Flexible Concrete Cloth Repairs Pipes, Goes Green
Infrastructure problems occur throughout small towns in the United States and budgets are being squeezed every day. These small communities are looking at innovative, cost effective solutions that extend the service life of in-place infrastructure while not disrupt daily living. The small town of New Ipswich, New Hampshire is home to approximately 5,000 residents and serves as a travel route for thousands more passing through on the way to popular New England hiking trails.
In late 2015, the New Ipswich Department of Public Works (DPW) identified corrosion issues in many of the town’s culvert pipes and received a small grant from the NHDOT to fix a pair of 50-year old, side-by-side steel culverts that measured 40 feet long by six feet in diameter.
The DPW needed to make repairs quickly before the culverts deteriorated further, becoming a hazard. Because the culverts ran beneath one of the town’s main paved thoroughfares, a rehabilitation solution was preferred to the high cost of open cut and replacement. Additionally, ease of installation was a key consideration for the DPW in order to minimize time and labor expenses for the town’s two-man crew.
Partnering with the town, ACF Environmental, a nationwide stormwater and geosynthetics solutions provider determined traditional methods for repair were not viable for this particular project. The expense of concrete pouring equipment as well as limited pipe access forced traditional concrete to be ruled out. Concrete would have also needed to be code permitted before installation, a time-consuming process that would have set the project back further.
With these factors in mind, ACF recommended Milliken Infrastructure Solutions’ Concrete Cloth GCCM (geosynthetic cementitious composite mat). Milliken Concrete Cloth is a form fitting, flexible concrete impregnated fabric that hardens on hydration and would provide a new wearing surface that would extend the service life of the in-place culverts. Concrete Cloth GCCM also helped to mitigate loss of backfill around the pipes by covering perforations in the invert of the pipes.
The high cost of a traditional repair solution would allow only enough budget to fix one of the culverts with the NHDOT grant. However, ACF proved that the reduced labor and equipment costs associated with a Concrete Cloth GCCM application would allow the town to effectively repair both culverts.
Concrete Cloth GCCM also met requirements of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), which approved the solution in just one week after the project engineer submitted the initial concept.
“New England’s environmental permitting agencies can sometimes conduct complex and lengthy evaluation and approval processes for new technologies,” said Rick Fotino, New England Regional Sales Manager with ACF Environmental. “We were surprised by how quickly Concrete Cloth GCCM was determined to be an environmentally responsible, low impact repair solution, especially compared to other rehabilitation options.”
The installation process began in July 2016 and was just as easy as receiving permitting approvals. The summer months are typically the best time for rehabilitation jobs like these because flows are noticeably lesser than the rest of the year, when water levels in the pipe regularly can rise up to two feet. Even with unseasonably little water in the pipe, flow needed to be diverted to just one culvert before laying down the GCCM in the other.
Once the first pipe was ready, Concrete Cloth GCCM was lowered down into the culvert, where the two-man team rolled it out used mechanical fasteners to attach the Concrete Cloth GCCM to the existing pipe. The flow was then directed to the second pipe and the process repeated. That phase of the project took only about three hours for each culvert, and the remainder of the two-day job was focused on re-diverting flows appropriately.
“We anticipate many situations in this region where Concrete Cloth GCCM will be able to help failing infrastructure handle high volumes of stormwater,” continued Fotino. “The material’s durability and abrasion-resistance compares favorably to typical poured concrete with wire reinforcing. But with fewer associated costs, asset owners with tight budgets can stretch their dollar further.”
About Milliken Infrastructure Solutions
Milliken Infrastructure Solutions, LLC offers a range of smart, practical innovations focused on exploring new materials and installation-friendly methods to make it easier and more efficient to rehabilitate, repair, and strengthen infrastructure. Headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the company’s extensive range of products – from fiber reinforced polymer and geopolymer mortar systems, to geosynthetic composite concrete mat and fabric innerduct – offer solutions for oil, gas and industrial; storm and sanitary; buildings and parking facilities; transport infrastructure; and telecom markets. Milliken Infrastructure Solutions is a subsidiary of Milliken, a global innovation leader that has over 2,200 U.S. patents – and more than 5,000 patents worldwide – since its founding in 1865. To learn more, visit infrastructure.milliken.com.