Urban expansion is a reality in many jurisdictions. This reality is forcing many municipalities to recognize the growing need for new infrastructure and existing infrastructure upgrades. One of the largest components of a municipality’s infrastructure deficit is not roads and bridges, it is an underground network responsible for managing fresh water and removing wastewater.
Addressing this need is critical and in the process of building these new systems and updating existing underground infrastructure, significant quantities of liquid waste are generated. The technologies used to implement these upgrades include tunnel boring, microtunneling, directional drilling, and hydro-excavation. These activities underneath or in proximity to large urban areas increase the likelihood of groundwater and soil contamination. This creates more complex challenges for the management of liquid waste generated in the process. New polymer technology can help address these challenges and ensure compliant waste management and broader disposal options for the general contractor.
Risk to freshwater systems and wastewater security are significant areas of concern with underground infrastructure projects. Outdated water infrastructure can lose 40 percent of freshwater from pipe failures and leaks. Much of our wastewater infrastructure was never designed for the current volumes being produced in urban areas. This water management deficit is projected to get worse as more people migrate to cities for employment. The risk of failure is becoming more probable and municipalities are managing liability through a risk management process. Cities will continue to expand and urban density will continue to intensify. Addressing this growing issue to manage water security will require the application of new technologies and creative problem solving with a new level of urgency.