Pennsylvania City to Use CIPP for Sewer Line Repairs

Work will begin this fall on repairing sewer lines along Prospect Street in Brackenridge using an innovative method financed by a $225,000 stimulus grant through Allegheny County, according to

The borough is one of two Allegheny County communities in the Valley to receive a stimulus grant from the county’s Department of Economic Development for sewer line repair. Blawnox also received $225,000 for that purpose, according to Tom Beniecki, executive director of the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments.

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Beniecki said the grants are from a $4.3 million pot of stimulus money the county received for such projects.

“When the county was looking at how to spend the money, they decided that they were going to focus on critical repair of existing sewer segments,” Beniecki said, adding that the focus centered on communities that are primarily low to moderate income.

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“The borough was very proactive to get a contractor in there to televise the lines a year ago,” said Jim Garvin, Brackenridge’s engineer. “With those reports, they were able to find that Prospect Street and some of those other streets are deficient.”

Beniecki said that was critical to Brackenridge’s landing the grant.

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“They had taken the first steps on their own,” he said. “Having done that, they had already identified the extent and locations of the work, and that definitely put them at the head of the list.”

Garvin said the county grant will cover the cost of repairing the combined sanitary/storm sewer line, with the borough putting up about $30,000 for engineering costs.

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Repairing the lines will involve the use of what is known as “cure-in-place pipe” or CIPP, according to Garvin.

“It’s a trenchless technology where they put a soft liner in the lines and then use steam to inflate it,” he explained. “It takes the shape of the pipe and seals the cracks in the line.”

Garvin said the heat from the steam also serves to seal the pipe.

“There is a resin in the liner and what happens is that steam cooks the resin and it hardens to the shape of the pipe,” Garvin said.

Larry Seiler of Senate Engineers said other communities have used the method in the past on projects in which he was involved. He said Verona, Harmar and Cheswick have all used it.

He said it has been around for about 10 years.

“It’s gained more popularity because more companies are doing it and the technology is better,” Seiler said. “It’s very successful. I would recommend it, but it depends on the situation. Sometimes its more cost effective to dig it up.”

But Garvin said the beauty of CIPP is that excavating is not necessary.

“We don’t tear up the streets, there is a lot less impact on traffic,” he said. “Plus, the great thing is we can do it year-round.

“We can do a trenchless job for 50 percent less than digging out a line and replacing it,” Garvin said, adding that the strength of the liner is significant and equal to that of normal replacement pipe.

He said doing the repairs on a manhole-to-manhole basis, about 300 feet at a time, takes one day. He estimated about 5,000 feet of line will be repaired in the Prospect Street project.

Garvin said the project likely will go out to bid in October.

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