Leaks can be bad for the environment. Imagine waste from landfills or ponds seeping into watercourses and lakes contaminating the water that feed the crops we eat. Leak detection helps prevent these environmental disasters which in turn keeps our planet healthy.
  • Geomembranes along with ELL can prevent the seepage, or percolation that can affect the stability of a dam, sometimes eventually causing failure and collapse
  • Industrial leaks can also contaminate drinking water, which is truly awful thought (as depicted in the film ‘Erin Brockovich’ based on a true story)
  • When Geomembranes are working properly, they help conserve resources and promote sustainable practices. Leak detection helps prevent pollutants from entering the environment, saving us from having to use even more resources to clean up later.
  • Nobody likes unexpected costs! Uncontrolled leaks can lead to difficult clean-up operations and expensive fines. Early detection helps avoid these financial headaches and allows for quick fixes.

How Sensor Can Help

We are committed to providing comprehensive leak detection solutions for geomembrane installations. Our advanced ELL technology, coupled with our team’s expertise, ensures:

  • Accurate and reliable leak detection
  • Fast and efficient project completion
  • Minimal disruption to your operations

Contact Sensor today to discuss your specific leak detection needs and discover how we can help you safeguard your project’s integrity, whilst saving you money and helping the environment. CONTACT