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Tunnel Leak Seal Series - 3. Leak Seal Methods

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Nov 1, 2023 10:00:00 AM


Tunnel-Leak-Seal-Series-3.-Leak-Seal-Methods-Body-Graphic-800x1200After identifying tunnel leaks, the next step is exploring sealing methods. While crack/joint injection and curtain grouting are common solutions, they are not one-size-fits-all. By understanding the range of options and their pros and cons, engineers, maintenance teams, and infrastructure managers can make informed decisions tailored to each leak's unique circumstances. 

Crack/Joint Injection and Curtain Grouting: A Brief Overview

Before diving into alternative methods, let's briefly touch upon the two most commonly used techniques for sealing tunnel leaks.

Crack/Joint Injection

Crack/joint injection involves injecting a sealing material, often a polyurethane grout, directly into the cracks or joints where water is leaking. This method is highly effective for sealing small, accessible leaks and is often used in concrete tunnels.

Curtain Grouting

Curtain grouting involves injecting grout in a curtain-like pattern behind the tunnel lining to create a waterproof barrier. This method is more suitable for larger leaks or when the exact location of the leak is unknown.

Alternative Methods

While crack/joint injection and curtain grouting are effective, they are not always the best fit for every situation. Here are some alternative methods worth considering:

Mechanical Seals

Mechanical seals use physical components like gaskets, O-rings, or metal clamps to seal off leaks. These are often used in utility tunnels where pipes or cables pass through the tunnel walls.

Cementitious Grouts

Cementitious grouts are water-based grouts that can be used in wet environments. They are often used in combination with other methods to provide a more robust sealing solution.

Epoxy Resins

Epoxy resins are synthetic materials that can adhere to a variety of surfaces. They are particularly useful for sealing leaks in metal tunnels or in areas where a strong bond is required.

Swellable Waterstops

These are hydrophilic materials that expand upon contact with water, effectively sealing off leaks. They are often used in construction joints and are particularly effective in concrete tunnels.

Factors Influencing Method Selection

Choosing the right sealing method involves considering several factors:

Material Compatibility

The material of the tunnel lining plays a significant role in method selection. For example, cementitious grouts work well with concrete surfaces, while epoxy resins are more suitable for metal surfaces.

Severity and Location of the Leak

The size and accessibility of the leak also influence the choice of method. Crack/joint injection is more suitable for small, accessible leaks, while curtain grouting or mechanical seals might be better for larger or less accessible leaks.

Environmental Considerations

The surrounding environment can also influence method selection. For example, in tunnels close to natural water bodies, it's crucial to choose environmentally friendly sealing materials.

Criteria for Selecting a Sealing Method

When choosing a sealing method, stakeholders should consider the following criteria:


The primary consideration should be the method's effectiveness in sealing the leak and preventing future leaks.


While it's tempting to opt for the cheapest solution, stakeholders should consider the long-term costs, including maintenance and the potential need for resealing.

Regulatory Compliance

Different jurisdictions have varying regulations concerning tunnel maintenance and repair. It's crucial to choose a method that complies with these regulations to avoid legal complications.

Long-Term Sustainability

The chosen method should offer a durable solution that stands the test of time, minimizing the need for frequent repairs.

Key Takeaways

Sealing methods for tunnel leaks go beyond just crack/joint injection and curtain grouting. Various factors, including material compatibility, leak severity, and environmental considerations, influence the choice of method. By understanding these factors and criteria, stakeholders can make informed decisions that not only address the immediate issue but also offer long-term benefits.

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Tunnel Leak Seal Series - 1. The Real-World Impact of Tunnel Leaks

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Oct 30, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Tunnel Leak Seal Series  1. The Real-World Impact of Tunnel Leaks  Banner-Graphic-1400x425

Tunnel Leak Seal Series  1. The Real-World Impact of Tunnel Leaks  Body-Graphic-800x1200Water leaks in tunnels pose a significant challenge that demands immediate attention from civil engineers, tunnel maintenance teams, and infrastructure managers. Ignoring this issue can lead to severe consequences, affecting both the structural integrity of the tunnel and the safety of its users.

Types of Tunnels Most Affected

Tunnels serve various purposes and come in different forms. Here are some of the most common types and how they are affected by water leaks:

Utility Tunnels

Utility tunnels house critical infrastructure such as electrical wiring, water pipes, and gas lines. Water leaks in these tunnels can lead to corrosion of pipes and electrical short circuits, posing both a safety risk and the potential for service interruptions.

Rail Tunnels

Rail tunnels are particularly sensitive to water leaks due to the electrical components and the high-speed nature of the trains. Water ingress can compromise the track bed, leading to uneven rail surfaces and, in extreme cases, derailments.

Subway Tunnels

Subway tunnels, often located underneath busy urban areas, are susceptible to water leaks from the surrounding soil and existing utility lines. Leaks can disrupt service, leading to delays and increased maintenance costs.

Vehicle Tunnels

Vehicle tunnels are prone to water leaks from both the tunnel walls and the roadway. Water accumulation can create hazardous driving conditions, leading to accidents and traffic jams.

Pedestrian Tunnels

Pedestrian tunnels, although generally less complex than other types of tunnels, are not immune to the problems caused by water leaks. Slippery surfaces can result in falls, and the damp environment can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

Immediate and Long-Term Consequences

Understanding the consequences of water leaks in tunnels is crucial for grasping the urgency of this issue. Here are some of the most pressing concerns:

Structural Issues

Water leaks can weaken the structural components of a tunnel over time. The water can erode the material of the tunnel walls, leading to cracks and fissures that compromise its structural integrity. In extreme cases, this can result in partial or complete tunnel collapse, which would have catastrophic consequences.

Safety Risks

Water leaks create multiple safety hazards. In utility tunnels, electrical short circuits can occur when water comes into contact with electrical components. In vehicle and pedestrian tunnels, water accumulation can lead to slippery surfaces, increasing the risk of accidents. In rail and subway tunnels, water ingress can compromise the track bed, posing a derailment risk.

Operational Disruptions

Even minor leaks can cause significant operational disruptions. For example, subway services may need to be halted for emergency repairs, leading to delays and overcrowding. In utility tunnels, service interruptions can affect a wide range of essential services, from electricity to water supply.

Service Delays and Closures

Persistent water leaks often necessitate partial or complete tunnel closures for repair work. These closures disrupt regular services and can have a ripple effect on other parts of the transportation network or utility services.

Key Takeaways

Water leaks in tunnels are a pressing issue that affects various types of tunnels, each with its unique set of challenges and vulnerabilities. The immediate and long-term consequences of these leaks range from structural degradation and safety risks to operational inefficiencies and service disruptions. Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive understanding of the types of tunnels affected and the potential consequences of water leaks.

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Grain Silo Maintenance Series - 1. Sealing Elevator Pit Leaks

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Oct 23, 2023 10:00:00 AM

1. Banner - Grain Silo Maintenance Series - 1. Sealing Elevator Pit Leaks2. Body - Grain Silo Maintenance Series - 1. Sealing Elevator Pit LeaksGrain silos serve as the backbone of agricultural storage and supply chains. They hold not just grain but also the trust of farmers, suppliers, and consumers. One of the most critical yet often overlooked aspects of maintaining a grain silo is the integrity of its elevator pits. Leaks in these pits can lead to a cascade of problems, from grain contamination to equipment malfunction. Understanding the importance of sealing leaks in elevator pits, the risks of water ingress, and the role of polyurethane provides actionable knowledge for effective grain silo management. 

The Risks of Water Ingress

Grain Contamination

Water ingress in elevator pits poses a significant risk to the quality of stored grain. When water seeps into the silo, it creates a conducive environment for mold growth and bacterial contamination. These microorganisms can rapidly spoil large quantities of grain, leading to financial losses and potential reputational damage. Moreover, contaminated grain can pose health risks if it enters the food supply chain.

Fumigant Efficacy

Another less obvious but equally important concern is the impact of water ingress on fumigants used for pest control. A leaky elevator pit can dilute fumigants, reducing their concentration and effectiveness. This compromised state can lead to increased pest activity, further jeopardizing grain quality. Therefore, a well-sealed elevator pit is not just a structural requirement but also a critical factor in effective pest management.

Impact on Equipment and Operational Downtime

Equipment Malfunction

Water leaks don't just affect the grain; they also have a detrimental impact on the mechanical components housed in the elevator pits. These components, including conveyors and lifts, are essential for the efficient operation of the silo. Water can corrode metal parts, disrupt electrical systems, and cause premature wear and tear. The result is often equipment malfunction, which necessitates costly repairs or replacements.

Operational Downtime

The time required to address these malfunctions translates into operational downtime. For every hour the silo is non-operational, there's a cascading effect on the supply chain. During peak harvesting or shipping seasons, this downtime can be particularly costly. The financial implications extend beyond the immediate repair costs to include lost revenue and potential contract penalties.

Polyurethane as a Solution

Polyurethane Leak Seal Grout

Polyurethane stands as a highly effective material for sealing leaks in elevator pits. One of its primary advantages is its quick-setting nature. Unlike traditional materials like cement, polyurethane can set within minutes, drastically reducing the time required for repairs and, consequently, operational downtime.
Another advantage is its flexibility. Polyurethane can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, maintaining a tight seal and offering long-lasting results. This characteristic makes it particularly useful in environments with extreme temperature variations.

Experienced Waterproofing Contractors

While polyurethane offers an effective sealing solution, proper application is critical to achieve optimal results. This is where the expertise of an experienced contractor comes into play. Look for a contractor who specializes in commercial waterproofing and has a proven track record with polyurethane grouts. They will have the right equipment, training, and techniques to thoroughly clean, prepare, and seal the problem areas. Rushing through the job or using improper methods can compromise the integrity of the seal.

A quality contractor will take the time to inspect, diagnose, and address the root causes of leaks before applying the sealant. They will also guarantee their work, which demonstrates confidence in their skills. While it may involve a slightly higher upfront cost, spending on an experienced contractor ultimately pays off through lasting results and minimized repeat repairs down the road. Their expertise in all aspects of the sealing process gives you the assurance of not just a quick patch-up solution but a robust, long-term fix to keep your elevator pits dry for years to come.

Proactive Maintenance is Key

Sealing leaks in elevator pits is not just a maintenance task; it's a critical operation that impacts grain quality, equipment functionality, and overall operational efficiency. Water ingress can lead to grain contamination, reduce the efficacy of fumigants, and cause equipment malfunction. These issues, in turn, contribute to operational downtime and financial losses.

Polyurethane offers a robust solution for sealing these leaks. Its quick-setting and flexible nature makes it an ideal choice for this application. The key takeaway is that proactive maintenance of elevator pits can prevent a multitude of problems. By understanding the risks and available solutions, silo owners and operators can make informed decisions that safeguard both their investment and the quality of the grain they store.

By addressing the issue of leaks in elevator pits, you're not just fixing a structural problem; you're enhancing the overall integrity and reliability of your grain silo. And in a business where margins can be thin, such proactive measures can make a significant difference to your bottom line.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection, Curtain Grouting, Commercial Property Manager Resources

Municipal Solutions Series - 4. Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Oct 13, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

Body - Ensuring Regulatory ComplianceThe Maze of Repair-Related Regulations

For municipal managers overseeing stormwater and wastewater systems, the regulatory landscape can often feel like a complex maze. When it comes to repairs on manholes and lift stations, the stakes are even higher. Regulatory compliance is not just a matter of adhering to best practices; it's a legal requirement that carries significant consequences for non-compliance. This blog post aims to guide you through the labyrinth of permits and compliance requirements, offering tips for staying ahead of regulatory changes and outlining the benefits of compliant repair practices.

Navigating Permits and Compliance During Repair Projects

Understanding the Regulatory Framework

Before embarking on any repair project, it's crucial to have a thorough understanding of the regulatory framework that governs stormwater and wastewater systems. This includes federal, state, and local regulations, as well as industry standards. Ignorance is not an excuse in the eyes of the law, and failure to comply can result in hefty fines, legal action, and damage to your municipality's reputation.

Obtaining Necessary Permits

Permit acquisition is often the first step in any repair project. Whether it's a minor leak seal or a major overhaul, permits are usually required to ensure that the work meets established safety and environmental standards. Make sure to apply for these permits well in advance of your planned repair dates, as the approval process can be time-consuming.

Compliance Checks and Balances

Once you've obtained the necessary permits, the next step is to ensure that the repair work itself adheres to all regulatory requirements. This often involves:

  • Pre-repair inspections to assess the scope and impact of the work.
  • Mid-repair checks to ensure that the work is proceeding as per the approved plans.
  • Post-repair audits to confirm that the repairs meet all compliance standards.


Maintaining detailed records is not just good practice; it's often a regulatory requirement. Documentation should include:

  • The initial assessment and scope of the repair.
  • All permits and approvals.
  • Details of the repair process, including materials used and personnel involved.
  • Final inspection reports and compliance certifications.

Tips for Staying Ahead of Regulatory Changes

Regular Training and Updates

Regulations are not static; they evolve over time. Regular training sessions can help your team stay updated on the latest changes and how they impact your operations.

Consult Regulatory Agencies

Don't hesitate to consult with regulatory agencies for guidance. They can provide valuable insights into compliance requirements and may even offer resources to help you meet them.

Leverage Technology

Modern technology can be a valuable ally in maintaining compliance. Software solutions are available that can track permit statuses, alert you to upcoming regulatory changes, and even automate some aspects of the compliance process.

Peer Networking

Networking with peers in other municipalities can provide additional perspectives on how to navigate the complex world of regulatory compliance. Industry conferences, webinars, and online forums are excellent platforms for such interactions.

The Benefits of Compliant Repair Practices

Adhering to regulatory compliance during repairs is not just a legal necessity; it offers several tangible benefits:

Risk Mitigation

Compliance reduces the risk of legal repercussions, including fines and lawsuits, that can be both financially and reputationally damaging.

Operational Efficiency

A well-planned, compliant repair process is often more efficient, minimizing downtime and ensuring that repairs are durable and effective.

Public Trust

Compliance with regulations not only protects the municipality from legal consequences but also builds public trust. When residents see that their local government is committed to following the law and protecting public safety, it enhances the municipality's credibility.

Environmental Stewardship

Many regulations are designed to protect the environment. By adhering to these rules, municipalities contribute to broader environmental conservation efforts, aligning with public sentiment and ethical responsibilities.

In summary, navigating the maze of repair-related regulations may be challenging, but the benefits of doing so are manifold. By understanding the regulatory landscape, obtaining necessary permits, and maintaining rigorous compliance checks, municipal managers can ensure that their repair projects are not only successful but also legally sound. Staying ahead of regulatory changes through training, consultation, and technology can further streamline this process, making compliance an integrated part of your operational strategy.

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Municipal Solutions Series - 3. Preventing Expensive Emergency Repairs

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Oct 12, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Preventing Expensive Emergency Repairs

Body - Preventing Expensive Emergency RepairsThe High Stakes of Unpredictability

Extreme weather events are becoming increasingly unpredictable, posing significant risks to municipal stormwater and wastewater systems. For municipal managers in charge of these systems, the unpredictability translates into a heightened risk of expensive emergency repairs, especially concerning manholes and lift stations. This blog post aims to shed light on how preventative maintenance, particularly with the use of polyurethane grout, can save municipalities from the financial burden of emergency repairs.

The Cost of Negligence: Emergency Repairs

When a stormwater or wastewater system fails, especially during an extreme weather event, the immediate need for repair can be both urgent and costly. Emergency leak seal repairs on manholes and lift stations can cost up to three times the price of preventative maintenance. These emergency situations often require immediate action, specialized labor, and sometimes even system shutdowns, all of which contribute to inflated costs.

The Power of Prevention: Polyurethane Grout

One of the most effective ways to prevent the need for such expensive emergency repairs is using polyurethane grout in preventative maintenance. Polyurethane grout offers a cost-effective, durable solution for sealing leaks and stabilizing structures. It provides a long-lasting seal that can withstand the pressures and conditions often exacerbated by extreme weather events.

Why Polyurethane Grout?

  • Durability: Polyurethane grout is highly resistant to wear and tear, making it a long-lasting solution.
  • Flexibility: Unlike traditional materials, polyurethane grout can expand and contract, making it ideal for fluctuating weather conditions.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: While the upfront cost may be a consideration, the long-term savings in avoided emergency repairs make it a wise investment.

Implementing a Preventative Maintenance Plan

Preventative maintenance is not just about fixing problems as they arise; it's about anticipating issues and addressing them before they escalate into emergencies. Here's how to implement a preventative maintenance plan effectively:

Conduct Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of manholes and lift stations are crucial. Utilize modern technologies like CCTV cameras and sensor systems to monitor the condition of these structures continually.

Prioritize Areas for Maintenance

Not all areas will require immediate attention. Use the data collected during inspections to prioritize areas that are most at risk.

Schedule Preventative Maintenance

Once you've identified the priority areas, schedule preventative maintenance activities. This is where polyurethane grout comes into play. Use it to seal minor leaks and reinforce structures that show signs of wear and tear.

Train Your Team

Ensure that your maintenance team is well-trained in using polyurethane grout and other preventative maintenance technologies. Their skill level can significantly impact the effectiveness of your maintenance activities.

Monitor and Adjust

After implementing your preventative maintenance plan, continue to monitor its effectiveness. Adjust as necessary, and don't hesitate to update your plan to accommodate new technologies or methods.

The Financial Logic: Cost-Benefit Analysis

When weighing the costs and benefits of a preventative maintenance plan, the numbers speak for themselves. The initial investment in polyurethane grout and other preventative measures pales in comparison to the potential costs of emergency repairs. Factor in the additional benefits of avoiding system downtime, and the case for preventative maintenance becomes even more compelling.

The Long-Term Benefits of Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance, especially when utilizing polyurethane grout, offers municipalities a viable path to avoid the financial and operational pitfalls associated with emergency repairs. It's not just about cost-saving; it's about operational efficiency, system reliability, and ultimately, public safety. By adopting a proactive approach to maintenance, municipal managers can effectively mitigate the risks posed by the increasing unpredictability of extreme weather events. In doing so, they not only protect their communities but also ensure the longevity and reliability of critical infrastructure.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection, Curtain Grouting, Municipal Resources

Municipal Solutions Series - 2. Eco-Friendly Wastewater Management

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Oct 11, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Eco-Friendly Wastewater Management

Body - Eco-Friendly Wastewater ManagementThe Environmental Stakes of Wastewater Management

Wastewater management is not just a logistical challenge; it's an environmental imperative. The stakes are high, and the consequences of mismanagement can be devastating. From contaminating water bodies to harming aquatic life, the environmental impact of poorly managed wastewater systems is far-reaching. As stewards of public infrastructure, municipal managers have a responsibility to not only ensure the effective treatment of wastewater but also to minimize its environmental footprint.

Eco-Friendly Technologies and Practices

Fortunately, advances in technology and best practices offer a path to more sustainable wastewater management. Here are some of the leading eco-friendly technologies and practices that can make a significant difference:

Membrane Bioreactors (MBRs)

MBRs combine conventional activated sludge treatment with membrane filtration. This technology offers higher-quality effluent and reduces the need for chemical use in wastewater treatment.

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion breaks down organic matter in the absence of oxygen, producing biogas that can be used for energy. This process reduces the volume of sludge and its associated disposal costs.


Using plants to remove or neutralize pollutants in water is an eco-friendly and cost-effective method. Wetlands, for example, can be engineered to treat wastewater naturally.

Energy-Efficient Pumps

Switching to energy-efficient pumps can significantly reduce the energy consumption of wastewater treatment plants, thereby lowering their carbon footprint.

Real-Time Monitoring Systems

Advanced sensors and control systems can optimize the treatment process, reducing the need for chemicals and energy.

Steps for Implementing a Green Wastewater Management Strategy

Implementing an eco-friendly wastewater management strategy requires a comprehensive approach. Here are some steps to guide municipal managers:

Conduct an Environmental Audit

The first step is to assess the current environmental impact of your wastewater treatment facilities. This audit will identify areas for improvement and help prioritize actions.

Set Clear Objectives

Define what you aim to achieve with your green wastewater management strategy. Whether it's reducing energy consumption by a certain percentage or lowering chemical use, clear objectives will guide your efforts.

Choose Appropriate Technologies

Based on your audit and objectives, select the technologies that best fit your needs. Consider factors like cost, scalability, and ease of integration with existing systems.

Train Staff

Successful implementation requires a well-trained staff. Make sure your team understands the new technologies and practices, and how they contribute to environmental sustainability.

Monitor and Adjust

Once implemented, continuously monitor the performance of your new systems. Use real-time data to make necessary adjustments and optimize efficiency.

Engage the Community

Transparency is key. Keep the community informed about your efforts to make wastewater management more eco-friendly. Public support can be a significant asset in securing future investments in green technologies.

The Importance of Using NSF-Approved Products in Repairs

When it comes to repairs involving contact with drinking water, it's crucial to determine if your project requires products that meet NSF/ANSI 61-5 standards. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) develops public health standards and certification programs that protect the world's food, water, consumer products, and environment. NSF ensures that adequate testing is conducted for all products used in or around drinking water from source to tap.

Each product must undergo rigorous testing to receive NSF approval. The manufacturer's plant and quality assurance practices must also pass a thorough inspection. This rigorous certification process is invaluable to all parties involved, ensuring that products meet the highest standards for safety and quality.

Moreover, compliance with NSF standards ensures that you are also in compliance with the Safe Water Drinking Act (SDWA). The SDWA gives the EPA the authority to impose criminal and civil penalties on industries that are not in compliance. In 2014, enforcement efforts netted $163 million in penalties and fines, 155 combined years of incarceration for sentenced defendants, and $16 million in court-ordered project clean-ups.

For municipal managers, using NSF-approved products in repairs is not just a best practice; it's a legal necessity. It ensures that you are not the source or cause of drinking water contamination, either in the short or long term.

The Long-Term Benefits of Eco-Friendly Practices

Adopting eco-friendly practices in wastewater management is not just good for the environment; it's also good for the community and the municipal budget. Reduced energy consumption lowers operational costs, while cleaner effluent means healthier ecosystems and, potentially, fewer regulatory hurdles. Moreover, sustainable practices can enhance a municipality's reputation, making it more attractive for both residents and businesses.

In the long run, the benefits far outweigh the initial costs and challenges of transitioning to a green wastewater management strategy. It's an investment in the future—a future where both people and the planet can thrive. Municipal managers have the opportunity, and indeed the responsibility, to lead the way in adopting sustainable, eco-friendly practices. By doing so, they safeguard not just their immediate community, but also contribute to global environmental conservation efforts.

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Municipal Solutions Series - 1. Is Your System Under an EPA Mandate?

Posted by Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman on Oct 10, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Is Your System Under an EPA Mandate

Body - Is Your System Under an EPA MandateThe Critical Role of Wastewater Management in Public Health

Wastewater management stands as a cornerstone of public health. It's not just about pipes and pumps; it's about protecting communities from diseases and environmental hazards. When wastewater systems fail, the consequences are immediate and severe. One of the most alarming issues is Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), which can lead to backups into people's homes, including toilets and basements. These incidents are not just unpleasant; they are unhealthy and can result in significant costs for the city, as municipalities often bear the financial burden of repairs.

The Consequences of System Failures: SSOs and Backups

When SSOs occur, untreated sewage can overflow into rivers, contaminating water sources and posing a severe environmental risk. The immediate impact on residents is equally concerning. Imagine the horror of sewage backing up into your home. It's not just a foul-smelling inconvenience; it's a health hazard that exposes residents to harmful bacteria and other pathogens.

The EPA Steps In: What Happens When You're Sued

If your municipality's wastewater system is causing pollution due to SSOs or other failures, you can expect intervention from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has the authority to sue municipalities for failing to manage wastewater effectively, and they often win these cases. Once that happens, the EPA will mandate a repair deadline. While this may sound daunting, it's worth noting that the EPA also provides funding assistance to help municipalities comply with these mandates.

A Cost-Efficient Approach to Mitigating Infiltration in Sanitary/Stormwater Systems

So, how can municipal managers effectively address these challenges without breaking the bank? One promising solution lies in the use of flexible polyurethane grout for targeted leak repairs. This approach promises a robust return on investment and can be broken down into three key steps:

Assessment: Inspect Lift Stations and Manholes

The first step in any repair process is a thorough assessment. Municipal managers must inspect lift stations and manholes to identify the system's weak points. Modern technologies, such as remote sensors and CCTV cameras, can assist in this process, providing real-time data on system integrity.

Identification: Locate and Prioritize Significant Leaks

Once the assessment phase is complete, the next step is to identify and prioritize leaks that require immediate attention. Not all leaks are created equal. Some may be minor and pose less immediate risk, while others could be catastrophic if not addressed promptly. Prioritizing these leaks ensures that the most critical issues are resolved first, thereby reducing the risk of SSOs and backups.

Targeted Repair: Utilize Flexible Polyurethane Grout

After identifying the most significant leaks, the final step is the repair process. Here, flexible polyurethane grout comes into play. Unlike traditional repair methods that often require extensive excavation and are labor-intensive, polyurethane grout offers a more efficient solution. It provides a precise, point repair approach that seals leaks effectively, ensuring a longer-lasting fix.

The Strategic Importance of Flexible Polyurethane Grout

For municipal managers overseeing stormwater and wastewater systems, embracing flexible polyurethane grout for leak repair is a strategic move. It's not just about ensuring infrastructure longevity; it's about safeguarding public health and achieving economic efficiency.

When you consider the potential costs of EPA intervention, including legal fees and mandated repairs, the return on investment for proactive maintenance becomes abundantly clear. Add to this the public health risks and environmental damage that come with system failures, and the case for a proactive, efficient approach to wastewater management is compelling.

The Time for Action is Now

If your municipality is under an EPA mandate, or if you're looking to avoid one, now is the time to act. Proactive management of wastewater systems is not just a regulatory requirement; it's a public health imperative. By adopting a cost-efficient approach that utilizes modern technologies like flexible polyurethane grout, municipalities can not only comply with regulations but also protect their communities and the environment.

Remember, wastewater management is not just an engineering challenge; it's a community responsibility. By taking timely, effective actions, municipal managers can fulfill this responsibility and ensure the well-being of their residents for years to come.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection, Curtain Grouting, Municipal Resources

5 Steps of Crack Injection – 4. Flushing Cracks

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Oct 5, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Flushing Cracks

Body - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Flushing CracksAll cracks that aren’t actively leaking at the time you are sealing them need to be flushed out with water. Flushing them gives you several advantages:

  1. Lets you know whether your drill holes have intersected the crack.
  2. Flushes dirt and debris out the surface of the crack so your resin has a cleaner internal surface to bond to.
  3. Reveals how far you can expect the resin to travel so you know if your drilled holes are close enough together.
  4. The water will help open up tight cracks that the thicker resin may not otherwise have been able to penetrate.
  5. Ensures that the resin has sufficient moisture to react with.

Start at the lowest point in the crack and flush clean water through your injection ports. It is best to have at least two pumps onsite. One for pumping water and one for pumping resin. Use the same type of high-pressure pump that you use for resin. You can use a smaller pump if you like, as long as it is capable of generating between 2,800 and 3,500 p.s.i.

BE CAREFUL when flushing tight cracks! The low viscosity of water coupled with the high pressure of the pump can shear the concrete. The water can push into tight cracks and capillaries and all at once split your concrete. You can also shear concrete with resin, but it is more likely to happen with water because you are testing your crack and trying to open it up.

Always start every port with the lowest pump pressure and slowly turn it up as necessary. Also, slowly crack the valve open when you are first injecting water or resin. This is a critical moment in the process. If you forget to turn the pump pressure down after each port, you risk blasting high pressure into the port all at once which can result in shearing of the concrete or blowing out the port.

Keep injecting water as long as it is flowing through the port and moving further and further along the crack. Monitor the water coming out of the crack. Notice if it is clean or cloudy. Keep injecting until it comes out clean.

If the project is big enough, you can have one technician injecting water and another injecting resin right behind. Personally, I like to do both steps myself. That way I know what to expect when injecting the resin. In any case, keep the water pump nearby. Many times you will have to pop another hole in the wall here and there to completely seal the crack with resin.

5 Steps of Crack Injection - Overview
5 Steps of Crack Injection - 1. Drilling Holes
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 1. Drilling Holes (Continued)
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 2. Flushing Holes
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 3. Installing Ports
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 4. Flushing Cracks
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 5. Injecting Resin

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5 Steps of Crack Injection – 2. Flushing Holes

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Sep 20, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Flushing Holes

Body - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Flushing HolesHere it is. My favorite topic. Why? Because it is my pet peeve. It separates the technicians who care from those who are only going through the motions. Quite frankly, it can be the difference between a successful outcome and dismal failure - or at the very least an expensive callback.

When you drill holes you create concrete dust. The hammer drill bit literally chews up the concrete. Most of it comes out of the hole and falls on the floor. However, a lot of dust is left behind inside the hole. If it is not properly flushed out then it will mix with your polyurethane injection resin and make a thick paste. This thick paste can be forced into the crack and prevent the clean resin from reaching deep into the crack where it is needed. Most of the time you won’t even realize you have a problem. But there it is nonetheless. Waiting for the right conditions to allow water to seep back through the crack you thought you fixed.

How do you avoid this? Simple - flush the hole out from the back using a very cheap flexible hose that attaches to your flush pump (you did bring a separate flush pump didn’t you?). Start at the highest hole and work your way down until clean water is flowing out of each hole.

Spraying water on the face of the holes may make it look clean, but it is not effective. There is still dust deep in the hole. Filling a water bottle up and squeezing it so that water shoots part way up the hole is not good enough. You have to have the water exit your hose at the back of the hole. This is the only way.

Are there exceptions? Of course, there are. If you pull the drill bit out of the hole and water gushes out behind it in a steady stream you can skip this step. Otherwise, make sure you bring a flush hose with you. It has to be small enough to fit inside your drill hole. We make it easy for you. We make one and sell it for cheap (so don’t blame us if you get to your job site and don’t have one).

This is so basic it is silly. However, I have seen experienced technicians do the water bottle trick and try to explain that it is sufficient. I’m happy to report that those guys are working for your competitors now. Just make sure your guys don’t get lulled into laziness and skip what just might be the most important of these five basic steps:

  1. Drill the hole
  2. Flush the hole
  3. Install the ports
  4. Flush the crack
  5. Inject the resin

Next up, we install the ports!

5 Steps of Crack Injection - Overview
5 Steps of Crack Injection - 1. Drilling Holes
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 1. Drilling Holes (Continued)
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 2. Flushing Holes
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 3. Installing Ports
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 4. Flushing Cracks
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 5. Injecting Resin

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection

5 Steps of Crack Injection – 1. Drilling Holes (Continued)

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Sep 13, 2023 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Drilling Holes (Continued)

Body - 5 Steps of Crack Injection - Drilling Holes (Continued)Let’s face it, most of the structures you drill through will be full of rebar. Rebar is the steel reinforcement that gives the structure its strength. Concrete protects the rebar by shielding it from moisture, and the high pH of concrete keeps the rebar from rusting. However, once a crack forms it allows more water and environmental gasses to reach the area surrounding the rebar. Carbonation of the concrete can now occur which causes the pH to drop and the corrosion process to begin. The rust expands and takes up 15 times the volume of the un-corroded steel which causes tensile forces to work against the concrete eventually resulting in additional cracking and spalling. Hopefully, you will be called in to fix the leaks before much of this damage occurs.

Once you are on the job site, this slow process of decay does not really affect you (unless the concrete is spalling off as you drill). Your issue with the rebar is that it will stop your drill bit from penetrating the crack. The cracks will often follow the rebar, especially if there is not adequate coverage of concrete over the rebar. Shallow rebar is a huge contributing factor to cracks in concrete.

At this point, all you care about are two things. First, how do you know if you have hit rebar? Second, if you have hit it, what do you do next?

After drilling many thousands of holes, as I have over my career, I pretty much know when I have hit rebar. Here are a few things to look for:

  1. The forward progress of drilling has stopped.
  2. The sound of the drilling changes.
  3. The quantity of drilling dust is reduced.
  4. If you are not sure, put your hand out to catch some of the drilling dust coming out of the drill hole. Observe it for metal shavings.

Given enough time and effort, you can drill through rebar. However, I wouldn’t recommend this as a general practice. It takes a lot of time, weakens the structure you are trying to protect, and...have you bought a drill bit lately? Steel is expensive! Try this instead:

  1. Move further away from the crack and try again (adjust your drilling angle).
  2. Move closer to the crack and try again (adjust your drilling angle).
  3. Move parallel to the crack and try again.
  4. Move to the other side of the crack and try again.

As a last resort, drill straight into the crack. This is not the ideal situation, but if you can drill deep enough to get an injection port installed, then you might be able to successfully seal the leak. 

Now that the surface of your concrete looks like Swiss cheese, it is time to go get that bag of fast-set hydraulic cement you brought along for just this purpose. Try to patch it up before you begin injection because some of those abandoned holes are libel to have hit pay dirt. If you don’t seal them up then you will have foam or resin leaking out of the holes.

Hitting rebar is not fun and can be frustrating. The key is to expect it and try to think three-dimensionally. See if you can visualize what is going on behind the concrete. This is one of the keys to becoming a really good injection technician.

5 Steps of Crack Injection - Overview
5 Steps of Crack Injection - 1. Drilling Holes
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 1. Drilling Holes (Continued)
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 2. Flushing Holes
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 3. Installing Ports
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 4. Flushing Cracks
5 Steps of Crack Injection – 5. Injecting Resin

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Crack Injection