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Ponds are ubiquitous bodies of water that often serve a specific, built purpose. Some serve ecological needs like habitat restoration or water retention. Others, like water gardens and koi ponds, are decorative. Ponds can also fulfill human needs such as water treatment, thermal storage, or farming. In every case, pond constructions need careful consideration in how to manage everything from water quality and nutrient levels, to water retention and erosion.
Ponds working as reservoirs to hold animal or industrial waste or runoff, need added forms of containment. Pond liners are among the most essential elements in waste containment. And while there are no shortages of pond liner choices, each type has its unique set of advantages. Today, pond liners made of reinforced polyethylene (RPE), ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are available. In this article, we will explore the merits of each liner.
Reinforced polyethylene pond liners
Despite their strength, RPE liners are lightweight and have half the thickness of other liners, making them easy to transport and install. Although they are not as flexible as EPDM or other liners, they still fold well and do not need underlayment. Separate sheets can be fusion welded together.
Ethylene propylene diene monomer pond liners
EPDM has been the go-to material for pond liners thanks to its UV resistance and flexibility. The material is safe for both fish and plants and give the essential impermeability necessary for a pond liner. Unfortunately, it suffers from some drawbacks. The material’s poor puncture resistance as reported by the Geosynthetics Institute leads to frequent maintenance, which means it is less cost-effective than the other liners in the long-term. EPDM liners are also the heaviest, making it expensive to ship and more labor-intensive to install.
HDPE pond liners
HDPE pond liners are both tough and flexible, with high resistance to chemicals and corrosion. HDPE liners are among the most durable and long-lasting polyethylene liners on the market. They can be fusion weld together, forming permanent seals in the field. The fusion welding aspect requires an experienced welder and related equipment to ensure a quality installation. HDPE liners are safe for both fish and plants. Overall, HDPE liners are very cost-effective and have among the highest service lifespan of all polyethylene liners.
Regardless of what liner material you choose, RPE, EDPM, and HDPE are each a competitive choice for you pond. But if you are curious in moving forward with HDPE liner for your next pond product, keep in mind that there are differences even among liners of the same category.
Choosing the right HDPE liner for your next pond
While HDPE liners offer a host of advantages as a pond liner, not all are equal. Even liners of the same material can show significant differences in performance. Setting test methods, standards of practice, and product specifications for the manufacturing, design, and installation of geosynthetics like HDPE liner are among the purviews of the Geosynthetic Institute (GSI). If you are seeking to work with HDPE liner, ensure that your selected product meets the GRI GM 13 test values.
AGRU HDPE Smooth Liner not only exceeds GRI GM13 test values, making it a highly reliable and effective material for lining ponds, but also receives frequent third-party testing for added quality control. Smooth Liner is available in thicknesses between 30 and 100 mils and can be coextruded with a color or specialty surface for unique properties. A conductive layer, for instance, enables Construction Quality Assurance Testing for holes, punctures, tears, cuts, cracks, and similar breaches over the partial or entire area of an installed geomembrane using test method ASTM D7240.
- Geosynthetic Institute. Accessed June 8, 2018. http://geosynthetic-institute.org.