A quick cure for lining large diameter mains
A major capital project in the UK is saving time and money using new material for relining crumbling pipelines
Yorkshire Water has embarked upon one of the UK’s biggest large diameter mains
pipe relining operations using the latest polyurethane (PU) quick cure lining
process. Nearly 8kms of water main from the Langsett treatment works in Sheffield,
northern England will be renovated in the $1.7M capital project.
The 33″dia Sheffield main provides 300,000 homes and business in the north
of the city with water and delivers just over 7ML/day. Contractors John Kennedy
(Civil Engineering) Ltd of Manchester lined the main in 100 metre sections,
isolating each section by digging down to the main and removing a short length
of pipe to allow access, before carrying out the work and then piecing the pipe
back up. Around 80 of these excavations were made during the project.
Yorkshire Water’s project manager, Richard Long said, ‘This a very significant
capital works scheme for us. Having proved in our field tests that the quick
cure lining scheme works effectively in large diameter pipes, this is our first
major scheme where it is being used. Other water companies are evaluating this
new technology but we think this is one of the country’s biggest capital schemes
actually using it.’
Section 19 of the UK Water Act, which requires the guaranteed provision of
potable water, has led to water companies concentrating their efforts on improving
the legacy of Victorian cast iron mains which impart predominantly iron and
manganese into the water. The manganese, which is deposited in the mains, emanates
from the raw water and is as a result of historical water treatment processes
which couldn’t remove it. These have since been superseded. The iron is a product
of corrosion of the cast iron mains themselves. Three possible solutions to
this are: clean the pipe; completely replace sections of pipe; or scrape and
In the first option, pipes are cleaned by forcing a foam swab along the pipe,
normally using water pressure. This is only used, however, if the pipe is already
Pipes are replaced if they have perished to such an extent that scraping could
make them fragile. To test the integrity of a pipe a section is removed, shotblasted,
and then the thickness of the remaining metal is measured.
In the case of the Sheffield main, the 100-year old pipes had been constructed
from 2″ (5 cm) thick cast iron, making the main an ideal candidate for
the scrape and reline process using the quick cure technology. Drag scraping
was used on each isolated section to remove encrusted matter by a 2 ft dia cylinder
armed with backwards-facing spring-loaded metal teeth scraping the inside of
the pipe clean.
Next, the trailer-mounted lining rig, comprising tanks containing the polyurethane
materials held at the correct temperature by heaters, mixes the lining material
and applies it centrifugally via its spinning head to the inside of the main.
It is dragged along by a winch, leaving a uniform 1.5 mm thickness of polyurethane.
Measurement devices monitor the correct speed of delivery of the material to
the spinning head. Finally, a camera checks the quality of the lining.
Richard Long said, ‘Traditional epoxy resin lining methods can mean consumers
are without water for up to 36 hours. The mains section has to be cut into,
scraped, lined, left for 16 hours then checked by camera before reconnection
can take place. This timescale can be unacceptable to business, hospitals, schools
and other essential users of water as well as to domestic
‘Also, arranging alternative supplies can be expensive and slows down progress.
Using the new method in the Sheffield scheme has significantly speeded up the
completion of the project.’
Although the new quick cure material is more expensive, savings obtained by
the rapid cure time mean that overall relining costs are no higher than the
costs of traditional pipe lining and with increasing use, the cost of the new
material is likely to drop. However, with the Sheffield scheme, the alternative
to PU lining was MDPE sliplining due to epoxy resin being unsuitable for such
a large diameter pipe and as such this technique represents a significantly
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