SA Water’s quick sewer pipe fix

SA Water is trialling a trenchless solution on its municipal wastewater network for the first time to avoid unnecessary disruption to businesses and the community.

The Quick-Lock Trenchless System is a permanent stainless steel sleeve that is transported within the sewer line to the repair site, where it is expanded by a small compressor to line and seal the pipe.

By inserting the sleeve into the pipe from a sewer access chamber near the intersection of Gawler Place and Rundle Mall in Adelaide's CBD, SA Water crews were recently able to restore the pipe's structural integrity and prevent a potential collapse – without the need for excavation.

Daniel Hoefel, senior manager of infrastructure planning and strategy at SA Water, said South Australia must continue to challenge itself to explore different options for maintaining assets to ensure the impact of its work on the surrounding community is minimised.

“Particularly in the Adelaide CBD, where around 100,000 people live each day during the working week, the potential impact may be even greater, making it the ideal location to test the Quick Lock system,” he said.

“Our team has successfully tested the product on repairs across our regional wastewater network and we were keen to expand the solution to an area that would benefit from trenchless repairs due to the likelihood of disruption.

“Through our proactive CCTV monitoring program for high risk areas in our CBD wastewater network, we discovered that a 150 millimeter diameter pipe had been displaced from the junction, causing wastewater to leak and form a void.”

Hoefel added that if the leak persisted for too long, it would likely become larger and would also cause soil around the pipe to be washed away – increasing the likelihood of soil and pipe collapse.

Had SA Water used traditional repair methods, this would have required the removal of paving stones at Rundle Mall and excavation work to gain access to the pipe, causing disruption to the community and local traders, as well as impacting the amenity of the area.

However, using this trenchless method, the utility only needed to access one of the nearby sewage chambers for repairs, and after one of the team members was safely lowered into the chamber, SA Water used a combination of ropes and steel rods – guided by a CCTV camera – around the sleeve onto the affected pipe section.

Once the stainless steel sleeve was in place, it was expanded to line the inside of the pipe and form a new section.

“The sleeve’s locking system ensures that it remains permanently in position and absorbs the natural movements of the pipe caused by external ground pressure,” said Höfel.

“Following the successful test on our city network, we will look for additional opportunities to test the product, which has proven to be a great, non-invasive option for repairs on smaller sections of pipe.”

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