Manufacturers of products which compete with high density polyethylene (HDPE) liner for use in exposed primary and secondary containment of hazardous substances have criticized the use of HDPE in Arctic environments. The criticism has primarily focused on the point that HDPE should not be used in above ground, exposed installation where there are large annual temperature fluctuations. The main point of contention is that environmental stress cracking (ESC) will be produced in the HDPE liner by expansion and contraction caused by seasonal temperature changes in cold regions.

Dames & Moore has performed preliminary design and feasibility studies to select an impermeable containment media that could be installed in exposed pits and withstand environmental effects without degrading, tearing, cracking, or in any other way allowing contained media to leak. Our research showed that with proper design efforts and good quality control/quality assurance practices during manufacturing and liner installation that HDPE can provide continuous containment without degradation from environmental processes.

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