Finding a Fix for 473 Leaks

HydraTite seals provide a no-dig solution after improper sewer line installation.

Finding a Fix for 473 Leaks

Inspectors determined improper installation was causing significant infiltration immediately after installation, but only at the joints. 

Interested in Pipes?

Get Pipes articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Pipes + Get Alerts

After installing a brand-new, 36-inch-diameter, 3,700-foot reinforced concrete sewer line segment, an Ohio River Valley municipality found to their horror that it was leaking along its entire length.

Perfunctory testing showed that every one of the pipe’s 473 joints was leaking due to improper installation. It would be impossible to put the line into service with so much infiltration.

The municipality considered several options for repair, including lining the entire length of pipe and ripping the pipe out entirely. Both options were expensive overkill; the pipe was new, the trench was already filled, and the infiltration was only at the joints. Municipal officials also discussed the possibility of using chemical grout.

Less disruption

A Louisville company that specializes in sewer inspection and testing had another suggestion. Robinson Pipe Cleaning recommended HydraTech Engineered Products’ HydraTite internal joint seal. The seals require no excavation and are often used to rehabilitate older pipes with inflow and infiltration issues.

HydraTite seals are used to repair deteriorating pipes from the inside. Often used for emergency repairs, it is a proven solution for joint leaks. The system consists of a customized rubber seal held in place by stainless steel retaining bands. Each seal is manufactured in the U.S. 

The sealing system for this job needed to meet the expected head pressure of a 100-year flood. HydraTech solved this problem by reinforcing the standard seal with an extra steel band.

Considering lead times, costs, and job duration, the municipality decided to go with this all-mechanical, no-excavation fix.

Joining forces

Because the municipality had an aggressive schedule to repair the pipe and bring it online, HydraTech and Robinson Pipe Cleaning decided to join forces. HydraTech fabricated the seals on an expedited schedule and provided installation training and certification for Robinson Pipe Cleaning. The city approved the team’s repair plan and quickly moved on to the installation process.

The goal was to install all 473 seals in just six weeks. The process moved quickly and was replicated at each joint. First, the rubber seal manufactured to match the pipe diameter was laid into the joint. Then, the first stainless steel retaining band was locked into place with a hydraulic expander, utilizing the HydraTech wedge-lock system. The second steel band was then added, along with the value pressure tester. The Robinson Pipe Cleaning crew was able to install each seal in less than 90 minutes.

Everyone held their breath as each joint was pressure tested using the HydraTech valve (it works like a “soap test” to see if air is getting into pipe joints.) Much to the relief of the installation crew and utility, each one sealed properly with no leaks. The team had completed the job on time, and the municipality was able to put the repaired line into service quicker and more affordably than they had dared hope.

One of the Robinson Pipe Cleaning project supervisors summed up the process like this: “Installation was extremely simple and made it easy to meet production numbers. The training staff was very helpful and great to work with on this project. The onsite inspector was blown away during the low-pressure air test because the pressure didn’t drop at all.”


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.