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Volunteerism and partnerships have a big role to play in keeping sewer systems clean and functional protecting vital watersheds

Ted J. Rulseh

Are volunteers, in particular community groups here’s a story in this issue about a Stream” have been highly successful. Here, with vested interests, at least as valuable as the small city of Independence, volunteers receive training and then regularly money in austere times? Minn., and the stormwater prohelp monitor the condition of local waterways. Perhaps in such times it’s easier to appeal to gram that won a major honor — That includes watching for sources of runoff public-spirited citizens: Here’s a way you can the 2010 Blue Star Award from pollution. help keep the community safe and clean withFriends of the Mississippi River. It’s not a huge stretch to imagine such a out our having to raise your taxes or increase This city of about 3,700 in an urbanizing concept extending to identification of water your user rates. area has limited infrastructure and perhaps system leaks, manhole deterioration, and illicit even more limited funds, but it manages to do discharges of stormwater into the sanitary things in stormwater pollution prevention, sewer system. No panacea standards and practices, and planning and Is a program along the lines of “Adopt A Of course, I have not been one to advocate preservation that rival the efforts of much Sewer” or “Adopt a Main” an utterly absurd concutbacks in infrastructure services in the name larger and better-funded communities. cept? No community wants to recruit citizens of holding the line on costs. This magazine One key to the city’s success, observes city in hopes they will become vigilantes, ratting has been in favor of sewer and water rates that administrator Toni Hirsch, is partout their neighbors for running nerships with area lake associations. sump pumps into their floor drains. Here’s a way for people who care deeply about the It’s an ingredient found in many But an army of volunteers who environment and public health and safety — and of the best stormwater programs understand sewer and water systems, there are many such people — to take an active role. throughout the country: Commuand are able to act as educators and nity outreach and collaboration. as extra eyes and ears for city departAnd here’s a way for citizens to do something about Nonpoint source pollution is by defiments, could have real value. the cost of vital services besides complaining nition diverse in its kinds and oriHere’s a way for people who care about high taxes and sewer and water bills. gins, and it takes more than just a deeply about the environment and city, town or village government to public health and safety — and there tackle it. are many such people — to take an active role. cover the full cost of operating the systems, And here’s a way for citizens to do something including the cost of regular inspection, cleanabout the cost of vital services besides coming, repair and replacement. Austere times plaining about high taxes and sewer and water There is not much of a role for volunteers But the power of outreach goes beyond bills. when it comes to the specialized work of runstormwater. Many communities with the bestCould the right group of volunteers, given ning cameras through sewer lines, jetting functioning water and sewer systems have the right training and mission, turn out to be pipes, grouting pipe joints and spraying sealextensive education and volunteerism proworth as much as a boost in the budget? This ants onto the walls of manholes. grams. Witness those that get aggressive with isn’t to say that adequate budgets aren’t essenAnd yet there is much that volunteers can education programs aimed at curtailing fats, tial. It’s simply to say there may be a resource do to further the efforts of maintenance and oils and grease (FOG) in sewer systems. out there that could be quite valuable if proprepair crews without having to step into the While originated and directed by municierly engaged. F street wearing reflective vests, hardhats and pal staff, these programs typically rely on outsteel-toed boots. There’s room for education reach, whether directly through the public, Comments on this column or about any article in on all sorts of matters that end up affecting indirectly through school systems, or cooperathis publication may be directed to editor Ted J. operations of sewer systems in particular. tively through local environmental organizations. Rulseh, 877/953-3301; It’s worth noting the success of these programs in a time when resources for sewer and Opting for adoption water operations and maintenance are scarce. On the stormwater side, programs like “Adopt



December 2011

December 2011


December 2011



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Manhole-to-manhole cured-in-place pipe

Perma-Liner Industries 866/336-2568

Lining sewer mains Eliminates I&I, restores flows, prevents recurrence of damaged joints, corrosion, tuberculation, and root intrusion

New Braunfels (Texas) Utilities

Collection crew chief Alex Alvarado shoots a safety pull strap and 257-foot cured-in-place liner into an 8-inch sewer main. (Photos courtesy of Perma-Liner Industries)

By Scottie Dayton
ears of drought interrupted by occasional cloudbursts dropping up to 12 inches in one day caused problems in the older sections of New Braunfels, Texas. During winter of 2009-10, the Telog sewer data acquisition system showed that four of 23 lift stations ran continuously for 36 hours after rains. Unprecedented rains increased flows at the treatment plant from 6 to 10 mgd – the design capacity. An inspection by Pipeline Analysis, an engineering firm in Dallas, revealed structural issues in

A utility in Texas becomes the first to do in-house sewer lining projects using a new manhole-to-manhole cured-in-place process
“The equipment paid for itself on the first job, so everything else is a return on our investment. But the best thing is how the success of the guys’ efforts empowered them.”
Trino Pedraza


the clay and reinforced concrete sewers in older neighborhoods. Root intrusion also contributed to inflow and infiltration. The firm advised the utility what manpower and equipment it would need to attack the problem in-house. “We bought a new 200 Series PD Camel combination machine from Super Products with Warthog nozzles from StoneAge Tools to assist our Vactor 2100 PD combination truck,” says Trino Pedraza, operations and maintenance division manager for New Braunfels Utilities. “We also bought two Pathfinder cameras, an inspection

van, and a trailer (Aries Industries), and hired two more people.” The goal was to clean and inspect 10 percent of the 331 miles of sewer lines every year. The city contracted for cured-in-place pipe lining to fix the worst problems. “When we saw the process, we wondered why we couldn’t do it,” Pedraza says. Although engineering firms and installers warned him that utility workers could not take on that level of work, Pedraza’s division lined 3,240 feet of 6- and 8-inch mains running through a wooded canyon with no asphalt


December 2011

roads. The utility was the first in Texas to use the Top Gun manholeto-manhole system from Perma-Liner for an in-house sewer lining project.

Breaking trail
Comparing contractor bids for the repair convinced Pedraza and chief engineer, Ian Taylor, that they could save $2,000 over the lowest bid by buying the lining equipment and doing the work themselves. “We were nervous,” says Pedraza. “No other municipalities were doing it because everybody said it couldn’t be done. To gain experience, we bought the PermaLiner point repair system.” Workers did 17 point repairs from two to 18 feet in 6- to 21-inch pipes. The utility then purchased Perma-Liner’s 20-foot-long climatecontrolled trailer, lateral inversion system, and Top Gun system with Viper compact steam unit. It also paid for additional field support to ensure the project’s success. Company president Jerry D’Hulster arrived with colleagues Jim Gould, Doug McCullough and Andrew Dietsch. The average run was 200 feet between manholes. “The terrain was so horrible that we had to build our own paths to get in,” says Pedraza. “Since we didn’t have heavy flows, we plugged where we wanted to line and kept the Camel unit upstream to vacuum sewage if it rose too high.” The crew also had a 6-inch Gorman-Rupp bypass pump with more than 500 feet of hose for backup. Two crews totaling seven workers were on the job, enabling everyone to learn the process. For runs of 90 to 150 feet, they wetted out liners in the trailer, installed the inversion unit over the manhole, and hand-fed the liner into the top of the gun to begin the inversion process. After clamping the liner to the gun’s bottom lip, they blew in air at 12 to 16 psi, and the liner shot down the pipe at 12 inches every 1.7 seconds.


Alex Alvarado (left) and Doug Clifton, collection crew chiefs, use the Perma-Liner Viper to control steam and pressure while curing a 370-foot liner in a 6-inch sewer main.

Working out bugs
The first week was a learning

curve. “The heat in Texas forces us to work more slowly,” says Pedraza. “The lining process required a faster pace than initially expected.” After crews wetted longer runs outdoors on concrete registering 100 degrees F, two liners cooked off in the trailer before reaching the job site. Technical support, believing they should have caught the mistake, replaced the liners for free. From then on, work began at 5 a.m. while it was cooler, and the workers wetted out liners in an equipment bay after hosing down the concrete floor to lower the temperature. The schedule enabled them to shoot one liner before and after lunch, then return and cut the next day’s liners. “I learned that the cured-inplace process isn’t difficult,” says Pedraza. “The difficulty is in the planning and preparation.” The second week of the three-week project went much more smoothly. On the day personnel arrived from San Antonio Water System to watch, utility workers shot 257 feet of 6-inch liner in two minutes and 30 seconds. “San Antonio is having identical infrastructure problems,” says Pedraza. “They liked what they saw.” Curing required one worker

From left, Jeff Martinez, collection crew chief; Jaime Garcia, collection operator; Doug Clifton and Alex Alvarado, collection crew chiefs; and Doug McCollough, Perma-Liner trainer, prepare to shoot a 240-foot liner.

controlling the steam unit and another with a walkie-talkie at the far manhole to relay temperatures. Once both ends of the liner reached 200 degrees, they shut off the steam and applied air at 5 psi until the liner cooled. It took an average of 30 to 40 minutes to heat liners and 15 to 20 minutes to cool them.

Bold and confident
Workers initially resisted the technology and the change in how they did things, but they became excited as they got the hang of it. Before long, they wanted to push themselves to see what they could do. “We decided to shoot 700 feet by going through the middle manhole in an 8-inch line,” says Pedraza. During inversion, the worker at the middle manhole looked for a red mark drawn on the liner to indicate its approach, then radioed the air operator to reduce pressure. Using a rod, he guided the liner through the manhole

and back into the pipe. When the air pressure was increased, it forced some liner material into the hole and pushed the remainder downstream. “Reinstating the manhole left just enough lip for us to smooth and fair the edges,” says Pedraza. Half the city’s sewer is PVC and less than 20 years old. The utility’s target is to line 6,000 to 9,000 feet of clay, ductile iron, and reinforced concrete pipes per year. It is smoke-testing laterals and televising those that leak to combine them with bigger mainline CIPP projects. “The equipment paid for itself on the first job, so everything else is a return on our investment,” says Pedraza. “But the best thing is how the success of the guys’ efforts empowered them. When 48 people are engaged at that level, productivity shoots through the roof without management doing a thing.” F

December 2011



By Ted J. Rulseh

FIGURE 1. The software overlays sewer and water infrastructure layers on service area maps or aerial photos. (Photos courtesy of iWater)

InfraMAP software uses a GIS platform and a simple architecture designed to make it easy for mobile crews to inspect, locate, document and report
tion that work crew members can use to support water valve exercising, hydrant fire flow testing, hydrant flushing, pipeline tracing, and numerous other maintenance tasks on water, sewer and other municipal and utility systems. The software provides forms that crews can use on laptop computers to display and enter maintenance data. It is designed to help agencies automate work processes, eliminate paperwork, and reduce work hours. According to iWater, the software is the only mobile GIS system that can directly control hydraulic valve machines: It interfaces with all automated valve exercising equipment from E.H. Wachs. Kevin Koshko, software architect with iWater, demonstrated the software by way of an Internet meeting on Aug. 18. The software has a fully functioning GPS navigation system. Real-time vehicle location is displayed on the map of the infrastructure, and turn-by-turn directions can be generated for any asset in the system. As a GIS-based application, the


nfrastructure software is a powerful tool for municipal managers and engineers, but what about field crews? Software tools can make their work easier, too. That’s the idea behind infraMAP software from iWater, Inc. The company describes the application as “by field crews, for field crews.” It is a GIS-based applica-


Koshko notes that the software was designed to be “extremely userfriendly” for use by work crews in the field. It is designed for use with laptop or tablet computers and is optimized for pen-based and touchscreen systems. Handwriting recognition makes it easy for crews to transition from paperbased forms to the computer.
FIGURE 2. A click on an asset in the map brings up a map tip of basic information. Users can then click a link to access complete data on that item.

infraMAP with VITALS software iWater, Inc.


Wachs Utility Products 815/943-4785

Via Internet


Kevin Koshko, software architect, iWater, Inc.



December 2011

FIGURE 4. The control screen for the E.H. Wachs valve exerciser machine allows infraMAP users to control the machine by way of the software.

FIGURE 3. The software data forms use an intuitive “follow the yellow” format — fields users need to complete are highlighted.

software uses maps or aerial photographs on which a variety of infrastructure can be overlaid. It uses an ArcMap MXD file to configure symbology and visible layers. Any feature on the map can be displayed and identified. Maintenance history can be displayed from the office or in the field. Every inspection form has a detailed activity history, and users can click on each entry in history to see what was done and when. The software can automatically synchronize field computers with the master SDE database. Field units can sync all changes with a single button click. Easy-to-use forms allow users to input data. An intuitive “follow the yellow” format highlights the required fields on each data form, making it easy for technicians to input complete data for each type of maintenance activity.

Koshko opened the software and revealed an aerial photograph of a city with maps of valves, hydrants and pipelines overlaid. Down the left side of the screen and across the top were icons to click for the software’s various functions (Figure 1). He demonstrated the basic map functionality, zooming and panning, and rotating and dragging the map.

Clicking on a satellite icon, he activated the GPS function. With the GPS active, a cursor follows the location of the service vehicle on the map. Koshko then clicked a check box to turn on the water system overlay and demonstrate use of the software with E.H. Wachs valve exercising equipment. When he clicked a valve icon on the map, a map tip popped up showing basic information about that asset — valve identification number, diameter, function and status (Figure 2). He noted that utilities can customize all map tips to show the information they consider the most pertinent. A click on a link at the bottom of the map tip brought up complete details on the valve. From a Select Activity dropdown menu, he chose valve exercising, and a data form appeared with several fields highlighted in yellow — the fields the work crew would need to complete as part of the exercising process (Figure 3). Another click on a Valve Machine button brought up a controller screen for the valve exerciser (Figure 4). If the system had been connected to a valve exerciser, a click on a Start button would have activated the machine to exercise the valve. The controller would show the torque, the high limit,

the number of turns, and the turning direction. After exercising, a click on Save would load the data from the procedure into the software, and the system would display a torque chart of the valve’s performance. If not using a valve exercising machine, the crew would manually enter the number of turns and other data into the software. The valve data screen also included a Comments box where crews could select frequently used comments from a drop-down menu or type in any comment. From the data screen, crews could also access

the valve’s maintenance history, update its GPS location, and link a document or attach a photo. Next, Koshko demonstrated the use of the system for fire flow testing a hydrant. He brought up a hydrant from the map, displayed the detailed data, selected the fire flow test activity, and entered the parameters for the flow test. From this data, the system automatically calculated the flow velocity and gallons used. “Instead of technicians being out in the field with calculators or flow charts, the software does all that work for them,” Koshko said. Again, all information is recorded in history. Koshko noted that utilities can use cumulative data from fire flow tests to help account for non-revenue water. Koshko also demonstrated the software’s reporting functions. A click on an Answers and Reports icon brought up a dashboard on the status of the water system (Figure 5). From a drop-down menu, he selected Water Operations and brought up a list of reports, such as total valves, total hydrants, total backflow devices, main breaks in

FIGURE 5. A map-style report generated from the system shows the locations of all closed valves.

December 2011


The system provides forms that crews can use on laptop computers to display and enter maintenance data. It is designed to help municipalities and utilities automate work processes, eliminate paperwork, and reduce work hours.
the changes to the official map. The software also includes a locating function that is useful especially in emergencies. Koshko illustrated the feature with a hypothetical water main break at 186 Rowland Street. He clicked on a binoculars icon and entered the address; the system found a match and placed an X on the map at that location. He then clicked a compass icon and pulled up turn-by-turn driving directions to the spot. A click on another button brought up a tool for pipeline isolation. A click on the affected pipe then brought up buttons for valves that would need to be shut down to isolate the pipe and the hydrants and services affected. Selecting the Valves to Close button caused those assets to flash on the map. Selecting Services Affected caused those meters to flash on the map and generated a list of the names of the customer who would be affected by a shutdown of the pipe. From there, he generfield crews record and document their work and to help municipal departments track the progress of maintenance, inspection and rehabilitation programs. It includes a variety of tools that crews can use in caring for a wide range of underground and aboveground infrastructure. While the software interfaces with specif ic valve exercising equipment, enabling control of the machines from a laptop or tablet computer, it would be interesting to see whether it could be adapted to interact with other devices, such as waterjetters, inspection cameras, or fire flow testing equipment.

FIGURE 6. The software includes a redlining function that lets field crews make corrections to the GIS maps for later review by GIS staff.

the past year, broken valves and closed valves. A click on Closed Valves brought up a water system map showing all the closed valves as reddish circles, including a cluster in one area. “This kind of information helps agencies make better decisions,” he observed. “If we have been receiving low-pressure complaints from this area of town, perhaps here is the reason.” Koshko showed how users can color-code assets for reporting purposes. He brought up a map of the system showing all valves that had been exercised (in green) and those needing to be exercised (in red). Next, he demonstrated how the system automatically generates printable reports in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Switching to a view of sewer operations, Koshko unchecked a box to turn off the water system map layer and make the sewer system more visible. He brought up a map of a quarterly pipe cleaning schedule, showing pipes already cleaned as green and pipes still in need of cleaning as red. Clicking on a red pipe, he brought up a data screen with a look and feel similar to those for valve exercising and hydrant flow testing. Here, after cleaning, crews

would enter data on factors such as root intrusion, the presence of fats, oils and grease, flow characteristics, and structural issues. From the same screen they could access video from any previous TV inspections of the pipe. The software also enables crews to access as-built drawings of sections of infrastructure from the map, interacting with them just as with the map itself, zooming in and out and rotating the image. Two other capabilities of the

Developer comments
Software architect Koshko notes that the infraMAP application is being used by about 60 water and wastewater utilities in North America, ranging from small municipal departments to large metropolitan agencies. The developer, iWater, got its start as a contractor with crews providing services like valve exercising, hydrant flow testing and meter changeouts for utilities. The company developed the software for its own work crews in 2002 and turned it into a commercial product in 2004. “The system allows a high degree of customization,” says Koshko. “The forms within the system are fully customizable, and customers have used it for purposes beyond water and sewer infrastructure service. For example, we have customers who use it for purposes like street sign maintenance and potholing. It does a great deal, and yet it is very simple and easy for crews to use in the field.” F

“The forms within the system are fully customizable, and customers have used it for more than just water and sewer infrastructure service. For example, we have customers who use it for purposes like street sign maintenance and potholing.”
Kevin Koshko system were noteworthy. A redlining function enables crews in the field to mark and describe corrections to GIS maps (Figure 6). Once the redlined feature is stored in memory, it is marked on the map with a red circle for later review by GIS personnel. A list of redlined items is automatically downloaded to the GIS department when the infraMAP data is synchronized with the database at the end of the workday. GIS staffers then actually make ated an Excel spreadsheet listing contact information that staff could use to notify customers of the service interruption. “We have seen utilities use this in a reverse 911 system, in which the software takes the Excel spreadsheet information and automatically dials the customers,” Koshko said.

Observer comments
The infraMAP software appears to be an effective tool for helping


December 2011



By Scottie Dayton

Hachey chose the DLT 2.0 differential level transmitter with two PZ15 ultrasonic sensors from Greyline Instruments. The meter alternates the display between level and overflow rates. It uses 4-20 mA signals to control the turbines and chlorination and monitor flow over the weir. The simple interface has a built-in five-key calibrator, two programmable control relays, and a large backlit LCD display. RESULT “The transmitter is a powerful instrument that simplifies complex applications in a single analytical package,” says Hachey. 315/788-9500;

Pump eliminates debris and drag Stops sulfuric acid corrosion
Corrosion on manholes in the Lafayette (La.) Utilities System sanitary sewers required constant maintenance. The utility, looking for ways to prevent it, tested dozens of epoxies, linings, and other technologies.

Disposable wipes in the 350 gpm duplex Andresen Pump Station in Vancouver, Wash., contributed to excessive costs for outsourced maintenance two to three times a week. Electricity usage also increased from drag caused by fouled pump impellers.

The municipality replaced the 40 hp pumps with 25 hp Flygt N-pumps from ITT Water & Wastewater. The units have a 4-inch-diameter discharge throat, semi-open impeller, and relief groove in the volute that streamline the passage of material without sacrificing hydraulic efficiency. The impeller blades with flattened, backswept leading edges sweep solids from the center to the perimeter of the inlet. As the impeller turns, rags and other long stringy material are forced into the spiral-shaped relief groove, helping tug material from the impeller into the volute. A guide pin in the volute pushes solids away from the impeller, enabling them to be pumped away. RESULT Eliminating clogging and pump drag saved the utility $20,000 per year in energy usage. 704/409-9700;

In October 2001, the utility tested ConMICShield from ConMICShield Technologies on a troublesome manhole. The liquid concrete antimicrobial kills sulfuric acid-producing bacteria on contact, and its molecules bond in the concrete so it cannot wash off, chip off, peel off, delaminate or pinhole. Technicians from AP/M PERMAFORM mixed the antibacterial agent with Permacast MS 10,000 high-strength, shrinkage-compensated, fiberreinforced mortar. It reduces chloride ion penetration, and reinforces and seals the structure. They applied the mix with a Permacast spincaster for bidirectional centrifugal compaction. It applied the liner uniformly flow way to road way for consistent thickness and easy inspector verification. RESULT After nine years, the manhole showed no sign of deterioration. 800/662-6465;;

Device simplifies instrumentation
The District of Lunenburg in Whynott’s Settlement, N.S., added a septage receiving station to the landfill site. Part of the treatment train is a chlorinated duplex vertical turbine pump station delivering effluent from the sludge processing facility to spray nozzles for dispersal. The pump station, active only at certain times of day, discharges through twin vertical turbines and an overflow to a holding pond. Monitoring devices were needed to control the VFD pump, measure the flow to the pond via a V-notch weir, and sense levels in the pump station. “We were looking at three different instruments all in the same chamber,” says Ghislain Hachey, P.E, application engineer at Marathon Fluid Systems in Moncton, N.B. “It would be easier on the operator and more economical for the city if we could find one meter that did it all.”

Pump resolves maintenance issues
The 1 mgd Wise Street lift station in Bradford, Ohio, had 20 hp 6-inch duplex discharge pumps, but mechanical seal leaks shut them down without notice. Replacing the proprietary seals averaged $3,000 per pump and took weeks, straining the maintenance budget. Primary operator Jay Roberts wanted pumps that warned of potential seal problems, were faster and less expensive to repair, and resisted clogging.

The village purchased a Barnes 4SHMD 4-inch solid-handling submersible enclosed monovane pump with 25 hp motor from Crane Pumps.


December 2011