Fairfield1,140 ft of 36-in. force main rehabilitated in one shot

The Fairfield Suisun Sewer District (FSSD) called upon Michels Pipe Services in September for the emergency rehabilitation of a force main sanitary sewer line just outside of its wastewater treatment plant in Fairfield, Calif.

The FSSD treatment plant is located on about 150 acres, collecting sewage from 12 pump stations and a 70-mile network of sewers throughout Fairfield, Suisun City and Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, serving 135,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers and government agencies.

The project spanned more than 1,100 lf of 36-in. diameter, reinforced concrete pipe that had ruptured on FSSD’s 150-acre property surrounding its treatment plant. FSSD was immediately able to bypass and called in a Michels crew that was working on another FSSD project to come up with a permanent repair. The Michels crew dewatered and cleaned the sewer line from the existing excavated failure location. The pipe that failed ran from a pig catcher outside the plant into the headworks of the treatment plant.

Initial plans called for glass-fiber-reinforced, cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) liners to be installed in both directions from the spot of the rupture. A closing collar would also have been installed. However, certain conditions — including two bends in the pipe and multiple grade changes — made it a good candidate for a single-shot installation, resulting in a single monolithic pipe with no joints, easily the preference of the sewer district.
“Installations beyond 1,000 ft are not unusual in the CIPP industry,” said Michels operations manager Chris Tavernier. “But they are unusual for 36-in. force main projects with these technical constraints.”

“The Sewer District has been using trenchless technologies since the late 1990s, utilizing Michels Pipe Services for much of that work,” said FSSD environmental engineer Kevin Cullen. “We have performed spot repairs and full-length liners on gravity pipes on numerous occasions, but we have never had to repair any pressure pipe.”

FairfieldMichels worked with SEKISUI NordiTube to ensure availability of a liner in the required diameter, length and thickness and with highway authorities to attain a permit to transport the liner from Michels’ wet-out facility in Salem, Ore., to Fairfield, Calif., about 550 miles away. In fact, this is the longest installation of NordiTube’s NordiForce CIPP liner, a tailor-made, glass-fiber reinforced pipe product. NordiForce’s design results in a fully structural repair, allowing the like-new pipe to withstand high internal and external loads.

“We recently expanded our plant facility and constructed a state-of-the-art production line geared toward large liner production,” said plant manager Mark Lucas. “The 36-in. diameter liner that Michels Pipe Services installed was our largest pressure liner produced to date.”

The project was completed in a tight six-week span from start to finish, with installation, cooling and curing completed in about three days, Tavernier said. Additional planning was needed to account for friction created by the length of the liner and weight added because of its glass-fiber reinforcement.

The trenchless rehabilitation process created a new, structurally sound, stand-alone pipe that fits tightly to the original host pipe, leaving little or no annular space. This solution will add about 50 years to the existing pipes lifespan.

“Michels’ crews were fantastically prepared for this procedure. They had their “A” team on this project, and made the process of this pipe inversion look easy,” said Cullen.

Jill Badzinski is corporate writer/marketing specialist at Michels Corp., of which Michels Pipe Services is a division and is headquartered in Brownsville, Wis.
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