According to an EPA report on the state of wastewater rehabilitation technology, 16,000 sewer systems are serving 190 million people using 740,000 miles of public sewers and 500,000 miles of private lateral sewers. Additionally, an EPA report on force main rehabilitation estimates 60,000 miles of force main and cites that corrosion and structure failure account for 54% of failures.
Wastewater pipe failure can not only cause substantial loss of services, including disruption during repair or replacement, but it can also cause significant environmental damage. Gravity flow sewer failures can be challenging, but force main failures operating under pressure can be disastrous.
Here we explore sewer force main and gravity main renewal and repair technologies. We also examine in detail trenchless sewer line repair options.
Force Main Sewer and Gravity Main Renewal Technologies
There are three primary approaches to sewer mainline renewal. They range from quick emergency repairs to long-term pipe rehabilitation or replacement.
- Pipe Repair. This type of work usually addresses the repair of sections of pipe either in response to leaking sewer pipes on an emergency basis or for a temporary fix of deteriorating pipes. It’s used to prevent overflow and environmental damage until a long-term fix can be implemented. Repair options include open-cut repair and replacement, spot repair using external clamps and couplings, and internal sleeves and liners.
- Pipe Rehabilitation. Here a long-term solution is being sought with the attendant work involved. The options include cure-in-place pipes, hot water/steam-cured liners, ultraviolet-cured liners, modified slip lining using fold-and-form pipes, grout-in-place linings, spiral-wound linings, panel linings, and spray-in-place coatings.
- Pipe Replacement. One technology for pipe replacement is trenchless pipe replacement using pipe bursting or pipe splitting, where the replacement pipe is pulled or jacked into place after the original pipe is burst or split. Similar options are pipe reaming, pipe eating, and dive and pull. Finally, there’s open-cut replacement where the sewer main is dug up, removed, and a suitable replacement pipe installed.
With all these technologies available to address gravity and force main sewer repair, picking the best one for a specific situation can be challenging. We’ve found that trenchless sewer line repair can be cost-effective for municipal pipe rehabilitation and repair, thereby avoiding costly and time-consuming replacement.
Trenchless Force Main and Gravity Main Line Repair and Rehabilitation Options
As noted above, one approach to force main and gravity main repair and rehabilitation is digging up and replacing the pipes. However, that can be extremely costly and disruptive. The alternative is trenchless underground pipe rehabilitation, restoring aging and deteriorating pipes without digging up the pipes. There are four main types of trenchless technology.
- Pipe Bursting and Replacement. This involves breaking and expanding the existing sewer line. It is then replaced with another pipe. The broken pieces remain underground.
- Cured-in-Place Linings. Here a tube is inserted through an existing pipe. That tubing is then bonded to the inside pipe surface.
- Slip Lining Insertion. This approach inserts a smaller pipe into the existing pipe, providing an easy replacement but with reduced flow.
- Spray-In-Place Pipe Coating. A high-build epoxy coating is sprayed inside the pipe using high-tech machinery. It bonds in a few hours, sealing the pipe from sewer leaks.
Advantages of Spray-in-Place Pipe Coating for Gravity Main and Force Main Repair
Spray-In-Place high-build epoxy pipe coating to repair leaking sewer pipes offers several advantages over digging and replacing force main and gravity main sewer lines.
- Minimal Digging. There’s no need to dig up the entire pipe. Often only a 6×6 foot access pit is needed every 650 feet. In some cases, access through existing manholes is the only requirement. It requires only 5% of the trenching and excavating time needed for pipe replacement.
- Limited Disruption. Spray-In-Place epoxy pipe coating takes roughly 15% of the time required to dig up and replace pipes. It repairs the force main and gravity main sewer pipe leaks quickly.
- Safe and Durable. Epoxy spray systems provide a protective barrier that adheres to the pipe between the sewer wastewater. This prevents any leaks from the pipes and environmental hazards. The life expectancy is roughly 75 years.
- Eases Maintenance. Force main and gravity main sewer lines can flow more freely, limiting pipeline buildup due to their smooth surface. They also help prevent internal pipeline corrosion.
- Cost-Effective. Repiping is 50% to 75% more expensive than spray-in-place epoxy coating for sewer lines. The cost of digging, removing, replacing, and shutting down the digging locations is substantially reduced.
Spray-in-Place Pipe Lining for Potable Water Pipes
Spray-in-place rehabilitation is not restricted to sewer lines. It can also be very effectively used for potable water pipe coating. The critical benefits include long-lasting structural integrity, prevention of leaks, providing a barrier to prevent health and safety threats, minimal disruption, and the flexibility needed to address a wide range of project demands.
See our article 5 Benefits of Potable Water Underground Pipe Lining for further insight.
What Is the Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) Process?
There are lots of pipe lining companies. The key to selecting the right one is to examine their history closely and the process they use. They must follow detailed procedures to ensure the lining corrects the problem and lasts for the estimated 75-year lifespan. Here’s the process we use.
- Pipe Mapping. We map the pipe to verify project details. A robotic closed-circuit television camera examines the entire length of the pipe and identifies all issues.
- Drag Scraping. A drag scraper, pulled in both directions, removes rust and debris. That also helps return the pipe to its original diameter.
- High-Pressure Water Jetting. Water jetting is then used to remove any remaining scaling, dirt, and film.
- Surface Prep Verification. At this point, our robotic closed-circuit camera is used to verify that the pipe has been cleaned sufficiently for the epoxy application.
- Spin Casting Epoxy Application. A state-of-the-art robotic spin cast system applies the epoxy to the pipe. During the application, the epoxy mix ratio, temperature, and speed of the spray head are continuously monitored to ensure the correct thickness is obtained.
- Curing and Final Inspection. The pipe is fully submersible after a brief two- to three-hour cure time. Then we conduct a full inspection using the robotic closed-circuit television to verify full coverage.
Our robotic closed-circuit television camera mapping and inspection system can be particularly helpful for periodic inspections of force main and gravity main sewer pipes. It can identify any buildup, corrosion, or physical damage leading to leaking sewer pipes.
Why Choose Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) for Epoxy Lining for Force Main Sewer Pipes?
Plenty of pipe lining companies exist, but Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) offers a state-of-the-art, technologically advanced method that far outperforms the competition. So don’t just take our word for it. You can explore our many projects, including our 24-inch cast iron pipe project that restored a 24” cast iron water main for the City of Houston.
Spray In Place Solutions (SIPS) uses an epoxy that is certified compliant with the newly updated health effects criteria of NSF/ANSI/CAN 600, ensuring that rigorous testing has determined that it is not only safe for drinking water but you will not need to worry about wildlife being harmed by our materials or processes.
Ready to Get Started with Trenchless Pipe Lining to Fix Your Sewer Pipe Problems?
Are you ready to discuss how Spray In Place Solutions’ (SIPS) innovative process can help you enjoy the advantages of trenchless technology? Then fill out our Pipe Lining Questionnaire today to get a quote for your project.