Sarnia to use “inflatable pipeline” to fix sewer

Liqui-Force Services photo Liqui-Force Services employees work on inserting a liner into a waste water pipeline. The technology is going to be used on the Colborne Road sewage line saving nearly $2 million.

Liqui-Force Services photo
Liqui-Force Services employees work on inserting a liner into a waste water pipeline. The technology is going to be used on the Colborne Road sewage line saving nearly $2 million.

You might call it the tale of the giant inflatable pipeline.

Sarnia Construction Manager Robert Williams is working with a company called Liqui-Force Services on a new technology to fix a very old pipeline on Colborne Road between Exmouth and Errol Roads.

The sanitary sewer, the main link for homes and businesses north of the 402, is old and has been emitting rotten egg-like smells for several years. The fix was going to be costly, about $4 million, to tear up the road to dig up the pipe and replace it then repair the road again.

But then Williams learned of a new way to fix pipelines using a liner to reinforce the current pipe without digging up the road.

Williams says a felt liner infused with resin particles is pushed through the length of the pipe. Then water or steam is set through it to activate the resins. Then it takes some time for the resins to cure before sewage can begin to flow again.

But to get to the point where the liner is inserted into the existing pipe takes a lot of dirty and dangerous work.

Williams says a bypass will be built to pump the sewage through a pipeline above the ground while the construction goes on.  Once the bypass is turned on, crews will clean the old pipe. Then the work of measuring the existing pipe begins. Williams says much of the work is done by cameras but there is the possibility people will have to crawl into the 3 foot pipeline to do some of the measuring.

“It’s called confined space enter,” says Williams. “There will be a full crew at the manholes and they’ll have a system where they could perform a rescue if necessary.”

Williams adds if a worker would have to enter the pipeline, it would either be fully ventilated or they would be wearing a Scott Air Pack similar to what emergency workers use in chemical events.

Williams has been meeting with the managers of Liqui-Force Services to plan for the construction which is expected to start May 6. The project is expected to cost $1.9 million.

Williams adds if this project works, he can see the city considering using the technology more often to reduce pipeline repair costs.

 

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