Dependable Sewer Service Company (DSS) in Bay City, Michigan, is a family-owned and operated full-service plumbing and sewer company primarily focused in the commercial, industrial and municipal markets. DSS got their start in the trenchless market by offering CCTV and pipe cleaning services, followed by adding trenchless point repairs. However, more and more of their clients began asking if they were able to line the entire pipe.

Knowing there was little competition in their area, DSS began cautious research with CIPP suppliers, attending trade shows and having several conversations with Chad Miller – MaxLiner’s technical services manager, about their growth opportunities. DSS decided to invest in a custom MaxLiner System in 2019 (a mix of lining/curing equipment, liners, CalTubes and resin), a Dancutter reinstatement robot and Picote Solutions equipment. They received all the necessary hands-on training and in-field technical support from MaxLiner.

resin application

“We really liked the concept of the Max LinerGun,” says DSS operations manager Kevin Bess. “As Chad explained to us, you’re not limited to length. If you have limited access and need to go further than a typical sewer lateral, or you have an industrial client with larger pipes, you have one universal inversion unit capable of accomplishing those applications. As long as you can feed it in time, you can line it.

“I think the best advice I could offer a company considering branching into CIPP, is the importance of worksite preparation and thorough cleaning. On our very first job at one of the oldest operational bowling alleys in town, we thought the cast iron pipe was clean enough. As we began to set up for the liner, we realized that the pipe was still really rough, and we needed to clean some more. Our investment in the Picote made cleaning so much easier. Even in challenging pipes with heavy deposits, Picote has every tool you will ever need for cleaning. We also truly understood how time sensitive the resin can be. This points to how important preparation and planning is for a successful CIPP lining project. Case in point, our recent project at a local Speedway gas station,” Bess continued.

DSS was first contacted by Speedway’s sewer maintenance company, explaining there were periodic backups and they suspected that the sewer running under the active fuel pumps to the city main was in need of repair. After previously installing a CIPP liner at another location, Speedway was hoping this too would solve the issue.

DSS re-televised the 101-ft, 4-in. diameter cast iron pipe and discovered a trap, which needed to be conventionally dug up and replaced. The hole was then used as the starting point for the project. It was quickly discovered that the pipe was almost too far gone to line. The pipe was riddled with small holes in the bottom, allowing fine sand to continually infiltrate. This created a cleaning challenge, as every time it was jetted, sand would start percolating back up into the line.

“At the point of about seven hours of cleaning and jetting, we stopped, as we didn’t want to get stuck. Because the pipe was in such bad shape, if we continued, it would have been a dig and replace, around the gas pumps — instead of CIPP. The deciding factor was looking at how big the holes were getting,” Bess said. “When they get to a certain size, you just know you need to stop, as you will be creating more trouble than good.”

This was the first time DSS dealt with a scenario like this and discussed using PreLiner, but didn’t want to risk additional wrinkling in the bends, nor did it want to use up the time it takes to install the PreLiner to allow for more sand to come in before installing the liner. After assessing the risk, DSS made a conscious decision to go without the PreLiner. DSS was already set up to lightly flush one more time as they started inverting the liner. The remaining wet sand would either push out or fill in the smaller holes.

resin application

After consulting with Miller, DSS chose MaxLiner’s Flex4D liner to add more structural integrity to the pipe. MaxPox 180 resin (three-hour pot-life) was selected mostly because DSS wanted to have all the extra time needed to do this right. “With the super humid conditions and temperatures in the upper 90s, the 180 resin gave us a minimum of two extra hours of working time then we’re used to having. It was a no-brainer to choose the extended resin, I’d gladly wait two hours for cure then risk a potential catastrophe,” explained Bess.

“Even with the three 45-degree turns in the line, in the heat, with the sand, the project was a success, including no wrinkles or fins. Usually in the summer heat, you are stressing like crazy, but we didn’t. Having the right equipment, materials and the support of a dependable lateral system supplier like MaxLiner is invaluable when faced with jobs like this. From the very beginning of our relationship, Chad Miller stressed the importance of patience and having everything set, staged and ready to go before the mixing began. MaxLiner not only has our back, but, as with most projects, they help us manage our risks – vital to the success of our business.”

From the start of the project, the employees at the gas station couldn’t believe we were going to repair the pipe without having to have to dig it all up and close the station. The ultimate success was not just the perfect lining job, but no loss in income for their employees or, perhaps more importantly, their business, said Bess.

Heidi O’Leska is CEO and owner of Vintage Juice Brand Marketing.