Case Studies - Winter 2021

Case Studies - Winter 2021

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Acoustic sensors detect leaks in water network



Problem:

A2A Ciclo Idrico (a company of the A2A Group) operates more than 1,800 miles of iron water pipes in Italy. As part of its intensive efforts to increase their efficiency, it has looked for advanced technologies that will enable it to reduce its water loss and energy costs.



Solution:

The company initiated a leak detection pilot with Aquarius Spectrum which was carried out in Brescia City. Based on GIS data, 39 acoustic correlating sensors have been installed to cover around 9 miles of pipes. The pilot site was closed to Brescia’s football stadium, and despite heavy traffic disruptions due to an important match, within two days all sensors were installed and activated. The sensors combined with cloud-based analysis software, and unique algorithms enable tracing and accurately locating hidden leaks.

Result: During the first week, 10 hidden leaks were found. One of them was a huge leak that had surfaced to the ground within a few hours from its time of detection. The next step was verification and pinpointing of POI raised by the AQS-SYS fixed monitoring system, so it used Aquarius’ smartphone-based mobile leak detection equipment — iQuarius. In total, 20 leaks have been verified and fixed in just a few months. Thanks to the successful pilot, the Italian utility has purchased 235 AQS acoustic sensors that will allow it to continue monitoring the current area and to expand to additional areas. www.aqs-systems.com


When COVID weighs down collections systems, predictive technology lightens the load



Problem:

Initially, the COVID-19 pandemic brought well-publicized shortages of toilet paper and created a high demand for wipes, masks and latex gloves. These sewer-unfriendly items unfortunately found their way into conveyance systems, forming blockages and fouling pumps. Maintenance staffs were challenged to apply their limited resources, like hotspot cleaning, as they lacked the means to see a developing blockage in real-time.



Solution:

To address this, 82 utilities across the U.S. took advantage of a technology from ADS Environmental Services. Using existing flow and/or level monitoring networks, they joined a pro bono program that added machine-learning-based, predictive software to detect developing blockages in very early stages. The software identified and prioritized locations based on urgency, providing up to a week’s worth of advanced notice. Thus, they were able to target limited maintenance resources and mitigate sanitary sewer overflow threats. This program prevented a total of 80 SSOs from May through October.

Result: Some of these utilities went further and hypothesized that this predictive technology could be used to reduce scheduled cleaning where they were often cleaning clean pipes. Three studies tested this hypothesis. Cleaning high frequency sites was performed only as the software indicated. Reductions of 80%, 86% and 94% were achieved with no SSOs. The pandemic has shown that predictive, machine-learning software is creating new opportunities for SSO prevention and substantial maintenance efficiency increases. 800-633-7246; www.adsenv.com


Device seals leak without repiping 



Problem:

A shopping plaza in California noticed an increase in its water bill. After some investigating, maintenance crews were able to pinpoint the cause of the issue being a leak located in a 3/4-inch line running below hardwood flooring. The leak was losing 1.4 gpm. 



Solution:

The Aquapea from Internal Pipe Technologies was chosen as the preferred solution to seal the leak. Crews used an external pump to boost the unusually low city water pressure. The device was launched into the system to seal the leak. It traveled through the line and was drawn to the leak’s location by the flow of the escaping water. 

Result: In this situation, it took approximately 45 seconds for the Aquapea to find and seal the leak. The shopping plaza now has a 0.0 gpm leak reading. 325-788-1139; www.internalpipetech.com


Catch basin risers valuable commodity for contractor



Problem:

J.C. Lee Construction & Supply was founded in 1977 and is based in Petrolia, Pennsylvania, and specializes in drainage subcontracting on highway projects, with more than 95% of its work for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The big line items on its contracts are usually the installation of underground drainage pipes and large culverts, but there are plenty of details like catch basins to take care of too. Getting these details right is often the key to a high quality, profitable project.



Solution:

Catch basin risers are used when inlet grates need to be raised to the final elevation of new paving. Rather than excavating the old rim and installing new grade rings — which can take hours and exposes crews to pinch and strain injuries — precisely sized American Highway Products risers are simply placed into the original rim, where they are tapped into place to provide a new, at-grade rim for the original inlet grate. Because they have a long history of use and are made of sturdy U.S. steel, the Pennsylvania DOT (and most DOTs) approve them for all projects. Even while exposed, they are strong enough to support heavy truck traffic and can stay in place during construction and milling.

Result: In all the years the company has used them, J.C. Lee has never seen an American Highway Products riser fail. So fairly often, the final appearance and performance of the inlet is actually improved by the use of a riser, since no edges are exposed. “I’m able to order riser height in 1/4-inch size increments starting at 3/4 inch, and dimensionally in 1/16-inch increments, in every dimension,” says Andrew Lawrence, a civil engineer with J.C. Lee. “I really don’t know what we’d do without them.” 888-272-2397; www.ahp1.com


Data helps city tackle rainwater overflow issue



Problem:

Dublin, Ohio, contracts with Columbus for drinking and wastewater. In the early 1990s, Dublin found that it was buying 2 to 3 mgd from Columbus, yet when it rained, the city was pumping over 10 mgd. That increase created overflows at its pump station, resulting in significant property damage in homes in two sensitive areas.



Solution:

The city turned to Hach Flow’s Data Delivery Services. DDS is an efficient flow monitoring service where, for a fixed monthly fee, Hach Flow provides all the equipment, resources and support the city needs to acquire real-time flow data. With DDS, the city was able to see how rainfall affects its sanitary sewers and employ a more proactive bypass pumping plan. DDS level alarms provide it with real-time text message alerts when the sewer is being affected by the rainfall.

Result: “[With DDS] we get reliable, dependable and real-time data either on our computer or as text messages on my phone,” says Bill Graubaugh, operations administrator. “We have responded in every instance before sustaining any property damage. The elimination of cleanup costs alone, not to mention the bad publicity, is worth every penny. With DDS I have instant access to data and alerts. I know immediately when something goes awry. It is very clear to me that this is the way to go. I have nothing but praise for this system.” 800-227-4224; www.hach.com


Electrode leak location helps Florida utility identify infiltration



Problem:

After spending decades and millions of dollars rehabilitating sewer pipes across its service area, a large coastal Florida utility realized its legacy pipe inspection program was failing to reduce excessive and unwanted infiltration.



Solution:

The utility engaged Electro Scan to perform a Focused Electrode Leak Location pipe inspection program, comparing equal lengths of 50-year-old unlined vitrified clay pipe, newly lined cured-in-place pipe, and 15-year-old CIPP liners to evaluate its efficacy to support improved rehabilitation strategies.

Result: Remarkably, the 50-year-old unlined VCP performance for controlling I&I was 2.5 times greater than the newly rehabilitated CIPP liners. This single finding resulted in an immediate priority to inspect all remaining VCP to identify which pipes do and do not require further attention at this time. The cost avoidance benefit of this alone will exceed several million dollars. A side-by-side comparison was also performed between FELL and legacy CCTV inspection results. By stark contrast, FELL documented 1,188 individual infiltration defects, compared to just 34 defects identified by CCTV inspection. More importantly, FELL inspection found 74% of customer taps were defective, compared to only 3% seen using CCTV inspection. 800-975-6149; www.electroscan.com


Town finds easy solution for root intrusion issues

Problem: 

The town of Brandon, Vermont, dealt with continuing root intrusion issues in an 8-inch gravity sewer that originated on Pearl Street, and runs along Maple Street. The route has a couple of Crimson King Maple trees that the town considers aesthetically valuable, but have large and far-reaching root structures belowground.

Solution: 

RootX is deposited in the manhole at the end of the line on Pearl Street along with about 20 gallons of water. “We treat the line without having to spend about half an hour with the rodding machine and/or 15 minutes with the flusher machine dragged behind the truck,” says Town of Brandon Chief Operator Steve Cijka. “We have 12 river crossings and many are not in a spot to drive a truck up to with a flushing machine, but we can always carry a 40-pound box of RootX to the manhole to treat the line where our machinery cannot reach.”

Result: “There are only two of us on the crew to maintain six pump stations, 22 miles of sewer line, and a 700,000 gpd design extended aeration wastewater plant,” says Cijka. “Being I am 61 and my assistant is 55, we strive to work smarter not harder. The town manager has allowed us to buy a small pallet of RootX at a time to treat a substantial area, so in approximately 4.5 years we would have treated the whole system once.” 800-844-4974; www.rootx.com


Lining used to keep storm pipe from collapsing



Problem:

The city of Carmel, Indiana, was in a dire situation when a rusted water pipe ruptured, creating a massive sinkhole in the road at a major intersection. Fortunately, officers arrived at the scene and were able to secure the area surrounding the 12- by 18-foot hole before any accidents occurred. The storm pipe was removed and replaced, but the city was faced with another obstacle: There was another 220 linear feet of storm pipe between the replaced section and a drainage lake that could collapse at any time.

Solution:

Removing the remaining pipe was not a practical option due to the location of utilities in the area. Conco Spray Solutions provided the city with an alternative solution: a structural liner that would hold infiltration back and provide a long-term structural solution with a 50-year design life. Time was of the essence, so after the lake was pumped down, the pipe was dried and cleaned to remove debris. The Conco Spray team pressure washed the pipe surface at 5,000 psi. Mortar was used to repair rusted voids in the invert. As voids were filled, more leaks became evident, so chemical grout was utilized. The ASTM F1216 formula was calculated using a fully deteriorated pipe for a 50-plus-year design life. Sprayroq’s SprayWall lining was applied at a thickness of approximately 630 mils.

Result: By providing a quick application and not removing the existing structure, Conco Spray Solutions minimized the disruption of traffic flow and preserved the natural landscape. 205-957-0020; www.sprayroq.com


Spincasters reduce manhole repair time by 50%



Problem:

Manhole rehabilitation in southern Texas is not for the faint of heart. Thousands of manholes and an aged sewer system create complexities beyond a typical rehab project, including infiltration concerns and even structural collapses, all while navigating inside confined spaces.



Solution:

For National Works and its fleet of HyFlex Slinger spincasters and 30GM pump and mixer systems, manhole rehabilitation is just another day at the office. Chris Olmstead, operations manager at National Works, and his team put HyFlex equipment in the forefront of planning to meet timeline and productivity goals. The spincaster applies a specialty cementitious lining called SewperCoat to manholes with limited entry time, increasing efficiency through repetition while eliminating errors found with traditional manual application methods. Approximately 50% of the work gets completed before a contractor enters the manhole for hand finishing/troweling. Olmstead and his team map out subproject areas when managing geographically expansive projects, using a fabricated system for manholes grouped in a close proximity. For remote locations, portability and the small footprint of the Slinger and 30GM allow equipment to be within a couple hundred feet of the manhole to pump material to that distance, which isn’t possible with other equipment. This process ensures evenly spread materials, elimination of confined space issues, and improved safety.

Result: National Works is receiving high job performance ratings and crew satisfaction with the HyFlex Slinger and 30GM equipment. Project time is significantly reduced. Consistency and safety factors are greatly improved. Utilizing a fleet of high-quality equipment ensures that all projects stay on track. 866-849-6246; www.hyflexcorp.com 



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