Over a century ago, seven 16-in. wrought iron water mains known as the Kearny Multiples were installed across the Passaic River bed, transferring drinking water from the Little Falls Water Treatment Plant to the North Arlington system, and to the Passaic Valley Water Commission’s (PVWC) wholesale customers in the towns of Lyndhurst and Harrison.
Established in 1849, the PVWC is one of the largest and oldest public drinking water providers in New Jersey — the system consists of more than 650 miles of water mains ranging in diameter from 4 to 51 in. and supplies drinking water to nearly 800,000 people and 22 wholesale customers, with an average daily demand of approximately 80 million gallons.
The Kearny Multiples are subject to the river’s tide levels and currents. In 1986, the seven water mains were lined with 12-in. HDPE liner in order to combat the decades of constant exposure to the harsh environmental and operational conditions.
In 2013, the connections to the water main crossings at the pipe header had to be replaced due to fatigue failure on the pipes caused by the currents and tidal influences of the Passaic River. The extensive rehabilitation included replacing the pipe header and the connections to the existing water mains with double-ball expansion joints to allow for pipe movement on the Belleville side of the Passaic River, and the replacement of isolation valves. Additionally, PVWC decommissioned three of the seven water main crossings due to their extremely deteriorated condition, leaving only four active transfer lines.
In 2018, one of the four remaining water main crossings failed. And in 2013, another water main crossing failed, leaving only two active water mains, which significantly reduced the water system’s hydraulic capacity needed to fulfill the consumption demands of PVWC customers on the east side of the river. The reduced capacity became a pressing emergency and needed to be addressed before the summer peak demand season began.
In May 2023, committed to delivering clean and reliable drinking water to its customers and communities and to restore the severely diminished supply system’s capacity, PVWC teamed with J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc. (Creamer), to inspect, assess, clean and effectively rehabilitate the four remaining water main crossings. The 2,200 lf of rehabilitated pipe included the only two remaining and operational water mains, and the two previously failed mains.
Creamer is an ENR Top 400 Contractor in the United States and a leader in trenchless pipeline rehabilitation, specializing in cleaning and spray-in-place pipe (SIPP) lining with cement mortar or Warren Epoxy, Primus Line’s Flexible Fabric Reinforced Pipe (FFRP), sliplining, pipe bursting, internal joint seals and other technologies.
Collaborating and coordinating with PVWC, the Creamer construction and engineering teams developed a plan to efficiently complete the structural rehabilitation of the 2,200 lf of water mains that crossed the Passaic River, using 10-in. Primus Liner manufactured by Rädlinger Primus Line Inc. in Cham, Germany.
The challenging location of the water main crossings, the nature of their subaqueous installation and the active tidal influences made the NSF61-Certified Primus Liner the optimal trenchless rehabilitation solution. Its uniquely engineered design consisting of three layers and the ability to go through multiple horizontal and vertical bends with angles up to 45 degrees made the Primus liner ideal for the rehabilitation of the water mains. The Primus liner three-layer construction incorporates a core layer of Kevlar, which provides strength and flexibility allowing the liner to withstand the seismic movements of water mains, while its smooth interior has a Hazen-Williams C-factor value between 145 and 150.
Since it is installed with an annular space between the liner and host pipe internal surfaces, there is no curing or adhesion process, and the Primus liner accommodates the full system operating pressure independently.
Notwithstanding the difficult location and the site’s conditions, accessibility challenges, and differing as-built records than expected, the Primus Liner System installation, which requires fewer access pits and minor installation footprint, was instrumental in reducing the use of machinery, impact on local traffic, disturbances of daily life near and around jobsite.
Despite the challenges and the extreme emergency, the dedication and hard work of Passaic Valley Water Commission and J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc. ensured the four water main crossings were cleaned, CCTV-inspected, lined, pressure-tested and re-commissioned in less than a four-week period.
The rehabilitated Kearney Multiples, which serve as the sole PVWC feed into the North Arlington system, will now continue to remain in service until a redundant line can be designed and constructed in the future.