Growth in grouting
A key component of the business is grouting manholes, pipelines and lateral/main connections. That work accounts for about 60 percent of the companys business. The company found ready customers for its mainline grouting service in the late 1960s. The lateral sealing business began to gain popularity through the mid-1980s, and then accelerated through the 1990s.
Poplawski notes that the company continues to ramp up its lateral and manhole grouting operations. Many municipalities have already addressed the most severe problem areas by dealing with obvious mainline joint leaks, he says. As the industry evolved, people became more aware that the laterals were also I&I contributors.
Today, NEPCCO fields more than 10 customized trucks fully devoted to grouting. The units are either custom-built by NEPCCO or standard inspection vans offered by CUES or Aries Industries, which are then modified in-house.
Our preferred layout is different and designed to what we feel is most efficient and workable for our field crews, says Joe Perotti, director of operations for the Water Environment Division. For instance we might put the genset in a different location that makes it easier for us to remove and replace.
We also wire our trucks slightly differently to separate electronic components. If an electronic problem occurred, we used to take out half of the electronic components along with the prime culprit. Now if we experience a problem, we often only have to contend with one of the components.
The vans are all outfitted with grouting equipment supplied by Logiball. They make one of the most reliable products on the market, says Ken Assard, NEPCCO assistant operations director. Their packer systems are durable and made of stainless steel. You never blow one of the packer sleeves when you try to seal a cracked pipe in the mainlines. They also have an isolated pressure sensor instead of having it incorporated into the line. That reduces the chance of over-pumping or gelling a transducer.
The units have a smaller profile that is easy to take through lines. The design also eliminates the H block that can get caught on joints. If we re going through a 6-inch line with a half-inch offset, it gives us a little more operating room,says Regan. The company has traditionally used Avanti chemical grouts.
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