A Midwest City Turns to CIPP to Rehabilitate Water Main

All cities have traditions they are known for, whether it’s specialty foods or holiday celebrations. There is comfort in those long-held localized traditions. But sometimes a break from tradition is precisely what is needed to solve a challenge in an effective and efficient manner.

In June, Michels Pipe Services used cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology to line a 16-in. water main that needed to be fixed without causing major disruptions to the surface above it in a major Midwestern city.

Michels Pipe Services is a division of Michels Corp., based in Brownsville, Wis. Michels is among the largest, most diversified utility contractors in North America. Michels Pipe Services uses CIPP technology to rehabilitate sanitary sewers, storm sewers and water mains in the United States and Canada.

General contractor James McHugh Construction Co. called on Michels to rehabilitate 302 lf of a deteriorating steel water main that is used by a metropolitan water district. The city had not previously used CIPP to rehabilitate water mains. The municipal line stretched under one of the busiest interchanges in the metropolitan area, crossing under eight lanes of traffic and two commuter rail tracks in a busy urban area. McHugh is reconstructing the interchange for the customer.

The city had not previously used CIPP to rehabilitate water mains.

The city had not previously used CIPP to rehabilitate water mains.

Choosing CIPP

The challenging location meant a structurally sound solution was essential, but the high volume of traffic coupled with ongoing construction in the area rendered open-cut options not viable.
CIPP was the best solution for this project for several reasons.

During the CIPP process, an epoxy-impregnated liner is inverted into the host pipe. Once the liner was completely cured, the new pipe-within-a-pipe is pressure-tested. On this project, Michels used air inversion to install the liner and steam to cure it. It was pressure tested to 70 psi to meet the customer’s requirements.

Another advantage is that with proper planning and permitting CIPP installations can be completed much quicker than open-cut projects. The contractor had given Michels a 10-day window to complete installation of the liner. It was finished in half that time — an efficient five days. Thanks to the onsite efforts of Michels’ CIPP crew led by Jason Gubin, the project was completed ahead of schedule and on budget. Planning by the McHugh/Michels team was critical and extensive though. In total, it took about four months and several meetings to obtain all necessary approvals to proceed with the work.

Project Challenges

Michels needed to overcome several challenges to successfully complete the project.
Access to the water main was 30 ft deep at the upstream access point and 8 ft deep at the downstream access point, and less than 10 ft away from the on-bound ramp to the interstate. McHugh faced a difficult task of excavating a 30-ft shaft and installed a concrete chimney to gain access to the host pipe.

Once the shaft was prepared, another major challenge was finding a time to shut down the on-bound ramp to gain access to the downstream pit. The shutdown had to be coordinated with the state’s department of transportation, city officials and the visitor and convention bureau to find a time when traffic back-ups would not interfere with preplanned activities. Because the downtown area is packed with summer activities, there were only three weekends that all three would allow the contractor to shut down the on-bound ramp to the freeway.

As a result, Michels adhered to a tight schedule to complete the necessary preparation and get the installation started without any delays.

For this project, Michels used a NordiTube lining system manufactured by Sekisui SPR Americas LLC, which is a pressure-rated CIPP liner that is certified to the NSF/ANSI 61 Standard for potable water. The liner was saturated with epoxy resin at Michels’ wet-out facility in Brownsville, about 150 miles away, and shipped to the jobsite in a refrigerated truck.

Michels Pipe Services continues to grow its CIPP installations throughout North America and has become a leader in trenchless technology and pipe rehabilitation.
David Rosenberg is senior manager, water rehabilitation services, for Michels Pipe Services.
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