Understanding Environmental Implications Of CIPP Rehab Technology

By Ed Kampbell, P.E. | April 2009 Vol. 64 No. 4

On a positive note, the Lockheed Martin report’s author stated that, “After dead fish were observed, actions were implemented to remove the uncured resins from the creek and the storm drainage system. The creek, lake and aquatic life returned to normal conditions after the cleanup efforts were completed.” VTRC 08 R16’s authors went on to state that in their opinion, “Except in the immediate vicinity of a spill, exposures to styrene are not deemed to cause deleterious effects on natural communities of organisms. Styrene volatilizes rapidly and has not been shown to bioaccumulate in organisms to any measurable extent.” Further, they related other bodies of work that had shown that styrene “introduced in river water in concentrations up to 37 ppm was reduced [naturally] by 99 percent after 20 days.” Also, that “Fu and Alexander found that 50 percent of two to 10 ppm was lost by volatilization in one to 3 hours in lake water samples.”

Common sense tells one that while styrene can indeed kill fish and other aquatic organisms, the risks are essentially nil when proper housekeeping practices are in use to contain, pick up and dispose of any uncured resin that occurs during the installation of the CIPP. While this one incident was cited in the report, it’s hard to find any other writings of styrene related fish kills caused by CIPP installations. There are numerous examples of this happening at resin manufacturing and processing facilities; but none that I could find for CIPP installations.


There were seven CIPP installation sites monitored for VTRC 08– R16 representing the installation practices of three CIPP installers. None of the installations chosen represented curing the CIPP by hot water or UV light; only sites utilizing the steam curing method were evaluated. Further, no review was made of the various installers curing expertise or confirmation of the resultant CIPP’s percent of cure.

Being culvert installations, the sites were classified as having low intermittent flow, low to medium continual flow, low to heavy continual flow, and medium to heavy continual flow. The timing of the samples taken to measure the styrene content in the downstream waterway was varied; and in some cases no measurements were made until 15 days after the installation (at one site they didn’t make a visit until 37 days after the installation).

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