Large Diameter Sliplining Works To Rehabilitate Aging Interceptor Sewers In Albuquerque

By Michael Rocco, Trenchless Manager, AUI Inc. | March 2010 Vol. 65 No. 3

One of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, Albuquerque, NM, has a history that can be seen in its architecture, artwork, cultural centers and cuisine. Countless customs and traditions passed down over generations are a vibrant part of daily life in the city, and make Albuquerque a center of authentic Southwestern culture -- and the sun shines 310 days a year.

However, Albuquerque has the same problem as many municipalities throughout the United States -- old and failing interceptor sewer lines. However, most recently, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) took a proactive approach to address this problem rather than a reactive approach of waiting for a failure.

In the past, it was common to respond to a sewer collapse, often on a Friday night, which required isolation of the area, major traffic rerouting and, depending on the rehabilitation method, bypass pumping the sewer. When an emergency collapse of an interceptor sewer happens, the associated costs are usually a lot higher than a planned sewer rehabilitation project.

In December 2008, the ABCWUA took bids on a large diameter sewer rehabilitation project for interceptor sewers. It was designed by AECOM, an international engineering firm that has an office in Albuquerque. AUI Inc., a contractor based in Albuquerque, was the successful bidder. AUI has extensive experience with many trenchless applications, and could determine the most economical methods and apply its sliplining expertise.

The project specifications were to slipline 78-, 54- and 48-inch reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) with centrifugally cast, fiberglass-reinforced polymer mortar (CCFRPM) pipe manufactured by Hobas Pipe USA of Houston.

Sliplining was used first and its benefits were apparent immediately. This job was relatively trouble-free, with easy insertion, even in this large diameter, with no bypass pumping required for insertion of the specified pipe. Since this is the main line into the treatment plant, the quantity of daily flows makes bypass difficult and costly. The same excavator that was used to handle the pipe was also utilized for the sliplining operations. Aside from a front-end loader onsite, the excavator was the only piece of heavy equipment needed for pipe installation.

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