Calgary Water Services Tackles Lateral Spot Repairs

Calgary saves funds, increases productivity using trenchless methods

PipePatch Work Calgary

In preparation for the spot repair work ahead, S1E and Spectrum Sales Agency trained employees of Calgary Water Services to become certified PipePatch installers.


Cities across Canada are constantly faced with stretching budget dollars to improve and repair their aging underground infrastructure. With an eye on the bottom line, new repair methods and technology are needed to increase work capacity and productivity each day.

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Because of more congested urban areas where much of this gaining underground infrastructure exists, many cities are looking for alternatives to traditional dig-and-replace construction methods to help ease the social strain caused by these improvement projects.

One of those cities looking to increase productivity, capacity and do it at a cost savings is the City of Calgary, Alberta. Three years ago, the City’s Water Services department began looking for technologies to improve lateral service connection throughout its jurisdiction.

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This search led Calgary Water Services to meet with Source One Environmental (S1E) at the 2015 Water and Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport (WWETT) Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. The City expressed interest in learning about S1E’s PipePatch product as a solution for lateral pipe rehabilitation leading from property lines of residential homes to main lines.

Calgary Water Services documented more than 300 cases of residents experiencing backups and blockages in their homes caused mainly from root infiltration, and in some cases broken service laterals that had been in the ground for decades. Many of these issues had been solved in the past by temporary fixes to remove roots in pipes; however, the City was looking for a permanent solution that was cost effective.

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PipePatch offers a no-dig, trenchless pipe rehabilitation system for as small as 1.5 in. and large pipe diameters up to 72 in., in 2 ft and 4 ft sections, as well as 7-ft sections in the 6 to 10 in. range diameter range. PipePatch is a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) process to eliminate the need for digging by creating a mechanical bond to the host pipe with minimal change to the original diameter. Through this process, PipePatch can stop active root intrusion, inflow and infiltration, repair broken pipes and stop cracks through offset pipes. When compared to digging or lining an entire pipe, PipePatch only repairs areas that require rehabilitation — saving time, investment and labor.

PipePatch exceeds the CIPP Specification ASTM F1216, requiring that materials to be tested for a 50-year minimum service life. Additionally, PipePatch products meet NSF and ICC-ES-PMG specifications. PipePatch has been tested and proven to withstand pressure, extreme conditions and time to ensure that the pipe is rehabilitated and performing exceptionally for future years. PipePatch uses a patented, non-hazardous resin that is odorless, non-flammable, and doesn’t contain any VOCs or styrene.

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In the months following the meeting in Indianapolis, Michael O’Toole, national sales manager for S1E and Mick Delauw, co-owner of Spectrum Sales Agency a distributor for S1E’s products in Alberta, met with Perry McLean and Wayne Coppock from Calgary Water Service’s Construction and Engineering Department to demonstrate how PipePatch would work for the many spot repairs needed.

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PipePatch became a component of CIPP rehabilitation of sewer service laterals at various residential locations in Calgary.

In preparation for the work ahead, S1E and Spectrum Sales Agency trained employees of Calgary Water Services to become certified PipePatch installers. This allowed all spot repairs to be performed by Water Services employees, mostly eliminating the need for an outside contractor which would put further strain on the budget.

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Supplied in a kitted format, each PipePatch kit contains pre- measured resin, a cut to size fiberglass mat, and other consumables, to carry out a successful trenchless pipe repair. The precisely measured consumables ensure that the repair can be carried out to its full capability. This process guarantees an outstanding repair for each customer and eliminates the need for large storage areas, installation guess-work, and excess product waste.

While it is beneficial to clean debris from the area of repair, the presence of water and infiltration does not limit the ability to complete a trenchless repair. The resin has outstanding bonding properties to most materials and resistance to more than 63 chemicals.

In 2016, the first year of its PipePatch program, Calgary Water Services completed approximately 20 PipePatch repairs on its own, with the help of S1E certified trainers. In 2017, with periodic consultation from S1E, “The City of Calgary Water Services completed 76 PipePatch installations at 51 different addresses, four of which were elbow [repairs]” said Frank Flaviano, North District supervisor.

The approximate cost to complete repairs, at the 51 different locations, had the City chosen to dig would have been approximately $775,000 and would have taken approximately nine to 12 hours per dig. With PipePatch, the average spot repair installation time was four hours per patch. Costs incurred for all repairs was $90,000, which included PipePatch premeasured kits, labor, equipment and service vehicles.

Using this trenchless method, city workers could shave approximately 350 or more hours of working time and saved about $685,000 in city funds. Not only was the public and environment undisturbed during the installation, but the rehabilitation added decades of additional service life to the pipeline.

Through discussions with municipalities and contractors, cities across Canada are taking note of PipePatch’s benefits to save money and time. By repairing and improving Canada’s existing infrastructure, cities across the country can strategize and budget for future asset management.

Michael O’Toole is Canadian sales manager for Fernco/Source One Environmental.

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