For more than three decades, KC Construction Inc. of Basehor, Kan., has successfully provided utilities based throughout Missouri and Kansas with a wide range of underground services including the construction of natural gas, electrical, water, storm and sanitary lines.
However, in recent years company owner and president David Breuer began to realize the market opportunity for a new array of services dedicated specifically to the repair and rehabilitation of the area’s storm and wastewater pipelines. “Much of the region’s pipelines are 80 to 100 years old and composed of clay, which deteriorates and cracks over time,” explains Breuer. “As a result, many of our existing customers, as well as the region’s commercial businesses and municipalities, were constantly suffering from a multitude of pipeline problems. Unfortunately, few local companies specializing in this area of expertise existed and even less were available to address these challenges in a timely fashion. That’s when we realized a real niche for this business and introduced our own service last summer.”
In June 2008, KC Construction became a licensee of Ultraliner Inc. to install PVC Alloy in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. With a primary emphasis on municipalities and commercial business, in less than one year KC Construction has already established its niche among numerous neighboring townships and organizations such as the Kansas Turnpike Authority, which are currently seeking cost-effective and timely alternatives to pipeline replacement procedures.
“There have been many driving factors for the fast success of KC Construction,” says Breuer. “The deterioration of the area’s aging pipelines, increasingly stringent governmental regulations, the rising availability of state and federal funds to improve pipeline infrastructure, and the growing need for reliable repair specialists have all combined to keep us extremely busy this past year.
“Another extremely attractive benefit of our services is the ability to rehab pipelines that normally would have been replaced. In most instances, we can repair a 1,000 ft, 12-in.stretch of sanitary pipeline in a day, when the alternative could take several days or even weeks. This also doesn’t even take into consideration the added costs, manpower and inconveniences involved with the replacement process, especially if it’s performed around streets, highways or other public locations.”
Composed of five professionals including Breuer, KC Construction’s rehabilitation services begin with a thorough examination of pipeline interiors to document all the challenges, which can normally include cracks, infiltration, calcification, root intrusions and collapses. In every case, this effort includes the use of a remotely operated video inspection crawler designed to carry a robotically articulated camera hundreds of feet into pipelines to capture detailed imagery of structural problems.
KC Construction performs this task with the 12-in. Envirosight ROVVER, selected for its superior maneuverability and ease-of-use. In addition to being fully modular with interchangeable wheels, lamps and cameras, the ROVVER offers users the benefits of a short wheelbase and six-wheel drive, which easily allow it to maneuver around protruding pipe taps, over thick patches of sludge, up offsets and around tight bends in piping ranging from 6 to 24 in. in diameter.
“Every job starts and ends with a ROVVER pipeline inspection,” says Eric Giles of KC Construction. “We normally insert the crawler into a manhole or another access point and then use the device’s camera to retrieve detailed 360-degree imagery of the pipeline. It couldn’t be easier to use since it so readily maneuvers over taps and other obstacles as well as around bends and corners.
“The imagery is also so clear, which is extremely important since we document the process from beginning to end for review with our customers. It not only makes them more comfortable with the job we performed, it also validates the employ of our services that in many cases must be approved by municipal budget committees.”
Once the initial images are captured by the crawler, KC Construction then starts the rehabilitation work by pulling a length of Ultraliner PVC Alloy pipeliner through the pipeline using existing access points. The liner is then heated and pressurized — in essence blow molded — to ensure it tightly and smoothly conforms to the pipeline interior. Among the results is a newly rehabilitated pipeline that is free of irregularities and is also far more resistant to stress and most forms of intrusion.
Before leaving the site, the crawler is then used once again by KC Construction to photograph the rehabilitated section of pipeline. The images, which are captured in the form of stills and on DVD, are also combined with the earlier imagery through the use of WinCan documentation software to create a high-resolution resource that details both ends of the project and can easily be reviewed and archived by the client.
“From start to finish, most rehabilitation projects are finished by our company in six to eight hours,” adds Breuer. “We believe we’ve developed an extremely reliable, cost-effective and timely service that’s been made even more efficient through the use of the ROVVER. Plus, the crawler has certainly supplied us with more than enough documentation to back these claims. Its imagery has not only been used to document the success of our efforts to existing clients, but also to clearly demonstrate our expertise to new customers and prospects.”
As for the future, Breuer believes he will add another Envirosight ROVVER to the company’s list of resources in the coming year. “If the demand for our service continues to increase, we will definitely need another crawler from Envirosight this year. In addition to the quality of their equipment, we couldn’t be happier with their responsiveness, training and willingness to support our needs.”
Richard Linder is president of Envirosight.