How a Maine Town is Replacing Sewer Lines — Without Digging a Trench


trenchlesssewerSewer line failure or damage is one of the worst infrastructure problems for a city to have to deal with, but a company in Maine is making things a bit easier by opting for a trenchless method of pipe replacement.

Main sewer lines in York, ME were compromised, which was allowing clean groundwater to seep into the pipes. When clean groundwater mixes with sewage, it needs to be sent through the wastewater treatment plant to be treated, which uses unnecessary resources and creates extra expenses for the plant.

Though some of the sewer lines have to be replaced using traditional methods, a local company has been contracted to replace sections of the pipe using a less intrusive technology, which does not require a trench to be dug. Trenchless plumbing and sewer line methods have actually been on the market for about 10 to 15 years, but many people don’t realize that it’s an option.

According to Matt Timberlake, vice president of Ted Berry Co., the method the company uses is so unintrusive that most people won’t know the repair even took place.

“If everything goes according to plan, you won’t even know we’ve been here,” Timberlake told the Bangor Daily News in an interview.

The method uses manholes to access two ends of a damaged pipe. The new pipe is made of a resin and fiberglass system which is inflated inside the pipe. Then, ultraviolet lights are used to activate and cure the new pipe.

“Trenchless repair is a great option as it lowers the carbon footprint; you don’t have to haul away truckloads of damaged roadway and then repave the road,” said TRIC Tools Operations Director Michael Lien. “It also allows vehicular traffic to continue unimpeded.”

Another method of trenchless pipe replacement is called pipe bursting, which pulls a new pipe through and old pipe, fracturing the old pipe outward. There are five pieces of this type of operation: an expander head, pulling rods, a pulling machine, a retaining device, and a hydraulic power pack. Experts say that pipe lining and pipe bursting are equally durable and can have warranties from 10 to 50 years.

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