Tax Dollars Spent Wisely – DIY Manhole Rehabilitation
When the City of Plant City, Florida realized that performing simple resurfacing and protecting manholes in-house could stretch their budget, they were drawn to the idea of launching a committed in-house manhole rehabilitation program. “A contractor could take care of everything, but we were already in the field inspecting and grouting leaks and wanted to look into lining our manholes as well,” says Wayman Kingsley, Inflow & Infiltration Supervisor. “We still need contractors for more cumbersome projects involving pumps, replacement, etc; but when it’s just resurfacing and coating, we can do it ourselves.”
Wayman Kingsley’s experience is common to municipalities like Plant City:
- The time needed to inspect structures, engineer a system to address them, make a public announcement, manage the award and possible protests, oversee the contractor in the field, and wait for the installation to take place could be considerable, and could disrupt daily operational priorities.
- Bid processes can take weeks, months, or even years, and all the while the structures continue to deteriorate.
Local governments following a streamlined Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach can mobilize trained employees at their own convenience and utilize stocked material to rehab a structure themselves in a matter of hours, rather than months or years. The long-term cost savings of preventive maintenance and trenchless rehab methods are well-known. The right protective system installed with the correct technique extends the maintenance cycles of vulnerable concrete and steel wastewater infrastructure, especially those exposed to hydrogen sulfide.
Wayman Kingsley utilizes a coating system specifically designed for DIY-type municipal crews. “We needed a product that was safe, with no solvents or fumes; it had to have great bondability and tolerance to the surface and moisture, it had to have superior chemical resistance to H2S, yet at the same time, it needed to be applied easily with simple mobility, and not require heavy or complicated equipment.
We found that Epoxytec Uroflex and CPP were best suited for Do-It-Yourself. Epoxytec provided all the training necessary to get us up and running. We are able to apply the materials, often-times with just a roller or trowel. Sometimes we use the Epoxytec EZ-Spray system, which is just a small cartridge gun that is fully disposable and self-mixing. Some of our manholes just require 6–8 cartridges to line the entire thing, which equals $330 – $440 worth of material and is designed to seal and protect the manhole for many years.”
Mike Caputi of Epoxytec states, “We have developed a product line with all size municipalities in mind who want to undertake some rehab projects in-house – this is our specialty.
Wastewater infrastructure rehabilitation is sometimes highly dynamic, but a DIY program can be a viable approach for simple resurfacing and coating. Many municipalities like the City of Plant City are realizing that a DIY approach enables them to stretch their budgets, build long-term know-how” within their maintenance crews, and create a flexible option for better managing their critical infrastructure.