Stormwater Infiltration…What’s The Big Deal?

Pipeline Inspection Camera TractorSo there’s a little extra water draining through the storm-pipes…what’s the big deal?

We hear this a lot…especially from condo and homeowners associations…and we get it. Most of the time, the pipes aren’t overly surcharged and they can handle a little extra flow just fine. And it would be just fine, until we point out that water isn’t all that gets into the storm system when there are leaky joints or cracks in aging pipes. Sand and silt are carried with the water and that sand and silt have to come from somewhere…but where does it come from?

It’s amazing how community managers’ perspectives change when we point out cracks running down the middle of the road or dips in the pavement around manhole covers and explain that it’s the result of storm-system infiltration carrying away the earth that supports their road-base. Many had never really given it a thought and assumed that such defects in pavement and roads might just be part of the compaction and natural aging process of all roadways. What’s more, many don’t realize that the erosion of earth around storm pipes over time can present much more significant structural problems as growing underground voids remove support and allow pipes to shift, leading to cracking or separating joints between pipe segments resulting in major damage to the system. If the damage is extensive enough, pipes may need to be excavated and replaced or re-laid which involves tearing up and replacing everything above them (which may include roadways, sidewalks, children’s play areas, or worse…buildings). $!

So what’s the answer? . . Prevention and Regular Maintenance.

All condo associations, apartment complexes, HOAs, and commercial centers should have a regular stormwater maintenance plan in place that includes the cleaning and video inspection of stormwater pipelines on an annual or bi-annual basis.

Regular cleaning of stormwater systems ensures that during periods of heavy rain the systems are able to function at their optimal efficiency to carry stormwater away from parking lots, roads, and buildings…preventing flooding and allowing visitors continuity of access to the property.

Regular video pipeline inspection, which is performed using robotic pipeline inspection cameras, can identify leaks and potential problem areas in your storm-system before significant erosion occurs.

With early detection of infiltration and other structural problems in storm-systems, a variety of trenchless methods can be employed to stop leaks, fill voids, and restore the system to good working order without the need to dig up pipelines. In most cases, the sooner problems are identified and addressed, the less expensive they are to repair and the less damage will be caused to surrounding features.

Moral of the story: Clean regularly, identify issues early, repair trenchlessly, prevent sink-holes and erosion, and keep the system functioning in peak form. In the long run…the savings can be substantial. 

All South Underground can help with the development and implementation of your storm-system maintenance program; please contact your All South representative or call (888) 382-6259 for more information. 

Easiest Way to Save Money on Pipeline Acceptance…Protect the Pipe!

Installation of new pipeline is a resource intensive process to begin with. Delays and problems can lead to rapidly climbing costs and reduced margins. One way to reduce costs is to prevent repeated cleanings and inspections of lines prior to final acceptance by the customer. Protect new installations from silt contamination.

All South Adds Capability to Remote Grout Elliptical Pipe

Manned entry into stormwater pipeline systems presents an inherent risk no matter how well precautions are taken and OSHA requirements are followed; the risk is exacerbated when pipe diameters get down below 30″. All South Underground has long been a proponent and provider of the remote packer-based pipeline repair method that utilizes a closed circuit camera and robotic packer to remotely inject grout into joints, cracks, and other dificiencies in pipelines smaller than 30″. The resulting repairs are often much less expensive than lining methods and a fraction of the cost of dig-and-replace methods…and best of all…the method puts safety first and keeps workers out of highly confined spaces.

In the past, options for repairing leaking joints or other localized deficiencies in elliptical pipe were extremely limited. Cured-in-place lining of the entire pipe span could be very costly and dig-and-repair/replace methods are also costly, especially if the pipe runs under buildings, roadways or other infrastructure. Sectional cured-in-place point repairs posed a different risk as cylindrical inflatable carriers struggle to provide adequate pressure to the elongated portions of elliptical pipe walls, all too often resulting in a catastrophic packer failure or poorly fitted liner; both of which present the challenging requirement to remove the defective liner in pipe that was too small for manned entry to begin with.

To solve this problem, All South Underground has enlisted the help of a leading grout packer manufacturer, which has provided made-to-order elliptically shaped remote packers specifically tailored to fit the dimensions of common elliptical RCP storm pipes. The packers work seamlessly with the company’s existing remote grouting systems. Using acrylamide based grouts, All South Underground is now able to permanently seal leaking joints, cracks, and other deficiencies in 14″ x 23″ and “19 x 30” elliptical pipe.

City of Tampa Awards All South Storm Filter Contract

All South Underground looks forward to providing the city of Tampa with excellent service inline with the city’s efforts protect bays and nearshore waters from pollution. On thursday, the city of Tampa awarded All South Underground a city-wide contract to clean bay-saving stormwater filter boxes around Tampa that trap oil, trash, and other debris from stormwater runoff before it flows into Tampa’s rivers, lakes, and bays. As part of the contract, All South Underground will be tasked with hydro-vac cleaning and refurbishment of stormwater system baffle boxes and filters to ensure that they are operating at peak efficiency.

The Black and White of Laser Profiling

Laser profiling is as much an art as a science. New technology for evaluating the condition of pipelines only comes along so often. Laser profiling sees what the eye cannot.

Pipeline Inspection Camera Tractor

Laser Profiling Brings Deflection to Light

When earth settles, roadbeds compress, and bedding erodes, flexible pipelines deflect. Deflection of new and existing pipe can be a serious problem for contractors and asset managers. Deflected pipelines can indicate poor installation practices, result in reduced flow capacity, and increase the likelihood of faulty joints that leak. Identifying pipeline deflection is an important part of a comprehensive asset management program…but when standard pipeline video is all you have to go on…how can you tell?

All South Underground offers the solution. Laser based pipeline deflection analysis, otherwise known as “Laser Profiling,” is a technique that involves the use of a red laser system in conjunction with video inspection and specialized image recognition software to provide a highly accurate digital profile of the inside of pipelines. The resulting report can be read in chart form or viewed as a 3-Dimensional (3D) model of the inside of the pipeline.

Laser Profiling can be performed by All South Underground as an add-on to most video inspection services for pipelines ranging from 6″ to over 60″.

Chemical Grout Stops Infiltration

Chemical grout provides a cost-effective and permanent solution to stop infiltration in pipeline and collections systems. For decades however, the practice of chemical grouting has been an obscure and scarcely understood art among underground utility managers.  All South Underground seeks to change that by teaming up with a number of key industry partners to present customers with clear specifications.

FDOT Removes Rigid-Pipe Laser Profile Requirement

Rigid pipe will still need to have joints laser measured, but laser profiling of entire pipe spans will only be required for flexible pipe types such as those made of HDPE. The requirement to joint measure non-rigid pipe has also been lifted. In the past, all stormwater pipe had to be both laser profiled and laser joint measured.

“It’s a big win for many pipelayers who have had to endure the extra expense to laser profile rigid pipeline, such as Reinforced Concrete Pipe,” says Sam Walsh, project manager at GLM Site Contractors Inc. The latest spec update appears to be in response to feedback garnered during FDOT working group sessions [which ASU leadership has been a participant of] and demonstrates FDOT’s willingness to work with industry leaders to adapt to changing times and modern technologies. Experience had demonstrated that rigid pipe from reputable manufacturers was nearly always close to its ideal shape unless it was damaged during installation and that such damage was easily recognizable in routine video inspections.

Laser Profiling utilizes laser projection and specialized machine vision software that analyzes each frame of pipeline video to determine deviation from the pipeline’s ideal shape.

Laser Joint Measurement utilizes camera-mounted lasers and to digitally measure the gap between pipe joints; the technology is also used to determine the size of defects such as cracks and spalls.