Geosynthetics in barriers for hydrocarbon remediation in Antarctica

R. S. McWatters, D. Wilkins, T. Spedding, G. Hince, I. Snape, R.K. Rowe, D. Jones, A. Bouazza, W.P. Gates

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


An overview of geosynthetics used in contained treatment cells (biopiles) for remediation of two fuel spills at Casey station, Antarctica, is presented. The challenges associated with design and application in an Antarctic environment and areas of research are highlighted. This is the first instance of geosynthetics being used in Antarctica for remediation and research activities. Seven biopiles were constructed and the barrier system used different combinations of geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs), high density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes and geotextiles to investigate the best composite liner to manage hydrocarbon migration in the cold, dry and extreme climate. One biopile uses a co-extruded HDPE with ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) geomembrane; the first field site for this novel membrane. A geomembrane exposure test investigates the long-term performance with exposure to UV, solar radiation and atmosphere. Geosynthetics were also used in the vertical barrier system of permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) and separation barriers between contaminated and uncontaminated soils. Four generations of geotextile covers were used and discussed. Results from this project will provide the international Antarctic community with better informed options for managing and remediating contaminated sites originating from human impacts, whether legacy sites or modern sites.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Conference on Geosynthetics 2014 (10ICG)
Subtitle of host publicationBerlin, Germany, 21-25 September, 2014
EditorsMartin Ziegler, Kirsten Laackmann, Gerhard Brau, Georg Heerten
Place of PublicationEssen Germany
PublisherDeutsche Gesellschaft fur Geotechnik e.V.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9783981395396
ISBN (Print)9781510825086
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational Conference on Geosynthetics 2014 - Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 21 Sept 201425 Sept 2014
Conference number: 10th

Publication series

Name10th International Conference on Geosynthetics, ICG 2014


ConferenceInternational Conference on Geosynthetics 2014
Abbreviated titleICG 2014
Internet address


  • Biopiles
  • Cold regions engineering
  • GCL
  • Geomembranes
  • Hydrocarbon-contaminated soil

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