Technology in Service

Using proven technologies to provide reliable service, save money and protect the environment

Proactive maintenance, restoration and replacement of sewer system infrastructure is a high priority for the District. It helps ensure we continue to provide reliable, cost-effective service to our customers while at the same time protecting the environment. Sometimes, this requires creative problem solving to manage the system in the least impactful and most cost-effective way. This is especially true when working in sensitive areas like creek and wetland corridors or in busy urban areas.

Below you can learn about some innovative technologies that have recently been used on your sewer system: ice pigging, cured-in-place pipe, and other trenchless technologies.

Ice Pigging

Pipe “pigging” refers to a method of cleaning pipes by pushing pipe-sized devices, known as pigs, through the pipe to remove build-up. Traditional methods use various devices as pigs; however, sometimes those devices can get stuck and need to be dug out.

For some places in the District, such as the pipeline under Salmon Creek Greenway, digging up a stuck pig would not be an option because of the environmentally sensitive nature of the location. Instead, the District used a new technology called “ice pigging”. This is a very effective and low-risk method for cleaning pipes. A slurry of slushy ice is pushed through to scour the pipe, carrying with it any sediment and built up material on the walls of the pipe. After days of careful planning, this maintenance task is completed in just a few hours without disturbing surrounding natural areas or impacting service to residences. There is also no risk of the pig getting stuck as the ice will simply melt away.

There is only one contractor in the U.S. that does ice pigging for sewer pipes. It is cutting-edge technology in the wastewater industry and perfect for protecting high-value habitat areas like Salmon Creek.

Watch a video of ice and sediment being cleared from the pipe under Salmon Creek Greenway.

Example of traditional pig

Traditional pigs used to clean pipes.

Cured-In-Place Pipe

Cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology was recently used to rehabilitate the trunk lines under Cougar Creek and in St. Johns along I-205.

CIPP involves inserting a flexible, resin-saturated sock through existing pipes and then “inflating” and curing it with boiling water to create a solid, permanent pipe within the original line. The flexible CIPP is inserted through inversion – basically, pushing it inside-out using water pressure (see video). The CIPP is then cured in place by circulating boiling water for 24 hours or using steam and Ultraviolet light. To make sure the curing process happens as necessary, crews work around the clock during this process.

Watch a video of cured-in-place pipe being installed in the St Johns neighborhood.

The result is a jointless, fully structural pipe that is tightly fit against the existing pipe and will last for decades.

CIPP installation typically requires four major pieces of equipment:

  1. A closed-circuit television (CCTV) truck for inspecting the pipe before and after installation of the CIPP;
  2. A temperature controlled box-truck for transporting the uncured CIPP;
  3. A combination vacuum and hydro-jetting truck to clean the line of debris and other obstructions and to provide the water necessary for filling the CIPP; and
  4. A boiler truck to circulate hot water during the curing process.

Each piece of equipment is needed at separate times in the process; for example, once the pre-installation television inspection is completed, the CCTV truck is moved away and the box truck brings the liner over the manhole.

Bypass pumping is used to continue to provide constant sanitary sewer service during construction. Bypass pumping occurs 24 hours a day for the duration of the CIPP installation and post-installation video inspection.

CIPP tube

Flexible tube prior to resin-impregnation

Flexible tube prior to resin-impregnation.

Liner as it is inverted in the pipe

Liner as it is inverted in the pipe.

Finished CIPP product that will last many decades.

Finished CIPP product that will last many decades.

CIPP process illustrations

CIPP process illustrations

Water inverts the flexible lining into existing pipe and manhole.

CIPP process illustrations

Hot water circulation and curing.

CIPP installation at Cougar Canyon

CIPP Installation 7

Staging area and bypass piping that shows the natural setting crews were working within.

CIPP Installation 20

Rolling out the uncured lining, CIPP installation in Cougar Canyon.

CIPP Installation 22

Restored manhole following CIPP installation and manhole lining.

Bypass pumping

Bypass pumping 12

Bypass pump with diesel generator in background.

Bypass pumping 17

Bypass piping at downstream manhole (cougar canyon @ Salmon Creek trail).

Other Trenchless Technologies

The District recently used a variety of trenchless techniques on the Discovery Corridor Wastewater Transmission System (DCWTS) project.

One method used was horizontal directional drilling (HDD), which is a steerable method of installing pipes that takes place underground, from one staging area to another, without disturbing the areas above ground. In the case of the Discovery Corridor pipeline, the technology was used to install a 16″ diameter pipeline across the Interstate 5 off-ramp without any traffic impacts.

Other trenchless techniques used on the DCWTS project included horizontal auger boring, commonly referred to as “jack and bore,” and pipe bursting.

Pipe bursting involves laying pipe by pulling a device that is slightly larger than the existing pipe through, breaking the existing pipe and expanding the opening. Along the way, a new larger diameter pipe is pulled through the opening. For the DCWTS project, pipe bursting was used in an arterial road along a busy retail corridor, which limited the impacts of construction on local businesses.

Watch a video of water from horizontal directional drilling breaking through the grass near the Interstate 5 Gee Creek Rest Area.

DCWTS horizontal directional drilling

Profile of horizontal directional drilling completed during the DCWTS project.

Jack and Bore

Jack and bore DCWTS

Jack and bore during the DCWTS project: staging area.

Jack and bore DCWTS

Several pipes were run through the 48″ diameter bored steel casing..

Pipe bursting during the DCWTS project

Pipe bursting

Receiving pit where the new HDPE pipe is being pulled into the existing pipe.

Pipe bursting 3

Photo showing how an 8″ diameter concrete pipe was “burst” and expanded for a new 12″ diameter HDPE pipe.

Pipe bursting 2

Pipe bursting near Albertsons on NE 20th Ave.

Photos of pipe bursting during the DCWTS project (left to right) – Receiving pit where the new HDPE pipe is being pulled into the existing pipe; Photo showing how an 8″ diameter concrete pipe was “burst” and expanded for a new 12″ diameter HDPE pipe; Pipe bursting was used in an arterial road along a busy retail corridor, which limited the impacts of construction on local businesses.

Benefits of Using the Right Technology

By specifying the right type of technology for each particular job, the District is able to limit disruption to surrounding areas, keep the system operating efficiently and save rate payers money.