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IGS Technical Committee on Filtration 2015 – 2018 Inaugural Report


Over the past four years the IGS Technical Committee on Filtration, under the able leadership of Prof. Ennio Palmeira, pursued the primary objectives listed in the “Finding Common Ground” reports:

  • Promote a sounder and scientifically based use of geotextiles in filtration.
  • Promote the dissemination of information on and expansion of the use of geotextile filters in geotechnical and geoenvironmental works.
  • Encourage and provide assistance to the organisation of national, regional and international scientific events on filtration.
  • Encourage and provide assistance to the organisation of educational initiatives (training courses, training lectures, etc.) and to produce educational material related to filtration.
  • Interact with other IGS committees to encourage the advancement of geotextile filters.
  • Work in conjunction with IGS Chapters and/or related geotechnical and civil/environmental engineering societies or organisations to promote the dissemination of information on and expansion of the use of geotextile filters.

Today we can be grateful for the pioneering work undertaken by Prof. Palmeira and his co-leaders Eric Blond, Jonathan Fannin and Nicola Moraci. The IGS membership at large thanks these volunteers for their hard work! The 16th IGS Council meeting held on 27 September 2014 in Berlin, appointed the following leadership for the period 2015 – 2018: Chair- Kelvin R. Legge; Vice-chair- Sam Allen; Vice-chair- Eric Blond; Vice-chair- Nicola Moraci; and Secretary- Preston Kendall. These persons, along with the TC Filters membership, intend to build on the sound foundations already established in the preceding term.

The established relationship between the IGS and several international organizations having mutual interest is to be expanded through the activities of the various IGS technical committees. There is an evident need to improve understanding of technology advances following ageing publications such as the ICOLD Bulletin 55 of 1986 on geotextile as filters and transitions in embankment dams and more recent expressions of reservation such as in the FEMA 2012 publication. To this end there is a growing relationship between the IGS and ICOLD through the development of guideline documents on embankment dams. Together they have made significant advances on preparing a guideline document addressing geotextiles as filters in dam engineering. This “work in progress” acknowledges the benefits and limitations of geotextiles as filters, and advocates their use as adjuncts to granular filters in critical inaccessible applications, in particular under challenging engineering conditions.

The Geofilters 2004 specialty conference focused attention on the then state of the art of granular filters and of geotextile filters. It is however believed prudent to consider the mutual benefits of these materials in a specialty conference on composite filters, possibly during 2017.

An area of discussion receiving research attention is the question of reliability of methods for determining geotextile pore size. It is anticipated that the committee membership will contribute significantly to this debate.

IGS members wishing to participate in TC – Filtration activities are invited to write to the secretary, Mr. Preston Kendall at