Day 2: New Rehabilitation Technologies

January 2010 Vol. 65 No. 1
Dan Porter and Sekisui SPR's not-round pipe rehabilitation method.

Several of the exhibitors at UCT this year were new to the show and, in some cases, the industry itself. But new acts in rehabilitation were easy to come by on Day 2.

Kanaflex, exhibiting to promote its metal reinforced pipe rehab and storm drain solutions, was garnering plenty of traffic to its impressive installation anchoring a corner of the exhibition hall. The booth features a 48-inch diameter demo pipe and a hypnotic display of flexible pipe rotating through the mechanism at the front of the booth. The company is international in reach and based in Japan, but has only recently entered the domestic market with a labor-saving product line advertised as a competitor to concrete with watertight joints and lighter weight.

LightStream is another newcomer to the sewer/water market, with a U.S.-made light train for UV pipe curing and a corresponding UV liner reinforced with fiberglass. The liner is certified for 1.7 million PSI and according to the company studies have shown the technology to maintain strength equivalent to 1.16 million PSI for at least 50 years. The built-in video connection in the light train permits an operator to examine the liner for flaws before curing.

The Japanese company Sekisui SPR has been working a small number of rehabilitation projects in the United States since 2005, more or less through the machinations of the city of Los Angeles. According to regional sales manager Dan Porter, Los Angeles learned about the technology and told Tokyo-based Sekisui SPR that Tokyo and Los Angeles had several things in common: “We both have a lot of earthquakes, we both have hand-dug sewers with lots of curves and we both hate to stop traffic.”

The SPR technology is particularly effective for sewer and water systems which are oddly shaped, such as Los Angeles' arch-shaped tunnels. Horseshoes, squares and arches were popular designs for hand-dug sewers built in the 1920s and 30s—graceful architecture that leaves cities with aging systems facing complex problems as they come due for rehabilitation. The rehabilitation process involves a caterpillar track machine that can enter a sewer or water system through a manhole, spool winding material automatically from a reel on a truck on the street above, and create a new pipe by spiraling together a combination of plastic, steel and grout. As another benefit to the built-up cities that hand-dug water systems, it’s fully trenchless and maintains a small footprint.