Columbia finds alternate way to replace damaged stormwater and sewer pipes

7 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, May 07 2019 May 7, 2019 Tuesday, May 07, 2019 7:41:00 PM CDT May 07, 2019 in News
By: James Stanley, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Columbia Sewer and Stormwater Utilities demonstrated an alternate way to fix aging utility pipes. 

Repairs made with Cured-In-Place Pipes (CIPP) are much quicker and less invasive than total replacement. 

"What we're able to do is shoot these liners in and then using a process that cures the material," Engineering Supervisor Kori Thompson said. "It hardens it like a new pipe."

The process involves using steam and a resin that are used to harden the material into PVC.

The current rusting corrugated metal stormwater pipes were laid down in the 1960s. 

Columbia Sewer and Stormwater Utility officials believe the CIPP repairs will last much longer than metal and clay pipes. They are hopeful they could even last upwards of 100 years. 

However, repairing pipes with CIPP is not always cost effective. 

"There are a lot of situations where it is easy digging with no trees," Tom Wellman, an engineering specialist with the City of Columbia, said. "Then that lining product is going to be very expensive compared to just digging the pipe up and replacing it."

According to a news release from the City of Columbia, the estimated cost to repair 830 feet of stormwater pipes is $230,000. 

But stormwater pipes are not the only problem facing the Columbia Sewer and Stormwater Utility Department.

Columbia has 90,000 feet of sewer lines that are in need of repair.

"Many of these pipes are cracked or broken, nearing the point of failure," the news release said. 

The estimated cost of repairing Columbia's sewer mains is $3.2 million.

Erin Keys, engineering and operations manager with the City of Columbia, said repairing the sewers may be a never-ending process. 

"There's just always something that needs to be maintained," she said. "As soon as you get through a certain amount of sewer to maintain, it'll come back around to where you need to maintain it again."

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