U.S. Water News Online
FRESNO, Calif. -- In the past two years Fresno, California
has invested more than $12 million on sewer repairs using
Insituform's cured-in-place methods. Twenty-three years after
completing the first cured-in-place installation in the U.S., the
city of Fresno, Calif., has become one of the most proactive cities
in the country in its approach to sewer repair.
Over the past two years, Fresno's Department of Public Utilities
has used Insituform Technologies' cured-in-place methods to
rehabilitate more than seven miles of sewers on projects totaling
more than $12.4 million in value.
"It's not that we have a blanket policy that says we only use
CIPP," explains Robert Volpp-Garcia, a management analyst for the
Sewer Maintenance Division of the city's Public Utilities Department.
"We look at every project separately. It's just that at this time,
CIPP is, hands-down, the most versatile, least disruptive and least
expensive solution on the market."
Fresno's investments are being made in response to a comprehensive
analysis of the city's sewer infrastructure completed several years
ago. That analysis revealed extensive deterioration, particularly in
the city's large-diameter trunk lines.
One of the lines Insituform rehabilitated runs through the Fresno
City Zoo, near what is believed to be the first U.S. test site for a
cured-in-place pipe installation. The year of that first installation
was 1976, recalls Ray Salazar, who was then a young design engineer
working for Fresno's Department of Public Works in Fresno.
Salazar remembers being called into a meeting to discuss the fate
of an historic log cabin located on the grounds of the Fresno's
Roeding Park. The cabin, moved to the park grounds years earlier, was
sitting directly atop a deteriorated 12-inch-diameter sewer.
"The talk centered around a new technology that claimed to be able
repair the sewer without digging up the line or destroying the
cabin," says Salazar, now Fresno city engineer. "A trenchless
technology. What a novel idea it was."
The technology under discussion was the Insituform® process, a
cured-in-place sewer rehabilitation method that was already gaining
popularity in England in the 1970s, but had not yet been tried in the
"Insituform was doing some promotional work at the time and was
trying to interest some cities in looking at the method," says Don
Wible, technical representative for Insituform. "The log cabin site
seemed like an ideal place to demonstrate Insituform's nondisruptive
When workers arrived at the park some weeks later, Salazar and
others from the department were there to observe.
"I'd never seen anything like it before," recalls Salazar. "But
the technology did exactly what they said it would do. The line was
repaired, the cabin was left intact and the CIPP lining is still
fully functional, 24 years later."
Fresno sewer officials attribute their current preferences for
cured-in-place methods to the many changes that have occurred over
the past 24 years, both in the city itself and the sewer
rehabilitation market in general.
"One of the biggest differences between 1976 and today is that we
now have an active preventive maintenance program to restore our
sewers' structural integrity and, in some cases, enhance flow
characteristics," explains Volpp-Garcia.
"Like in other cities of comparable age, the sewers here are
simply aging," he says. The oldest date back to the 1870s.
"I think we just recognized, perhaps a little earlier than some
other cities, the value of taking care of the infrastructure we've
Nondisruption is a much bigger issue today as well.
"Beginning in 1976, Insituform showed us it was possible to repair
our sewers without disturbing the people who live and work here,"
says Salazar. "Today it's not only possible, it's practically a
requirement. We don't need the 'excuse' of a historic building or a
busy freeway to justify using CIPP."
Another big change is in the CIPP technology itself, specifically
its cost. "Twenty years ago, the cost to reline miles of pipe using
CIPP methods would have been prohibitive," says Salazar. "Today,
however, we can't afford to dig up and replace pipe. CIPP has become
more affordable for everyday repairs."
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