Playing Through: Pipe Bursting Upsizes Sewer Under Golf Course Without Interruption Of Play

October 2013, Vol. 68 No. 10
Project Manager Clifton Cox says Titan Technologies’ crews encountered the water table at just 2½ to three feet

The problem for a pipe-bursting operation was that different splitting heads are specifically designed for either ductile iron or for PVC. To do this project without excavating another extraction pit on the golf course itself and doing the replacement in two separate pulls required choosing only one type of head.

All stakeholders agreed they would rather attempt a single pull in hope of avoiding more excavation, so it was a matter of which head to use. Since the greater part of the run was PVC, Walk said the PVC head was probably the better choice. Using a ductile iron splitter on such a long length of PVC would run the risk of bunching up the PVC ahead of the splitter rather than neatly displacing it. If that should happen, the drag would become too much for the puller, and they’d have to dig up the fairway.

On the other hand, PVC splitters are not ideal for ductile iron. But Walk said he had a fairly good idea what to expect. Instead of splitting this shorter run of eight-inch ductile iron pipe, the 16-inch PVC splitter was likely to push the pipe ahead of it. He believed the HB175 would give them enough power to complete the pull.

Shoving pipe

Brian Jones, Titan Technologies’ project superintendent, supervised the pipe burst. As anticipated, the PVC splitter shoved the ductile iron ahead of itself. Jones stopped the pull every three feet to remove a pulling rod, but he also now had to cut away the iron sewer pipe as it came into the pit. It wasn’t nearly as simple as it may sound. He could not get the abrasive blade completely around the pipe.

“I would get maybe 80 percent of the way around it with the hot saw at most. But that’s all. So I wrapped a chain around each length and sheared it off by pulling up with an excavator.”

Every time he stopped progress to cut pipe and remove a rod, the bursting head assembly was left to sit still in wet ground that started to close around it. Jones would start the pull again from a dead stop. It took the full force of the HB175 to get it to break loose again.

“Each time we maxed out the 175 and it wasn’t moving, my heart sank. But then it would start again, jerking slowly at first, maybe at one-foot a minute,” Jones said.

Had the pipe become too much for the HB175, Titan would have no choice but to dig up the fairway and the homeowner’s property. Thompson said it would have been an enormous increase in time and cost, and no one wanted to have to cut into the golf course.