Landfills, containment ponds, and other similar manmade installations often feature a liner between it and the earth. This synthetic material is meant to prevent leaks that could cause washout-related property damage, or worse, contaminate drinking water. However, even with careful quality control during installation, most liners have leaks. Rapid, accurate leak detection and pinpointing – particularly for new landfill cells, leachate lagoons, or waste impoundments – can prevent costly site closures, delayed permitting/opening schedules, and cleanup costs. Even for ponds containing benign materials such as irrigation or drinking water, leaks can cause costly site damage from washouts or sinkholes.

RETTEW has developed a modified geoelectric leak detection method for finding leaks – from an improperly welded seam to an actual puncture – in any highly electrically resistive liner material. Generally, electrically isolated single liners can be tested using this method. In double-lined systems, the upper liner can be tested geoelectrically if the detection zone between the liners contains an electrically conductive material or can be flooded. For liner systems with no protective cover, we have developed water-jet electrodes that can be trained on seams or suspect areas to check for leaks.

RETTEW has completed leak detection surveys on lined cells ranging in size from a few hundred square feet to hundreds of acres, with surface conditions ranging from bare liner, to gravel or soil cover, to flooded cells. All surveys employ GPS location control to ensure precise mapping of identified leaks so they can be exposed and repaired.