Protecting Pipes Against the Rain

Connecticut utility tackles problems with porous interceptor pipe.

Ray Jarema oversees the operations of the Berlin Water Commission’s wastewater collections system.
Ray Jarema oversees the operations of the Berlin Water Commission’s wastewater collections system.

The Berlin (Connecticut) Water Control Commission’s wastewater collections system is back in top form with the completion of a $2.2 million inflow and infiltration project that included relining 9,700 feet of interceptor ranging from 12 to 18 inches.

The project took a few extra months to complete thanks to an unusually rainy stretch of weather, but Ray Jarema, water production manager, says the town’s system is much improved.

Jarema, who oversees the operations of the commission’s freshwater production and distribution, as well as the town’s wastewater collections system, says that the interceptor, which includes a key stretch through a wetlands area, had shown signs of “significant leakage” but was not at a critical stage. The line is part of a system that was first installed in the semirural town in the 1970s. An engineering firm was hired in 2017 to study flows and inspect the interceptor with cameras.

“We looked at this more as preventive maintenance,” Jarema says. “This part of our system hadn’t been touched since the 1970s.”

Although many property owners still use onsite septic systems for their wastewater, Jarema’s department oversees 37 miles of sewer lines and 10 pumping stations that collect approximately 1 billion gallons of wastewater per year and delivers it to the Mattabassett District Water Pollution Control Facility in neighboring Cromwell. That treatment plant processes wastewater from New Britain, Berlin, Cromwell, Middletown, Newington, Rocky Hill and Farmington before discharging treated effluent into the Connecticut River. While the Mattabassett District brings a large part of the Hartford region under one umbrella for water and sewer services, in the town of Berlin, the Berlin Water Control Commission is just one of three agencies serving the public.

Berlin’s interceptor project was funded through the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which provided a 20-year loan at 2% interest, as well as a $20,000 grant to help pay engineering costs.

Cardinal Engineering Associates of nearby Meriden handled the I&I study and the design for the relining of the interceptor. The contractor for the project was Michels, which has two Connecticut offices.

Jarema says that despite the weather that pushed the relining into colder weather, the results were good and the project “wound up well within budget.”

Although a neighboring utility had recently run into problems with the curing of its relined interceptor project, Jarema says the process went smoothly for Michels’ crews in Berlin. The manager cites the engineers’ decision to specify hot-water curing rather than steam deserves some of the credit because it gave the new linings more time to cure.


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