Near Pensacola, Florida, the residents of Santa Rosa County will tell you, Ward Basin Road is known for being very wet, even in times of drought. After Santa Rosa repaved the road, they found that the large, underlying 72-in. corrugated metal pipes (CMP) installed sometime in the 1970s were beginning to deteriorate, and were full of water from the Yellow River and Blackwater Bay. And, as the river and bay rise, so does the water level on Ward Basin Road.
Add to that, Ward Basin is a long, dead-end road surrounded by water. Replacing the pipes with open cut would have been an access nightmare for residents who live towards the end of the road, not to mention damage the brand-new asphalt paving.
Santa Rosa County sought bids for CIPP repair and awarded the contract to PCC Trenchless. PCC has been in Pensacola, since 1963 and began its work with utilities in 1970. Previously named Pensacola Concrete Construction, PCC still stands as one of the oldest companies in the Pensacola area. PCC began spreading its utility services in 1999, and began providing a variety of trenchless pipe repairs.
After one delay in the Notice to Proceed (NTP), due to COVID and it being an extremely hot start to the summer (resin-soaked liners don’t do well in the heat), PCC was given the green light to proceed with the Ward Basin CIPP install in July. It was determined that three 72-in. felt liners were needed, each 65 ft in length.
PCC purchased AquaCure PU coated liners, manufactured by Applied Felts and wet-out by FerraTex Solutions. Applied Felts/FerraTex was chosen due to its quality, customer service, price and ability to deliver. FerraTex wet-out the three liners in its facility in Tennessee, carefully packed ice in between the different layers, and shipped the liners in its refrigerator truck to PCC in early July 2021. The truck could not hold all three of these monstrous liners, PCC and FerraTex decided to ship two of the liners on the first shipment, then the third shipped two weeks later.
Upon arrival, rain began in the area and lasted for a solid three weeks. Originally, PCC had planned to transfer the liners from FerraTex’s rental trailer, into its own 53-ft refrigerator trailer, but after attempting to transfer the liners using a CAT 938 loader with construction forks, the crew realized they needed to find something larger to handle the 72-in. liners. Searching throughout Pensacola, they reached out to Cowin Equipment who had a Volvo L120 with forks. Cowin did not mind lending a hand, so PCC brought its reefer and the FerraTex reefer to Cowin’s yard in Pensacola. When they attempted to make the transfer, the pallet holding the 72-in. liners began to crush due to the sheer weight of the two 72-in. liners. Each weighed 15,000 lbs (200 lbs per lf).
“They were literally, the largest liners anyone has ever installed in Pensacola,” said PCC president Ben Joyner. PCC was able to take over the rental from FerraTex for the trailer the liners were in. As it continued to rain, the liners ended up sitting in the refrigerator truck, in the PCC yard.
“Because FerraTex did such a great job icing, the liners were saved, no issues whatsoever, in the summer, in Florida, for three weeks. Note, large diameter impregnated liners generate a lot of heat due to the sheer mass of resin and liner material involved,” said Joyner.
With a break in the rain after three weeks after the liners were delivered, as well as the delivery of project manager, Drew Matthews and his wife Zoey’s third baby boy! PCC was able to set up onsite and start the dewatering process. As the crew attempted to divert/dewater using their normal techniques, it became apparent that they wouldn’t suffice.
“We explored using sheet pilings but due to the distance from the usable right of way, existing underground utilities (phone, fiber optic and potable water), overhead powerlines and thick vegetation/trees, sheet piling wasn’t an option. A traditional cofferdam would require hauling in several hundred cubic yards of soil which the county would not allow to be dumped into the watershed. We had to improvise using “bulk bags” which hold a single cubic yard of dirt and are made of the same material as sandbags, to cofferdam and divert the water,” said Matthews.
“It was very challenging from the start. Santa Rosa County employees were on site in the beginning. They saw the amount of water we were dealing with and shook their heads and wished us luck. It was like pushing water up a hill, as soon as we got ahead, another storm came,” said Joyner.
Due to the three 72-in. diameter pipes being side-by-side, the water was diverted to flow through one pipe and the other two pipes were isolated in order to fit large scaffolding in front of the host pipes for installation. PCC used five 6-in. pumps to divert from the upstream side of the road through the discharge pipe, which ran into the woods. An additional 6-in. pump on the downstream side helped divert water out of the work area. Once the uphill battle against water diversion, rainstorms, and high tide was won, installation began.
A large excavator was brought in to lift each 15,000-lb liner 10 ft to the top of the scaffolding. Water curing was chosen over steam or UV. Ironically, there wasn’t a hydrant close enough to fill the liner (which would take 10,000 gallons during the install for each liner). So, water was pumped from the basin that they were fighting to keep at bay. Win win.
“With the first liner we didn’t do the best job securing the tail end of the liner “turnback” thus causing a slow leak during curing. We had to keep pumping cold water into the bag in order to maintain head pressure for proper adhesion to the host pipe, which in turn slows the heating process down. A lesson learned,” Matthews said.
“Using the same set-up, we installed the second liner, which was relatively uneventful. The third liner however, we needed to move our scaffold and bulk bags to divert the water through one of the now lined pipes, which as you can imagine, was redundant of the first process. In the end, all the liners came out beautiful, sandbags were taken out, and the site was restored to the point that no one would know it had been completely revitalized,” said Matthews.