Advancing Potable Water Pipeline Maintenance: A Look at Spray-in-Place Pipe Rehabilitation Using 100% Solids Epoxy

Featured: Potable Water signage on large pipe- Advancing Potable water pipeline maintenance: A look at Spray-in-Place rehabilitation using 100% solids epoxy

The American potable water infrastructure is deteriorating quickly. Today, over two million miles of underground pipes carry potable water across America. But most of these pipes are approaching the end of their natural life. Many of them are unsafe, allowing lead, soil contaminants, bacteria, and other harmful substances to enter the water supply.  In 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a grade of C+ to the United States’ drinking water system. Clearly, there is need for improvement, but repair or pipe rehabilitation is often costly and time-consuming.

Providing access to safe drinking water to all Americans is critical, but funding challenges often stand in the way of badly needed projects. The good news? Trenchless rehabilitation options can dramatically lower the cost of restoring pipes to their original function. Keep reading to learn why the method we use at Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) is preferred above all other waterline rehabilitation techniques.

Callout 1: Rusty pipes repair- Quote from text about American Society of Civil Engineers water grade for United States

How the National Sanitation Foundation Keeps Water Safe

Without properly maintained infrastructure, water quality will decrease. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) helps to set standards for water safety that protect the public. Their stated mission is to protect the health of humans and of the planet as an impartial, independent organization. They are part of the NSF-ISR (International Strategic Registrations), and this body was awarded the IAOB Certification Body Of the Year in 2022 for their dedication to high standards.

Consumers, businesses, and regulatory bodies alike can trust the NSF to independently assess the quality of our water supply. The NSF issues certifications that indicate whether the materials used in potable water infrastructure are actually safe. The standard known as NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 measures the safety of all materials used in potable water rehabilitation.

It’s never wise to take a company’s word for it when they claim their products are safe for humans and the environment. Do you want full assurance that your chosen rehabilitation method meets the strictest industry standards? If so, it’s important to partner with a company that has earned the NSF’s approval. Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) offers a high-build epoxy coating with the most third-party testing to back it up. We’re also fully certified by the NSF.

Callout 2: Spray-in-Place work vehicles traveling on road - How the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) keeps water safe - 2 facts.

Advancements in Potable Water Pipeline Maintenance

When much of America’s potable water infrastructure was first built, public health standards were lower, and scientific knowledge was far more limited than it is today. For example, many American pipes currently in use today are made of lead. Unfortunately, they were built before the health hazards of lead exposure were fully understood.

Today, scientific and technological advancements have raised the bar significantly. As public health standards evolve, so do the materials and methods used for pipe repair and rehabilitation.

From Rip-and-Replace to Trenchless Technology

In the past, the only way to fix a leaky or unsafe pipe was to dig it up, remove it, and replace it with a new pipe. Today, with pipes running underneath high rises, airport tarmacs, and major highways, this is often close to impossible. Even when rip-and-replace can be done, it’s plagued by problems that make it an unattractive choice. Three primary drawbacks of rip-and-replace pipe repair include:

  • It’s very expensive, largely due to the amount of labor involved
  • It can be a long, drawn out process that disrupts customers’ water supply
  • It’s typically very invasive, requiring traffic diversions, concrete demolition, and other inconvenient measures

Clearly, digging up and replacing pipes should be the last resort. However, new trenchless technologies have emerged to replace this method.

Previous trenchless technologies and their drawbacks

Trenchless pipe rehabilitation allows pipes to be returned to their safe, proper function while they are still underground. Two trenchless methods evolved to improve on the traditional rip-and-replace approach. However, these methods still have significant drawbacks.

Hand-applied protective coatings

Protective epoxy coatings are available on the market for manual application to pipe interiors. They can be brushed on, spread on with a trowel, or directly sprayed onto surfaces by a human hand. One of their primary drawbacks is their requirement of a pipe diameter big enough to allow for human entry.

Cured-in-place linings

Cured-in-place lining, or CIPP, has been used to seal leaky pipes and provide a barrier between water and pipe surfaces. However, the materials used for this process have been associated with health hazards when people are exposed to them. CIPP also has structural limitations and often weakens around bends.

Callout 3:  Rusty pipes repair in open trench- Three Primary drawbacks of rip-and-replace pipe repair - 3 listed

Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS): The Newest Development in Pipe Rehabilitation

Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) offers the most sophisticated trenchless pipe rehabilitation option available today. The technology used to spin cast protective coatings onto pipes has been around for about 20 years. But Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) innovates the process by spin casting epoxy solids with unique structural properties. Before we coat pipes, our robotic spray head and camera clean the pipe and determine its condition and shape. What makes our technology so unique? Check out just a few of the advantages we offer.

  • Superior adherence

Our lining bonds to the pipe wall like car paint. Our state-of-the-art methods and tools prevent any water from getting between our epoxy coating and the pipe surface. We’re able to apply our coating at variable thicknesses as needed to optimize coverage and adherence. We also perform extensive testing after the project is complete to ensure success.

  • Unique ability to accommodate bends

Using a robotic camera and cleaning and application tools, we’re able to fully follow any bends in the pipe. Our spray-on epoxy coating improves on CIPP technology by avoiding folds and other obstructions at these vulnerable locations.

  • No need to seal off connections

With Spray-In-Place Solutions (SIPS) technology, there’s no need to follow up after the project to re-open every service connection. Our precision tools allow us to avoid sealing off connections in the first place.

  • Green materials and methods

Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) is certified by ASTM 729. This means that we adhere to the strictest standards to protect wildlife and the environment throughout our process. We also use minimal construction equipment, which reduces the carbon footprint of your project.

  • Lower project costs and time

Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) can complete most projects for around 50% of the cost of rip-and-replace methods. Plus, we’ll complete the work in around 15% of the time. 

Callout 4: Spray-in-Place uses spin casting epoxy solids - 5 benefits listed

Houston, Texas: A SIPP Pipe Rehabilitation Success Story

There are many successful examples of Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) projects. One such story comes from Houston, Texas, where SIPS recently rehabilitated a 400-linear-foot pipe section. The pipe was 24 inches in diameter and located in the heart of the city, which made traditional excavation difficult. Additionally, the project needed to be completed in July, during one of Houston’s most serious heat waves on record. 

Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) first assessed the pipe’s condition: badly corroded, tuberculated, and cavitated. The cleaning, patching, and restoration process took only four days, and the city was left with a long-lasting, environmentally friendly solution. 

Interested in Partnering with Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS)?

If you’ve got a pipe rehabilitation project to complete, Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) is the best choice available. Fill out our Pipe Lining Questionnaire today and learn more about what we can bring to the table.