December 13, 2017

Ensuring the integrity of geomembranes

 Companies involved in the handling of waste water must pay special attention to the correct containment of pollutants through suitable geomembranes that have been correctly installed, maintained and monitored.

Geomembrane quality and installation specialist, Nadia Minnaar, managing director of NGQ Consulting, explains that ever-tightening requirements for the containment and handling of waste materials requires careful management to avoid falling foul of environmental legislation and regulations. Not only are severe penalties in place to punish offenders, but may cause reputation damage that may prove to be costlier in the long run.

She says mitigation of these risks has led to companies involved in the specification, construction and management of containment areas taking extra precautions to ensure that their facilities are 100% compliant and regularly monitored to ensure that the ever-important linings remain fully functional at all times.

Specialist guidance

“These companies are increasingly seeking independent professional assistance when constructing containment facilities to ensure that the total construction process is carried out in accordance with design requirements within legal and regulatory requirements. Independent or third party quality assurance and quality control has now become part of the construction process and along with that comes the ability to detect any leakage of waste or clean water from these containment areas.

“The legal and regulatory requirements of South Africa regarding the handling and containment of waste and water are very clear and the issues of mining rights, water usage, water licencing, waste control, pollution prevention and health and safety has caused companies handling waste water, as well as design engineers and construction companies to ensure compliance and put guarantees in place for clients.

“This has given rise to a whole new breed of specialist consulting firms such as ours who are able to monitor, in real time, the daily installation and progress of all geomembrane materials on site through custom designed software programs.  These state-of-the-art cloud based quality assurance and control programmes address every aspect as set out in international standards, SANS 10409 and material manufacturers installation guides,” says Nadia.

Quality counts

In addition, modern day consultants can act as an independent, third party Construction Quality Assurance professional on behalf of the company, its appointed engineer or the construction contractor or installer on site. They are also able to provide independent inspections for geomembrane installation on-site during receiving, throughout field installation and during any remediation processes.

“Our QA/QC services are an essential element that helps to ensure a compliant project with the correct geomembrane installation methods in place. We are also able to verify geomembrane installation procedures as well as certifying the safety, purity and integrity of installed materials. We make sure that all project-specific requirements, CQA plan requirements, industry best practices and internal specifications are met.  We also ensure compliance with current national and international standards as well as with legal and regulatory requirements.

“Third party consultants should also be technically qualified to determine lining-material compliance, lining-surface preparation, as well as ensuring installation methods are correct. Thereafter to undertake daily quality control testing and live monitoring of the installation process.

Leak detection

In addition to consulting services the company is also able to undertake electrical liner integrity surveys and assessments, also known as leak-location surveys or electrical-leak detection. These are post-installation quality control method for detecting leaks in installed geomembranes.

This type of service is imperative for the long-term protection of groundwater and the maintenance of water resources. These state-of-the-art electrical leak-detection survey techniques are increasingly being specified by environmental authorities, as well as site owners to either forestall future liability or as proponents of responsible environmental stewardship

Nadia concludes that the services offered by NGQ Consulting is designed to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget, as well as ensuring compliance with all statutory requirements. “In this industry the only way to mitigate risk is through a comprehensive quality management system that is transparent and allows all the participants involved in the project access to the platform.”

NGQ Consulting, Nadia Minnaar, Tel: +27 79 875 5691, Email:, Web:


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