Bridgeport plumber builds a better pipe – Mainline Media News

Members of the Trenchless Line Company, clockwise from left: Matt Laffredo, Attilio Bolognese, David Melle Sr., co-owner Dave Melle Jr., co-owner Rick Melle and co-owner Patrick Bolognese show off some of their equipment on April 13, 2011. Photo: Gene Walsh Staff

Along with root canals and income taxes, sewers are one of those things no one wants to think about.

But if the time ever comes that your sewer line needs a major overhaul, Trenchless Line Company can do the job for a lot less money and hassle than you might think, says owner Dave Melle.

He founded TLC as an offshoot of his existing company with his brother Richard Melle, with whom he also runs the Gladwynne-based full-service plumbing company Merrik Group, and his lifelong buddy Patrick Bolognese of Attilio Plumbing.

“We really believe in this product,” said Dave Melle.

“We all have a plumbing background and saw the trenchless alternative as an opportunity to expand and grow our business.”

The CIPP (Cured In Place Piping) concept is the most widely accepted method for restoring structural integrity and reducing inflow and infiltration, he noted.

“It's a technology that's been around since the '70s and continues to be perfected, but now people are taking advantage of it. Homeowners and property managers aren't really familiar with this process yet. It's more the civil engineers who know about it, so now we're trying to market ourselves so people understand it and how we can save them time and money and avoid disrupting their property with minimal disruption to the ground.”

The CIPP process uses a pipe-in-pipe method to seal holes, breaks and joint defects in pipes, creating a joint that is actually much stronger than the original assembly.

“We can lay down a fabric liner that's mixed with a resin that becomes stronger than the existing sewer pipe you're lining, and you don't have to dig foundations,” Melle added. “That can save people money and time and prevent all kinds of damage to their property.”

Any homeowner or business with outdated sewer lines is a potential customer, he noted.

“It's a way for homeowners and businesses to save money in this tough economy, and it's a more efficient way to fix sewer and drain problems. A lot of people just get the lines wired, but that costs them a few hundred dollars and then the sewer is clogged again. The plumbers come and clean it again, but that's not a real fix. It's just a Band-Aid on it.”

The men have already completed several local CIPP jobs – “If it makes sense for us to go to North Dakota, we’ll go that distance for a job of the right size,” Melle explained – and now offer free sewer assessments to all homeowners and businesses.

“We provide them with a DVD that shows what their sewer system looks like and then they can make an informed decision about what they want to do.”

TLC sources its materials from Global Pipelining Supply.

“Every plumber has their own type of inversion tank and their own way of doing things,” Melle said. “The way they do things is pretty much the same everywhere, but it's like anything else. One guy invents a winter tire and then 50 different companies make a winter tire. It depends on who you feel most comfortable with… Goodyear, General, Cooper.”

Plumbers interested in learning more about the trenchless alternative are invited to a lunchtime seminar in early May where a Global Pipelining Supply representative will be on-site to explain the process and answer questions.

To participate, contact Dave Melle at 215-NEW-PIPE.

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