The North American Geosynthetics Society and the Geosynthetic Materials Association co-sponsored a day and half seminar in Syracuse, NY on the design of waste containment systems on March 22 and 23rd. Over 100 attendees with representatives from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, the New Jersey State Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Maryland State Dept. of the Environment, and US EPA’s Region 2 Headquarters, graduate students and their professor from Syracuse University, several landfill owners and operators, design consultants, contractors, and manufacturers/suppliers of various geosynthetic materials also participated.
Dr. Richard Brachman, Queen’s University, and president-elect of NAGS, was the lead lecturer. Robert Phaneuf, NYS DEC’s Division of Materials Management, presented overviews of the proposed revisions to New York State’s solid waste regulations, 6 NYCRR Part 360, as they relate to landfill liner and final cover systems. Mr. Phaneuf also provided a brief introduction of the points of interest from a New York State regulatory perspective for each of Dr. Brachman’s design topic lectures. Abigail Beck, TRI Environmental, provided information on electrical leak detection with a video demonstration of the test, and guidance in designing an electrical leak detection program. The program concluded with a panel representing three consultant firms presenting “Take Home Points” from the design consultant perspective. The panel members included Cory McDowell, representing Baron and Loguidice, D.P.C, Bradford Smith, representing GHD Consulting Services, Inc., and Mark Swyka, representing Cornerstone Environmental Group.
Providing sponsorships from the Geosynthetic Materials Association membership were GSE, Inc., Agru Americas, Titan, and Terrifix. Sponsorship included the opportunity for table top displays¸ along with a fifteen-minute time slot during meals to speak about projects that their companies had been involved with. Upon adjourning the seminar, Mr. Phaneuf expressed appreciation on behalf of the Division of Materials Management to the seminar sponsors (NAGS and GMA) for bringing this training opportunity to a New York State location and providing a venue where both regulators and design engineers have an opportunity learn together at a very reasonable cost.Comments across the board from participants, whether from the youngest in regards to experience, or from the seasoned practitioner were that the seminar was timely and well worth the day and half. See the comment from the graduate students below.
“We found the technical seminar both comprehensive and enjoyable. As graduate students, it was stimulating as well as valuable to not only learn about the proper selection, design and construction of geosynthetic materials being used in today’s landfill liner and final cover systems but also be cognizant of the many reasons for failures encountered in real projects. The opportunity enabled us to widen our knowledge of the fundamentals when it comes to landfill engineering, design, and construction—while complementing that knowledge with the technological tools, techniques, and advances available to us today, as well as get the unique opportunity to understand the many regulatory concerns associated with each area of discussion.”
A comment from one of the regulators in attendance: “Simply the best professional technical training opportunity that I have had while being at the DEC”.