Services Performed

All the services described below are performed personally by Dr. Giroud. However, when necessary, and with the client’s agreement, J.P. Giroud does not hesitate to ask a colleague (e.g. independent consultant, university professor) to help him by providing peer review or by performing tasks for which he or she has special expertise, in order to provide the client with the best possible consulting services. Dr. Giroud can also subcontract tasks to a consulting engineering company if this appears to be the best solution from a technical and a cost standpoint. In many instances, when Dr. Giroud becomes involved in a project, there is already an engineer or a consulting engineering firm in charge of the project. In those cases, Dr. Giroud is pleased to cooperate with the engineer or the consulting company in charge. This is particularly true for projects overseas where Dr. Giroud has cooperated with numerous engineers.


1. Forensic Analyses, Performance Evaluation, and Remediation of Failures
Back to Top

Services-1-1 Services-1-15 Services-1-16 Services-1-14 Services-1-13 Services-1-12 Services-1-11 Services-1-10 Services-1-9 Services-1-7 Services-1-8 Services-1-6 Services-1-5 Services-1-4 Services-1-3 Services-1-2

Services Performed

Analysis of failures and/or evaluation of the performance of structures incorporating geosynthetics. Determination of causes of failures or problems. Recommendations for remedial measures. Preparation of detailed report and appendices. Oral presentation of analyses and conclusions. Participation in panels of experts. Expert testimony. Arbitration. Assistance to the engineer or the consulting engineering company in charge of the project.


Dr. J.P. Giroud has performed approximately seventy forensic analyses and performance evaluations since 1962. From the mid-1970s on, J.P. Giroud has specialized in geotechnical structures incorporating geosynthetics. Today, with his in-depth knowledge of geotechnical engineering and geosynthetics, Dr. Giroud is considered one of the foremost international authorities on the performance of geotechnical structures incorporating geosynthetics: keynote lecturer on “Lessons Learned from Failures Associated with Geosynthetics” at Geosynthetics ’99, the bi-annual conference of the North American Geosynthetics Society, held in Boston, USA, and author of the 66-page paper on the subject in the proceedings of the conference; keynote lecturer on “Lessons Learned from Failures and Successes Associated with Geosynthetics” at “Eurogeo 2”, the Second European Conference on Geosynthetics, held in Bologna, Italy, in 2000, and author of the 42-page paper on the subject in the proceedings of the conference. Also, Dr. Giroud is a frequently invited lecturer on the performance of structures incorporating geosynthetics and lessons learned from failures: guest speaker at a symposium of the American Society of Civil Engineers in Denver (Colorado), where he presented a lecture on lessons learned from geosynthetic failures, 1992; “Kersten Lecture”, University of Minnesota/Minnesota Geotechnical Society, 1999; “Jack Hilf Memorial Lecture” The University of Colorado/US Bureau of Reclamation, 1999; and “The Nete Lecture”, Three Gorges Dam, China, 2000. Dr. Giroud is co-author of a 213-page report on “Waste Containment Systems: Problems and Lessons Learned” for the US EPA (2002).

Dr. Giroud has worked in many parts of the world. In particular, he has performed forensic analyses or performance evaluations in various countries, such as Argentina, Jordan, Niger, France, the United States, Brazil, etc. Furthermore, as President of the International Geosynthetics Society, or on other occasions, Dr. Giroud has chaired, or participated in, numerous international meetings and panels. As a result of this international experience, Dr. Giroud feels comfortable working everywhere in the world, and his authority and negotiating skills are instrumental in difficult situations, in particular when international participants are involved. When arbitration regarding performance evaluation is needed, Dr. Giroud is perfectly qualified due to his professional experience and position in the industry (Past President of the International Geosynthetics Society), as well as his academic credentials (Civil Engineer from Ecole Centrale Paris, PhD, former professor of geotechnical engineering, and Member of the US National Academy of Engineering).

Typical Examples of Forensic Analyses and Performance Evaluations

Typical examples are listed below. More may be found in the résumé.

  • Investigation of the failure of a large sheet-pile retaining structure for a 100-m high building, Grenoble, France (1962-65).
  • Performance evaluation and remedial measures for the pile foundation of a multi-story building, Grenoble, France (1978).
  • Analysis of geomembrane failure, Avoriaz dam and water reservoir, France (1980).
  • Investigation of the malfunctioning of geomembrane lined reservoirs and remedial measures, Arlit, Niger (1981).
  • Analysis of leakage and related geomembrane liner failure at underground cavity for the Proton Decay Experiment, 600 m under Lake Erie, Ohio (1980-82).
  • Investigation of failure of a geomembrane-lined pond containing phosphoric acid, Aqaba, Jordan (1983).
  • Investigation of malfunctioning of four geomembrane-lined concrete reservoirs for sulfuric acid in San Onofre, California (1985).
  • Analysis of the failure of the geomembrane liner system in a concrete vault for the storage of low level radioactive waste, Hanford Reservation, Washington (1987).
  • Analysis of geogrid-reinforced wall failure, League City, Texas (1987).
  • Analysis of leakage rates of three geomembrane-lined ponds for a gold mine, Chesterfield County, South Carolina (1988).
  • Review of monitoring data for a hazardous waste landfill lined with geomembrane, Peoria, Illinois (1989).
  • Analysis of the failure of a geomembrane liner exposed to extremely cold temperatures in a large water reservoir, Delta, Utah (1989).
  • Analysis of the side slope failure of a geomembrane-geotextile liner system in a landfill, Fulton County, New York (1989).
  • Analysis of the leakage rate of an ore leach pad lining system, Deadwood, South Dakota (1989).
  • Evaluation of geomembrane performance at an ore leach pad in Hayden, California (1994).
  • Analysis of a very large waste slide in a geomembrane–lined landfill with leachate recirculation, Bogota, Colombia (1997-1998).
  • Performance evaluation of 16 evaporation ponds lined with geomembranes exhibiting leakage in Salar, Argentina (1998).
  • Performance evaluation of a landfill cap geomembrane liner with substandard seams, Clarkstown, New York (1999).
  • Performance evaluation and design of remedial measures for a landfill cover constructed with a defective drainage geocomposite, Buckeye, Ohio (2000-2002).
  • Performance evaluation of five wastewater ponds with defective liner for a Kendall Jackson winery in California (2005).
  • Performance evaluation of a geomembrane liner attached to pile foundation through municipal solid waste under a large building and subjected to differential settlement, Lynn, Massachusetts (2006).
  • Performance evaluation and design of remedial measures for a double-lined tailings dam at Barragem da Pedra, Juiz de Fora, Brazil (2008).
  • Performance evaluation of a geomembrane-lined gypsum stack in Florida (2011).
  • Performance evaluation of a large geomembrane-lined water reservoir in Florida (2016).

  • 2. Expert Testimony and Participation in Hearings
    Back to Top
    Services: 2-0

    Services Performed

    Forensic analysis (see Section 1 above). Intensive preparation with lawyers of direct and cross-examination. Presentation of expert testimony in court or administrative hearings.


    Dr. Giroud has 54 years of experience with court proceedings and administrative hearings, in France (1962-1981), the United States including Puerto Rico (from 1978), and Canada (from 1989). Known for meticulous preparation, J.P. Giroud keeps a detailed record of his past testimonies. This allows him to have efficient preparation sessions with lawyers. Copies of letters from lawyers can be provided.

    Regarding his performance during the hearings, Dr. Giroud has developed a method that has proved effective over the years. His professional looks and demeanor allow him to present his case with maximum credibility. Dr. Giroud always supports his expert’s opinions with rigorous demonstrations, thereby making rebuttals more difficult. Dr. Giroud’s infinite patience and detailed preparation make him able to weather cross-examination with great effectiveness. Also, having been a professor for more than ten years and a lecturer for more than 50 years, he can clearly present the most complex concepts in layperson’s language.

    In expert testimonies, the authority of Dr. Giroud is clearly established by his academic credentials (Civil engineer from Ecole Centrale Paris, PhD, former professor of geotechnical engineering, Member of the US Academy of Engineering), his stature as pioneer of the geosynthetics discipline and Past President of the International Geosynthetics Society, and the fact that he is author of more than 400 publications.

    Typical Examples

    Subjects on which Dr. Giroud has recently provided expert testimony include: landfill design, drainage systems for septic effluents, water reservoirs, and low-level radioactive waste storage. In particular, Dr. Giroud was one of the specialists selected to provide expert testimony for the Kettleman’s Landfill failure, the largest failure of a hazardous waste landfill (which was settled out of court). In another typical case, Dr. Giroud provided expert testimony in Canada (in French) on the evaluation of the design of a waste disposal landfill, St. Etienne, Canada (1995-1996). Also, Dr. Giroud provided several depositions for the design of a landfill on karstic terrain in Florida (2010) and for a potable water reservoir in Texas (2011).

    3. Project Peer Review
    Back to Top

    Services: 3-1 Services: 3-2 Services: 3-3 Services: 3-4 Services: 3-5

    Services Performed

    Peer review of final draft reports. Peer review of entire projects including periodic design meetings with the design team, and review of draft reports and final report. Peer review of specific aspects of the design of a project, including calculations, for example: review of design assumptions and criteria, review of liner system design, review of leachate collection system design, review of liner stability on slopes.


    As co-founder and chairman of a large consulting company, GeoSyntec Consultants (1983-2001), Dr. Giroud reviewed numerous designs. The reviews consisted of participation in project meetings to review options and assumptions, calculations reviews, drawing reviews, and report reviews. Dr. Giroud developed the peer review system used at GeoSyntec Consultants. Through his extensive experience in performance evaluation and forensic analyses, Dr. Giroud is aware of a number of situations likely to lead to failures, which enables him to provide recommendations to avoid failures.

    Typical Example Illustrating the Need for Peer Review

    Dr. Giroud had many opportunities to appreciate the need for peer review. In particular, he has investigated a 7-million dollar failure where it was clear that, at a crucial design stage, the project manager disregarded several warnings (including written warnings) from one of the project engineers that a certain design assumption made by the project manager could lead to failure. The analysis of the design steps preceding the failure showed that, if a peer review meeting had taken place at that crucial stage, attended by the entire design team and an outside consultant with recognized authority, this would have created a situation where it would have been impossible for the project manager to ignore the warnings by the project engineer, thereby avoiding the failure. In essence, $10,000 spent at the appropriate design stage would have saved $7 million.

    Typical Examples of Peer Review

    In 2011, Dr. Giroud provided peer review for a very special project, the ground water barrier for the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment for the Fermi National Laboratory, Chicago, USA (2011). In 2009-2013, Dr. Giroud provided peer review for the design of a large landfill final cover in Guam. Recently (2011-2013), Dr. Giroud was the international peer reviewer for a landfill in NSW, Australia. The complex project included construction of a new landfill on top of an existing landfill cell. More examples can be found in Dr. Giroud’s résumé.

    4. Design Technical Assistance
    Back to Top

    Services: 4-1 Services: 4-2 Services: 4-3 Services: 4-4 Services: 4-5 Services: 4-6

    Services Performed

    Design calculations for geosynthetics applications, in particular liner systems, liquid collection layers, canals, reservoirs, dams, landfills, etc. Participation in project meetings including brainstorming sessions at the conceptual design stage. Test interpretation. Arbitration in case of differences of opinions regarding test interpretation, design assumptions, and design methods.


    As co-founder and Chairman of a large consulting company, Dr. Giroud has participated in numerous designs. He has personally performed design calculations for more than a hundred projects. As he developed many of the design methods used in geosynthetics applications, Dr. Giroud has an in-depth knowledge of all the design approaches used in geosynthetics engineering. Through his extensive experience in performance evaluation and forensic analyses, Dr. Giroud has learned a number of situations likely to lead to failures; this experience helps him to take measures at the design stage to avoid failures. When arbitration regarding differences of opinions about design is needed, Dr. Giroud is perfectly qualified due to his professional experience and position in the industry.

    Typical Examples

    Dr. Giroud has participated in brainstorming sessions for the design of extensions in the New York harbor for The Port of New York and New Jersey Authority and for the design of extensions in the Los Angeles Port.

    Dr. Giroud prepared design criteria for the design of a very large project, the Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Landfill at Fernald, Ohio.

    Dr. Giroud has provided conceptual design guidance, design equations, and design details for the award-winning design of exposed geomembrane landfill covers by GeoSyntec Consultants, a technique that has been used in several landfills.

    Dr. Giroud prepared the conceptual and detailed design of an innovative leachate collection system intended to minimize the risk of biologically induced clogging for a large municipal solid waste landfill in Canada.

    Dr. Giroud provided extensive design assistance for the design of a large geomembrane-lined hydro-electric canal in New-Zealand (2012).

    Dr. Giroud has provided design assistance for several aspects of the Water Savings Basins for the Locks of the Panama Canal (2013-2015).

    5. Development of Design Methods
    Back to Top

    Services: 5-1 Services: 5-2 Services: 5-3 Services: 5-4 Services: 5-5

    Services Performed

    Development of new design methods for existing or new applications. Preparation of report presenting the design method, and preparation of technical papers if the method is to be published.


    Dr. J.P. Giroud has a unique talent for developing design methods. He has developed many of the design methods used in geosynthetics engineering. Some of the methods he developed have been used worldwide for hundreds or thousands of projects, for example: criteria for geotextile filters; design method for geosynthetic-reinforced unpaved roads; equations for evaluating the rate of leakage through liners; equations for the design of liquid collection layers (leachate collection layers, and leakage collection and detection layers); equations for stability of liner systems on slopes. When a new design method is developed, Dr. Giroud can write a technical paper to publish the method in journals, conference proceedings, and trade magazines, if requested by the manufacturer who commissioned the work.

    Typical Examples of Design Methods Developed for Manufacturers

    • Design method for geogrid-reinforced unpaved roads, developed for The Tensar Corporation in 1983 and published in 1984.
    • Design method for a two-layer geotextile filter, developed for Polyfelt in 1996-98 and published in 1997-98.
    • Design method for evaluation of the magnitude of the hydrated area in a bentonite layer encapsulated between two geomembranes, for the use of geosynthetic clay liners in liner systems, developed for GSE Lining Technology in 2001 (published in a widely used manual, in conference proceedings, and in Geosynthetics International).
    • Design method for reinforced unpaved roads, developed for The Tensar Corporation in 1999-2003 and published in 2004.

    6. Liner Construction Evaluation and Construction Quality Assurance
    Back to Top

    Services: 6-1 Services: 6-2 Services: 6-3 Services: 6-4 Services: 6-5 Services: 6-6

    Services Performed

    Evaluation of liner installation, review of construction quality assurance programs, and evaluation of the implementation of construction quality assurance.


    Dr. Giroud has considerable experience with geomembrane liner installation. He started inspecting liner installation in 1971. He has field experience with a variety of types of geomembranes, including polymeric geomembranes (such as HDPE, LLDPE, PVC, CSPE (Hypalon), CPE, Butyl Rubber) and bituminous geomembranes.

    Dr. J.P. Giroud is considered a pioneer in the development and implementation of construction quality assurance for liner systems. Dr. Giroud became involved in quality assurance of lining system installation as early as 1980. The report “Guide Specifications for Geomembrane Installation in Hazardous Waste Disposal Facilities”, prepared by Giroud and Kastman in 1982 and published as part of a state-of-the-art report for the EPA, laid the foundations for modern geosynthetic quality assurance.

    In 1984-1985, Dr. Giroud prepared a general quality assurance manual for the installation of geosynthetic lining systems for a major US waste management firm. Finally, Dr. Giroud was instrumental in forming at GeoSyntec Consultants a Quality Assurance division which, from 1986 on, has been involved more than 500 projects, totaling approximately 100 million square meters (one billion square feet) of geosynthetics.

    Typical Examples

    In a typical case where his expertise was needed, Dr. Giroud was involved in the evaluation of the impact on seam quality of overly strict specifications regarding destructive seam testing, which led to the publication of a paper titled “Specify, Don’t Overspecify”, published in GFR (December 1993).

    In another case where his field experience was instrumental, Dr. Giroud performed an analysis of construction problems at a flood retention dam with a geomembrane core, Signal Buttes, Utah (1990). Also, in the performance evaluation of lagoons for deicing fluid at Dayton airport, Ohio (1999), J.P. Giroud’s knowledge of the state of practice of liner installation played an important role. Recently, Dr. Giroud was personally involved in the field for the supervision of construction quality assurance of liner installation at two tailings dams (2008-2012).

    7. Development and Acceptance of New Products and Systems
    Back to Top

    Services: 7 - 0 Services: 7 - 1

    Services Performed

    Development and follow-up of research and testing programs for the development of new products. Development of design methods for the use of new products. Preparation of technical brochures and papers explaining the advantages of the new products. Teaching training courses and preparation of manuals.

    Seminars and meetings with governmental agencies for the acceptance of new products and systems. Equivalency demonstrations showing that the new products or systems are at least equivalent to traditional products or systems.


    Dr. Giroud has never been employed by a geosynthetics manufacturer or material supplier, which ensures his independence. On the other hand, he has gained significant experience by cooperating with numerous manufacturers for new product or system development. He handles the information exchanged in the course of such cooperation in strict confidentiality.

    Dr. Giroud has extensive experience in meeting with governmental and regulatory agencies for the acceptance of innovative products. He has helped develop the concept of “equivalency demonstration” and has written papers on the subject

    Typical Examples

    Dr. Giroud has played a key role in the development of uses and the acceptance of geonets. He ensured the acceptance of geonets as a result of several meetings at the US EPA. Dr. Giroud has also played a key role in the acceptance by several states of geosynthetic drainage systems for septic effluents.

    Dr. Giroud also worked with manufacturers for the development of uses of: geogrids in roads and reinforcement applications; two-layer geotextile filters; geosynthetic clay liners; etc.

    Since 1999, Dr. Giroud has been helping the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Government of Hong Kong for the assessment of reinforcement products and systems.

    8. Seminars, Courses, and Manual Preparation
    Back to Top
    Services: 8

    Services Performed

    Presenting seminars and teaching courses that may last from one hour to several days. Preparation of manuals. Typical clients include: Universities, Governmental Organizations, Professional Associations, and Geosynthetics Manufacturers.


    Prior to becoming a full-time consultant in 1978, Dr. J.P. Giroud taught geotechnical engineering for 15 years at the University of Grenoble, the University of Paris, and Ecole des Travaux Publics de l’Etat (the French school for civil servants in the field of civil engineering).

    Dr. Giroud has taught more than 50 one- to three-day courses. These courses have addressed all types of geosynthetics applications, and Dr. Giroud has a collection of photographs covering virtually all fields of geosynthetics applications. His teaching experience and blend of theoretical and practical experience ensure that courses are lively while providing in-depth information.

    Also, Dr. Giroud is often invited to make a 1-hour or 2-hour presentation at a seminar,

    Typical Examples of Training Courses and Manual Preparation

    Dr. J.P. Giroud has taught more than 50 courses on geosynthetics for the most prestigious US organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), US Bureau of Reclamation, and several State Agencies. Also, Dr. Giroud has taught several times a course on landfill design sponsored by the Florida State University and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Also, almost every year between 1986 and 2015, Dr. Giroud has taught a 2-hour course on geosynthetics in landfills at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has taught short courses on dams for the American Society of Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), the US Bureau of Reclamation, and at conferences (e.g. in Peru).

    Dr. Giroud has prepared of a manual on the Geomembrane in Dams for the US Bureau of Reclamation. Dr. Giroud has prepared a manual on geonets in 1984 for a manufacturer. In 2001, he participated in the preparation of a manual on geosynthetic clay liners for a manufacturer.

    Dr. Giroud is also teaching short courses on geosynthetic-reinforced unpaved roads (e.g. in Guarujá, Brazil, 2010; Long Beach, California, 2013; Portland, Oregon, 2015)

    9. Preparation of Technical Papers
    Back to Top
    services: 9

    Services Performed

    Most of the papers published by J.P. Giroud are not commissioned; they are the result of personal time spent on research. However, at the request of manufacturers, Dr. Giroud has prepared technical papers to support the use of innovative geosynthetics and the design of applications using innovative geosynthetics.


    Co-founder and chairman of the editorial board of the two major technical journals in the field of geosynthetics engineering: “Geotextiles and Geomembranes” and “Geosynthetics International”, Dr. Giroud has extensive experience in publishing papers. He wrote more than 400 papers, including more than 300 on geosynthetics in learned journals (e.g. Geosynthetic International, Geotextiles & Geomembranes, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineeringof the ASCE) as well as in trade magazines (e.g. GFR now called Geosynthetics, Waste Age). Papers by J.P. Giroud are acclaimed for logic in presentation, rigorous demonstrations, numerous practical examples, and authoritative judgments. Papers prepared by Dr. Giroud are virtually always enthusiastically accepted by Editors.

    Typical Examples of Technical Papers Prepared for Manufacturers

    Examples of papers prepared by Dr. Giroud at the request of manufacturers include: papers that helped develop awareness of geotextiles and geomembranes in the 1970s; papers providing test results and design methods that promoted the use of geonets in 1983-1988; papers that provided design methods for the use of geogrids in unpaved roads (1984, 2004, 2012, 2015); a paper presenting the benefits of white coated geomembranes (1995); and papers presenting the concept and benefits of two-layer geotextile filters (1997-1998).