NY.gov Portal State Agency Listing Search all of NY.gov
D E C banner
D E C banner

Disclaimer

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Landfill Liner and Cover Systems-The Geomembrane

A geomembrane is an essentially impermeable membrane used with foundation, soil, rock, earth or any other geotechnical engineering-related material as an integral part of a structure or system designed to limit the movement of liquid or gas in the system.

Geomembrane shown in a landfill expansion
Fifty-six acre landfill expansion project showing the upper geomembrane of the
liner system exposed on the side slopes.
liner applied
Application of a geo-
membrane liner above
a low permeability
clay foundation.
liner seam sealed
Geomembrane liner
seams are sealed in
the field with a high
temperature "wedge weld."
liner seam tested
Vacuum testing one
of several ways that
seams between geo-
membrane panels
are tested.
liner covered
A leachate collection
layer is placed above
the geomembrane.

The selection of a particular geomembrane polymer in a landfill liner system or cover system is a task for the landfill design engineer. One of the factors that the design engineer must consider is the projected service life of the particular geomembrane polymer selected, as the service life of a different geomembrane polymers can vary widely. Other factors to consider are typical mechanical properties to help ensure veneer stability as well as the durability of the geomembrane.

The geomembrane used in the landfill liner systems must be 60 mil thick and must be made of a material (such as high density polyethylene (HDPE)) that is extremely low in permeability. The material must also have chemical and physical characteristics that are not adversely affected by the placement of waste or by contact with leachate.

Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) are materials typically specified for geomembranes in solid waste landfill cover systems. The minimum regulatory requirements for a geomembrane barrier used in landfill final cover system is that it must be a minimum of 40 mils thick, if comprised of LLDPE, or a minimum of 60 mils thick if it is comprised of HDPE. The 60 mil minimum thickness for HDPE geomembranes is to address the fact that it is difficult to achieve proper field seams of HDPE geomembranes if they are thinner than 60 mils.


  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8678.
  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC
    Division of Materials Management
    Bureau of Permitting and Planning
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-7260
    518-402-8678
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions