The marketing materials of alternative cover options like floating ballasts may convince you that geomembrane floating covers require a lot of maintenance. This is far from the truth. Even in challenging conditions, with a lot of rain or snowfall, most floating covers made from geomembranes only need attention every six months to once a year. Labor intensive maintenance chores like cleaning the surface are rarely needed more than once a year. With a little attention at the right times, your floating covers can stay like new and you can prevent leaks of both liquids and gases from escaping the pond.
Cleaning Off Debris and Dirt
The most important maintenance task for keeping a floating cover like new is the annual deep clean. Removing as much dirt, dust, and debris from the surface during this cleaning is the best way to maintain appropriate UV resistance and to encourage rapid water flow to the sump pumps. When even small bits of debris like twigs, leaves, and food wrappers build up in the channels of the floating cover, water drains more slowly and starts to weight down the cover. When debris is carried along by the flow to a pump, it can clog it. Remove debris annually and consider increasing the intervals of cleaning if the pond cover seems to be accumulating a lot of dirt or trash before the year is up.
Clearing Out Vents and Pumps
Vents should be checked annually since they’re often attractive to birds and rodents looking for places to nest. Even just leaves or other debris falling into the vents can block them until gas builds up under the cover instead. Pumps that drain water from the top of the cover deserve attention on a quarterly to monthly basis, depending on the volume of rainfall received and the amount of debris that accumulates on the liner. If a lot of leaves and twigs end up gathering in the fall, you may need weekly pump checks to ensure they’re not clogged by bits of debris sucked up in the process. Clogged pumps can allow a cover to fail and sink, so keep them running smoothly for even distribution of weight during a storm.
Removing Accumulated Snow
In areas with heavy snowfall, it may be necessary to manually remove accumulated snow at certain points. This is impossible to do with hand tools alone, even on small tanks and ponds, so consider an automated clearing system with rakes and rails if you think heavy snowfall will be a regular issue. If it’s a one-time event like a blizzard, crane suspended equipment is available to rent that can carefully clear away snow loads without damaging the cover. Floating covers may need rails and other heavy duty supports rather than just foam floats if snow fall is heavy and constant throughout the winter.
Adjusting Tension and Drainage
Tension systems go beyond the basic float and weight design to use springs or other devices to pull the liner taut from the edges. This is similar to how trampolines are held in tension. As with a trampoline cover, the floating cover that’s under tension is at more risk of ripping or tearing over time if a low quality, inferior product is selected. If you plan to use a tensioned system to improve drainage and get less sagging in the center of a large cover, make sure you choose a durable and reinforced cover material. Non-reinforced geomembranes are likely to stretch, deform, or tear when kept under this amount of pressure day after day. RPE is a great choice because it’s both highly durable on its own and reinforced for further stretch control.
Don’t let the idea of occasional maintenance steer you away from tried and tested designs of floating covers. Geomembranes only need annual to monthly maintenance at the most, and generally these tasks require more inspection time than actual hands-on work. Choosing one of BTL Liners industry leading, reliable, high quality cover materials will further reduce maintenance.