The annual letter from TRI Environmental to its clients and the general geosynthetics community merits review for a number of its highlights. The company notes the considerable expansion testing capabilities, both through the addition of key equipment and through the re-location of its outdoor, large-scale testing facility for trafficking studies and erosion and sediment control testing.

Furthermore, major staff additions in 2017, a record year for leak location services, expanded education and training offerings, and various in-house process updates have enhanced services and response times for the geotechnical field.

TRI Expands Testing Capabilities and Enhances Services for 2018
New additions to TRI Environmental’s team include (from left to right): Eli Cuelho, P.E. (Director, Transportation Testing and Research), Patricia Zabaleta (Senior Project Manager, Geosynthetic Conformance), and Amanda Salinas (Geotechnical Laboratory Coordinator).

These company updates are interesting not just for the individual developments but for how they reflect larger movements in the geosynthetics field:

  • The expanding need for liner integrity services (and service providers) and affiliated CQA
  • The impact of coal ash on testing requirements
  • The increasing importance trafficking research and material performance testing
  • How large-scale testing is changing the way the field perceives and adopts erosion and sediment control systems and designs



TRI Southeast Expansion

The large-scale, outdoor testing facility has moved from Anderson to Greenville, South Carolina. The new location is not only more directly accessible from the Greenville Airport for site visitors but much larger. The 10-acre space includes a 4.5-acre lake to support various hydraulic tests.

TRI Expands Testing Capabilities and Enhances Services for 2018
The interest in large-scale hydraulic tests for erosion and sediment control products and systems has grown significantly. The 4.5-acre lake on the new outdoor facility in Greenville greatly expands the lab’s testing capabilities.

New Accelerated Pavement Tester (APT)

The Accelerated Pavement Tester rolling wheel load test is very similar to a real roadway but is built in a more controlled environment. Built at full-scale in a concrete-lined pit rather than in a soil trench, the APT-applied load is quicker to traffic since it is done with an accelerated testing device rather than an actual vehicle. The test pit is 11 ft wide x 36 ft long x 4 ft deep.

Interface Friction / Direct Shear Testing capabilities

Coal ash cell closures on existing and new storage cell modifications have greatly increased the need for interface friction testing. TRI now has 26 shear boxes, with five frames dedicated to high loads and five dedicated to low loads (to negate bias) .

Geotechnical Laboratory Developments

The growth in geotechnical tests has led to the addition of Amanda Salinas as the geotechnical lab coordinator. The rapid turn time for advanced testing is now supported by over 50 flexible wall permeability, 20 triaxial, 9 direct shear, 12 incremental consolidation, three CRS, and DSS capabilities.

TRI 2018 Short Course Schedule

Registration for CQA Week courses will open shortly. The next series of courses will be offered May 7 – 11 in Austin, Texas. They include:

  • May 7 – 8: Liner Integrity Survey/Assessment (LISA) Training
  • May 7 – 8: Slope Stability and Containment Systems
  • May 8: Level 2 ELIS Exam
  • May 9: Construction QA/QC for Geosynthetic Installations
  • May 10: Construction QA/QC for Geosynthetic Clay Liners and Compacted Clay Liner Installation
  • May 11: GCI-ICP Certification Exams
TRI Expands Testing Capabilities and Enhances Services for 2018
Group photo from the TRI-led CQA training in South Africa.

Staff Additions

Patricia Zabaleta (Senior Project Manager, Geosynthetic Conformance) and Eli Cuelho, P.E. (Director, Transportation Testing and Research)

Staff Achievements

Joel Sprague was honored with an ASTM Award of Merit

Liner Integrity Services

Abigail Gilson’s liner integrity survey division had a record year for leak location surveys (47 projects, 15 million+ ft. of liner). More than 10 other projects were handled by companies trained or assisted by TRI or using TRI equipment. New equipment will be released soon. The company also brought CQA training internationally again, including through education sessions in South Africa and Australia.

RELATED: Maximizing Electrical Leak Location Effectiveness with Covered Geomembranes

Internal Process Improvements

The past year saw the company on-board new accounting, business, and sample tracking systems for better customer service and response

Learn more at