What is Geosynthetics CQA? (Part 1)

By February 3, 2014September 3rd, 2014General CQA

Twenty plus years ago, when I was new to the industry, I had to ask, “What is geosynthetics CQA?”

In reality, my first question during my job interview may have been, “What is geosynthetics?” or “What is CQA?” Both were terms somewhat unfamiliar to me coming out of college. I am sure my interviewer gave me an answer I never questioned, as well as the much-needed job I was seeking. Shortly after my hiring, I found myself in the midst of a full-fledged geomembrane installation, trying to beat the onset of winter.

As a newbie in the field, I listened to everything everyone said, especially my bosses, from the CQA crew leader on up to the certifying engineer, co-workers, and installation personnel in an effort to gather whatever information I could to do my job to the best of my ability. And, it was confusing.

Being a typical landfill site, it was out in the middle of nowhere, and people were talking about a “gun,” “bone cutter” and “pulling bones.” Ironically, this was just before Halloween, so not only did I need to figure out if some horror was going to come upon me, but whether the people were trying to scare the newbie with these terms. Then, there was the “mouse,” “leister,” and “grinder;” again, somewhat unsettling terms. What the heck is a leister?

There also was a local kitten on the job site, which had extra toes—five toes on some paws and six on others. This whole landfill thing was just weird. If I kept a diary, an entry probably would have said something like “not sure about doing this for even a few more days, let alone a career” and “hope the weird cat eats all these mice everyone is talking about.”

The true answer to my question “What is geosynthetics CQA” did not come on my first job. Nor did it come strictly from talking to co-workers. It did not even come from research. Over my first five years of CQA experience, I would travel to the corporate office when they were closed and study manuals and books, on my own time, driving an hour or more each way in some instances. No, the true answer really did not become clear until shortly before I started my own business in CQA, ten plus years into my CQA career!

During my career, I have seen many different variations of what people define as geosynthetics CQA, both within the circle of CQA professionals (engineering firms and CQA technicians), but also as viewed by owners, installers, contractors and even laboratory personnel. I would like to appeal to representatives from each of these groups to post your interpretation of CQA.

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