Pipe Reaming, Restrained-Joint PVC Pipe Helps Colorado Municipality Complete Challenging Sewer Line Replacement

By John Coogan, North American Specialty Products | July 2013, Vol. 68, No. 7

“We had to use shorter joints and the pipe couldn’t be something fusible,” Saye says. “We liked the option of 10-foot pipe joints because we really didn’t have any more room than that available for stacking them.”

Project launch

Work began in August 2011. The reaming process was expertly coordinated to produce seamless pipe installations and minimize sewer service downtime for customers. The pipe reaming was broken up into sections, depending on space availability along the line. Often, an open-trench run would follow a reamed section. One small section running under a railroad crossing required a pneumatic hammer. After the businesses on the block closed for the day, Connell Resources’ crew, ranging from 15 to 18 workers, disconnected the sewer services of customers along the section to be reamed, removed the downstream and upstream manholes and set up a sewer bypass to continue service. Then, they dug 30-foot long entry and exit pits for the pipe reaming equipment so that the Temple Construction could come in early the next morning and get right to work. Throughout the project, the Connell Resources crew used a variety of excavators. John Deere 50D and 60D mini excavators were also used for dirt removal.

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Working with a crew of five, Temple Construction used a Vermeer 24x40 horizontal directional drill with, per InneReam specs, a 14-inch and a carbide-toothed, conical reaming head. Three crewmembers worked the drill and monitored sewer line grade while two assembled pipe in the pits. Bores were made approximately five-feet below surface through clay soil with slight cobble to reach the old clay host pipe, which it ground into slurry as it moved forward. There were services every 30-feet along the line, so there were ample outlets for removing slurry with a large tractor trailer vacuum. This minimized hydraulic pressure ahead of the drill head.

“We were concerned about what would happen with the pipe fragments and other debris picked up during the ream -- if we’d had a service ahead of us that wasn’t disconnected, all of that could have gone into the sewer system and clogged it up,” Temple says. “Fortunately, all of the slurry was evacuated through the manholes, so we had no problems. And, we were impressed with how well the reamer ground up the old clay pipe. When we dumped the first couple of loads from the vac truck, there weren’t any pipe fragments bigger than a penny left in the slurry.”