Lake County, Illinois Opts to Reline vs. Replace Water Mains
Water mains can be installed in some difficult and unique locations. Often this was done without considering how these pipes would be replaced in the future. This was certainly the case when the Public Works Department of Lake County, Illinois looked to replace two separate pipes in its own precarious position.
One was located within a parking lot of a busy commercial plaza which included a Walmart. The other located throughout a townhouse complex where the water main moved from backyards to driveways.
The Townhouse section included a 1,600-ft section of 8-in. ductile Iron pipe located within the Townlines Commons Centre in the Community of Vernon Hills. It included two 45-degree bends and traveled directly in front of the shopping plaza. Having previously failed the County and its consultant, RHMG, elected to pursue CIPP water main lining.
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The second section was located within the Park West Townhouse development within the town of Deerfield, Illinois. The County had multiple failures on several 6- and 8-in. ductile iron water mains located throughout the complex, including through backyards. As the water main crossed through the backyards, each unit’s service would connect to the main. This meant that the decision to replace the main was a difficult one. Either the main would need to be moved to the street, with each service being transferred to the front of the property, or it would need to be rehabilitated in place with each service being reinstated from within the main.
The County worked with RHMG to understand each alternative. While moving the main to the front of each property would give the County better access to the main in the future it would also come at a large cost, as well as high amount of disruption. It would also mean that a contractor would either have to run the service underneath each property or hire a plumber to relocate each service to the front of the property rather than the back. An excavation would need to take place in front of each property, risking landscaping and trees that were present. Given the impacts of disruption and cost, the County ultimately elected to pursue a structural water main lining.
The project was tendered in April 2021 with FER-PAL Construction LLC winning the low bid.
The project began that May, starting with coordinated communication with the businesses and residents located on each of the water mains. For the Plaza parking lot, all activities would need to be scheduled around peak hours to limit impact to the businesses onsite. For the townhouse’s a townhall was scheduled to help the residents understand the schedule, construction plan, as well as the impact to the area. This helped to set a strong relationship with the local homeowner’s association.
Construction began on May 21, beginning with the establishment of a temporary above-ground system. To limit the disruption to the townhouse complex, the bypass was installed in the backyards of each Townhouse. Once established, the water main could then be shutdown, allowing for excavation to begin.
Due to the age and complexity of the system the water main was shut down in several different phases. This required a high amount of coordination with the Public Works team at Lake County Public Works. Phasing this section of work led to a slower than normal schedule but ensured that the residents and businesses in the area, did not experience an unexpected water interruption. These phases also ensure that the County could continue to monitor and meter their resident’s water usage for longer, before switching over to the bypass.
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A coordinated approach was required for excavations as several access pits were located near residential driveways. FER-PAL had assigned team members ready to help coordinate residents backing out of their driveways during excavations to ensure their comfort.
Once the excavations were completed for each phase, the next step was to cut into the pipe and clean out any tuberculation. This was completed by using drag scrapers along with a high-pressure flusher that brought the water main back to its original inside diameter. This was then followed by a camera inspection, as well as an internal measurement of the pipe with a laser to ensure that the right-sized liner would be installed. Finally, each of the 125 small services within the pipe were plugged prior to cleaning to allow for reinstatement following the pipe lining.
Once prepped, FER-PAL then installed the ALTRA10 liner within the main. Given the concern of the rapid deterioration of the host pipe, the products proven track record to withstand host pipe failure, as well as its seamless reassembly meant it was the right liner for the project.
Once the product was installed, FER-PAL pressure tested the pipe to ASTM standards and proceeded to reinstate each service. Using their experience and technology, FER-PAL was able to successfully reinstate each of the 125 small services. This helped ensure that the project remained trenchless and that the backyards of each townhome remained unaffected.
The main was then placed back into service following chlorination and reassembly. Each phase of the project wrapped up in succession with the last of the water main being placed back into service ahead of the Labor Day long weekend. Restorations followed each phase with the last of the sod and asphalt being installed in the following months.
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The limited disruption to the neighborhood highlights the flexibility and agility of CIPP lining. It allowed for Lake County to restore an entire Townhouse Complex along with a shopping plaza without disrupting service or the surrounding area. Using strong coordination and communication the neighborhood was able to go about their summer with minimal disruption while also knowing a water main break within their backyards was no longer at risk of occurring.
Geoff Britnell is the national business development manager at FER-PAL Infrastructure.