The city of Niagara Falls, New York is located on the Niagara River, across from the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and named for the famed Niagara Falls which they share. Water and sewer services within Niagara Falls, N.Y. and adjoining areas are provided by the Niagara Falls Water Board (NFWB). The NFWB serves 50,000 people through more than 16,000 accounts, including residents, businesses and industries. Their vision is very specific, “The goal of the Niagara Falls Water Board is to become a first class competitive utility in the next five to seven years” and NFWB has a strategy to get them there including continually investing in infrastructure to maintain facilities while economically providing customer service. This is exactly what spurred the recent Iroquois Street Sewer Lining Project.
Segmental block pipe came into use in the early 1900s, and was used until the 1930s, when precast pipe became more readily available. The original Iroquois Street sewer was built in 1917 and utilized segmented block to construct the 54-inch diameter sewer.
In the late 1980s, NFWB began a series of projects aimed at reducing significant groundwater infiltration present in this portion of their service area. The projects included downstage and chemical grouting, internal and external pipe seals and flow rerouting. In the early 2010s sewer flows were again rerouted to abandon and seal off the most heavily damaged and leaking section of the sewers.
The past repairs on sewers and tunnels provided some good benefits. However, the Iroquois Street sewer was recently was found to have serious structural problems in addition to prominent infiltration. The groundwater infiltration was estimated at about five million gallons per day. In the spring of 2013, an investigation into the problems and evaluation of corrective alternatives commenced. The specific stretch of sewer under investigation was the 2,200 foot length from Buffalo Avenue to the Southside Interceptor.
“What was first thought to be an infiltration problem evolved to include serious sewer structural and longevity concerns,” John Goeddertz, Ph.D., Sr. Project Manager, AECOM. “Due to the depth of the sewer and the presence of underground utilities associated with both a nearby chemical plant and an electrical substation, a minimal amount of excavation was preferable. The industrial nature of the surrounding land and interfering utilities favored a sliplining approach for sewer rehabilitation. The specifications were written around sliplining the sewer and connecting tunnel with a small variety of acceptable liners.” It was determined that a 36-inch inside diameter liner pipe was suitable for conveying the anticipated sewage flow.
The contract documents allowed the use of three different pipe materials including fusion welded HDPE, fusion welded PVC, or centrifugally cast fiberglass reinforced polymer mortar (Hobas). The Hobas pipe was the only gasket sealed pipe allowed due to the fact that it was the only one that could withstand the potential compressive forces needed to push 1,500 feet of pipe from a single push pit. One push pit was specified to minimize the potential for uncovering contaminated soils while excavating.
Yarussi Construction of Niagara Falls, NY was awarded the project and chose to utilize Hobas pipe for the installation. “The overall cost of using Hobas with the segmental joints was less expensive as a total installed cost,” stated Camil Pachucki, Estimator and Project Manager for Yarussi.
As part of the sewer cleaning operation, intermediate manholes were excavated and a mandrel was pulled to verify proper clearance for liner insertion. “We shipped all of the pipe from Houston, Texas to Niagara Falls via truck within a week’s time in September of 2015” stated Rob Epstein, Commercial Manager with Hobas Pipe USA in Houston, Texas.
Once the host pipe was prepared, Yarussi sliplined 80 percent of the length in three days from a single push pit, inserting liner pipe in both directions. In all, 1,175 feet of the segmented block sewer were cleaned and lined. There were two separate lining operations, one proceeding southward from the push pit and one proceeding northward. The southward lining operation pushed approximately 900 feet of pipe, with about 300 feet being installed to the north. The stretch was completed by open cut methods into the rock tunnel section, again using Hobas pipe.
“We were able to easily install all the sliplining pipe from one pit and as a requirement of the specifications, we used a load cell on the push frame and it recorded the load on the pipe. We pushed the pipe in with flow, and it slid in very well,” stated Pachucki.
The recorded loads increased consistently as subsequent segmental pipes were added to the line. The maximum load on the northward run was approximately 10,000 pounds, and roughly 21,000 pounds for the southward section. The calculated friction factor for the two runs was 0.21 and 0.45 respectively. “This value is very typical of what is reported in Hobas sliplining installations,” stated Rene Garcia, Engineering Supervisor with Hobas.
Richard Roll, Technical Services Director for the NFWB, remarked that “The principal goal of the project was to reduce inflow and infiltration, and the results have been promising, reducing chemical usage and pumping costs at the treatment plant while also reducing wet-weather combined sewer overflow. In addition, an old sewer in the process of failing has been replaced with one expected to provide many decades of reliable service.”