National Power Rodding Completes More than 7,500 ft of CIPP Relining Work in a Chicago Suburb
It’s super easy to share and feature incredible rehabilitation projects, shining a light on record-setting lengths and diameters or a technological breakthrough that sets projects apart from others. But when it comes right down to it, the overwhelming bulk of the trenchless relining projects are “routine,” with no overwhelmingly significant obstacles or challenges to overcome.
This is the category of work that has shaped and grown the trenchless rehab market for decades.
National Power Rodding (NPR) is part of the Carylon Corp., a company that provides specialized services in sewer system maintenance, water supply maintenance and soil/sludge remediation to maintain critical environmental infrastructure. Headquartered in Chicago, NPR specializes in all forms of cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) from steam-cured to UV.
A recent project for an Illinois suburb about 20 minutes outside of Chicago with a population of 18,000, highlights the day-in, day-out relining work that NPR performs. This relining/maintenance project involved more than 7,500 ft of 60-plus-year-old concrete pipe of diameters of 10, 12, 15, 18 and 27 in. that had sustained various levels of deterioration. A majority of the deterioration showed signs of cracking and fractures, as well as water and H2S infiltration.
The jobsite was in residential and industrial sections of the village. This added a layer of planning to the job to ensure the safety of the NPR crews working on busy and heavily traverses roadways, and communication with the residents on what was happening in front of their homes.
Shooting manhole to manhole, the average length of the relining shots was 300 ft, although some were longer and shorter than that, depending on the pipe section. Onsite equipment included an air-inversion shooter, cleaning and CCTV trucks, as well as refrigeration and boiler trucks. Some of the work took place in 90-degree heat which meant the polyester liner needed to be cooled down with ice bags and kept inside the refrigeration truck.
The Village had recently completed a repaving program that involved the streets where the project pipes are located. Village officials were concerned that the solution for these pipes would necessitate digging them and entire streets up to get the work done. Using CIPP prevented those concerns from becoming a reality.
NPR lining superintendent Joe Ayala explains, “One of the main streets [the village] relined, they actually had to dig up a few spots where the pipe was already gone and fix those spots which were about 2 ft in length, just so we could line through those. But once you fix those, you can already see the cracks on the other [pipe sections] starting.”
Discussing the project, NPR says it’s all in a day’s work that its crews do every day. “[Projects like this], owners want to rehab the pipes without digging and replacing them,” says NPR vice president Reid Ruprecht. “And they turn to cured-in-place pipe. In some cases, we look at the pipes and say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t look too bad to us,’ but this job in particular, we were lining sewers that were in really bad shape.”
Ruprecht and Ayala say NPR is no stranger in working with suburban sewers, having bid and won several relining projects with the same suburb over the years. Crews got to work on this project during spring 2023, starting with the inspecting and cleaning the entire length of the project, giving village officials a clear rundown of the problem areas and where rehabilitation was needed. Work was completed over the summer and finished ahead of schedule and within the $300,000 to $500,000 budget.
Relining Project Points
Whether the project is routine or filled with multiple, large-scale challenges, there are critical project steps that need to be executed — such as accurate and complete pre-cleaning and inspecting of the pipes.
“The biggest thing is getting the cleaning and televising crew out there to do the pre-lining work of cleaning, CCTVing and measuring the pipes,” Ruprecht says. “It’s important that if the map says a pipe is 8 in., that it is an 8-in. pipe. It’s important that all the services lines are correct and marked. All these measurements are important because it’s what we base our ordering of materials off of.”
NPR crews pre-cleaned and inspected the 7,500 ft of pipes, noting the critical areas and turning the data over to village officials so a lining plan could be put in place — which pipes they wanted addressed first. NPR also grouped certain sections together to ensure their time was being utilized in the most efficient manner.
Another key area is construction site safety and for this project, strict safety protocols were followed. As the lines for the industrial park were located on a heavily traversed six-lane highway, safety was paramount. To limit traffic exposure, crews lined the sewers on this highway at night, when there were less vehicles on the road. A police officer was also on duty with their lights on so drivers could see the workers.
Their work sparked interest from the residents along the route but Ayala and Ruprecht say that once they explained what was going on, the residents were satisfied. Communication with the community is key to a successful project, as well. “We communicated to them what we were doing and that we would be there one day vs a month [by not digging up the streets] and they were put at ease,” Ayala says.
Ayala and Ruprecht note that projects similar to this are ongoing all over the country each day as a part of rehabilitation maintenance programs in cities, villages and towns. They have seen a bump in the work over the last year, as these type projects are benefiting from the Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act funds.
“This is just a regular project. All across the United States, there are sewers that are deteriorating and in need of rehabilitation and are using [IJIA] money for projects just like this,” says Ayala.