Preventing Whales in Wastewater Lagoons

BTL has used geomembrane liners, including reinforced polyethylene (RPE) and reinforced polypropylene (RPP) effectively in wastewater lagoons. A relatively common issue in wastewater lagoons is the appearance of ‘whales’. Whales are large blisters of liner which have risen above the surface of the water. The appearance of whales indicates that there’s a leak in the geomembrane, which can easily become worse. When a leak in the geomembrane occurs, wastewater seeps through the liner and remains in the subgrade soil. Gases create when the water reacts with organic matter in the soil. If there is no way for gases to escape, they can collect under the liner surface. The collection of gases creates a bubble, which creates strain and further damages the liner as it surfaces. This often creates new leaks, and in turn accelerates further whale formation. It's possible to mitigate whale creation with proper preparation, installation and product selection in most situations.  

Proper preparation prevents future issues

Preparing a site properly for wastewater holding/treatment could possibly be the single most important step in the prevention of whales. The solution to preventing these is through the use of an underlying permeable material. The material captures and transports the gases up the side slopes, venting them into the atmosphere. Either geosynthetic or geocomposite material can do the job, but geosynthetics offer a more effective, convenient and economical alternative. Regulations in several states require a flat floor. When there is a leak in the geomembrane, wastewater and sludge can accumulate without a way to manage where and how the flow accumulates. Without a way to remove the wastewater, gases generate and can’t diffuse to the surface. The accumulated gases lift the liner, forming whales. The lagoon floor must also be sloped to a sump, or outlet pipe, for easy drainage of the leaked liquid. This slope, coupled with the geosynthetic or geocomposite leak drainage layer under the liner, allow draining down the gradient to a sump system, where the leak flow rate can be monitored and removed. This drainage system will also allow for effective dispersal of gases at the top of the slope sides. With the installed vents, monitoring the gases is also possible.  

Careful installation ensures successful results

In reality, good preparation is just an initial step of the installation. With the subgrade prepared properly, installation of the geomembrane liner becomes the next step. While the quality of the geomembrane is crucial to success, the job isn’t complete until it’s installed. Every geomembrane liner leaves the facility spark-tested. Quality assurance throughout the process, from delivery and deployment to installation of the material, is crucial to success. BTL Liners has been in the business of containment for over 35 years. We have developed lightweight geomembrane liners, which we can prefabricate in the facility, making installations more efficient. We have the experience to make the installation of wastewater lagoons successful and worry-free.  

BTL Liners makes product selection easy

The goal of an effective wastewater liner is zero leaks, and BTL Liners are the strongest geomembrane liners in the industry. BTL-40 is our proprietary double-scrim reinforced containment liner. It was originally developed for applications where puncture resistance and UV resistance is important. Often recognized as the strongest reinforced polyethylene liner material on the market today, BTL-40 has burst strength of 1250 PSI. BTL’s wastewater liners create a watertight system that’s strong, reliable and resistant to punctures.

There are many reasons to choose BTL Liners for wastewater lagoons. Here are a few:

- High strength, durability and puncture resistance - Superior UV protection - Chemical resistant properties – essential in wastewater lagoons - BTL Liners can fabricate liners in excess of 150,000 square feet, virtually eliminating the need for on-site welding - Possible to heat weld during fabrication at our facility or for larger projects on-site - Available in a variety of thicknesses - RPE liners are lighter weight than alternative materials Contact BTL Liners for more information about our reinforced polyethylene (RPE), reinforced polypropylene (RPP) geomembrane liners and specialty geosynthetics for wastewater lagoons and water treatment facilities.

Liners by BTL

AquaArmor Pond Liner

The most versatile liner on the market today, AquaArmor maximizes protection from harmful UV rays, tear resistance and punctures that cause leaks. Simply the best liner on the market.

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