Innovative Alternatives for Drinking Water Mains

Mother and Daughter in the kitchenSince 1950, the U.S. Geological Service, @USGS has worked in cooperation with local, state, and federal environmental agencies to collect water-use information and issue a report every 5 years.  The last report issued was 2010 and work began on the 2015 report last year.

U.S. Uses 355 Billion Gallons Per Day!

According to USGS about 355 billion gallons of water per day was withdrawn for use in the U.S. during 2010.  About 12 percent of the total, or 42 billion gallons per day was for public supplies.  57 percent of public-supply withdrawals, or 23.8 billion gallons per day, was delivered for domestic use, which includes indoor and outdoor residential uses, such as drinking water, sanitation, and landscape watering.

Average 658 Iron Material Water Main Breaks Daily in U.S. = Loss oStreet and home flood by major underground water pipe failure.f About 25% Treated Drinking Water

In their 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE said 90% of Americans receive their drinking water from public drinking water systems. Yet, nearly 6 billion gallons of treated drinking water is lost every day due to an estimated average of 658 water main breaks occurring in our drinking water systems that total 1 million miles of drinking water pipelines.  ASCE estimates $1 trillion in investments are needed to maintain/expand service to meet demand over the next 25 years.

Majority of U.S. Water Distribution System = Decaying Iron Material

The American Water Works Association, WATER:\STATS 1996 Survey, found that the majority of the U.S. water distribution system pipes are composed of iron material: cast iron (38%), ductile iron (22%), and steel (5%).  Moreover, a 1997 survey (Bray, A.V. Personal communication. (1997)) of the 100 largest American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) member utilities found that “the most common distribution system problem is corrosion of cast iron pipe.”

In their April 2010 document, Priorities of the Distribution System Research and Information Collection Partnership, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Water Research Foundation (Foundation) found “Positive pressure in water distribution systems mitigates infiltration of external contaminants that might be present in the soil or water outside heap of rusty broken water pipesthe buried pipes (Kirmeyer et al., 2001)…When pressure is not adequately maintained in a distribution system, several types of contamination events are possible.”

In addition, USEPA and the Foundation highlighted that, “As distribution systems age deterioration can occur due to corrosion, materials erosion, and external pressures that can lead to breaches in pipes and storage facilities, intrusion, and main breaks. In recent years, deteriorating water infrastructure in many parts of the US has resulted in frequent water main breaks, openings in storage tanks, pressure aberrations, and other situations that can pose intermittent or persistent health risks (US EPA, 2009 and ASCE, nd.). For example, main breaks cause flooding and potential pathways for contaminants to enter the distribution system or be mobilized from internal distribution system surfaces.”

Water Industry Must Be Concerned With 3 Aspects of Iron Pipe Corrosion…

In their review synthesizing nearly 100 years of corrosion studies in Iron Pipe Corrosion in Distribution Systems, Journal (American Water Works Association) Vol. 93, No. 7 (JULY 2001), pp. 88-100) Laurie S. McNeill and Marc Edwards reiterated, “Corrosion of iron pipes in a distribution system can cause three distinct but related problems. First, pipe mass is lost through oxidization to soluble iron species or iron-bearing scale. Second, the scale can accumulate as large tubercles that increase head loss and decrease water capacity. Finally, the release of soluble or particulate iron corrosion-byproducts to the water decreases its aesthetic quality and often leads to consumer complaints of “red water” at the tap. The water industry must be concerned with all three of these aspects of corrosion.”

There is an Innovative, Safe, Viable & Less Costly Way…

Since the 1970’s across the globe, including in multiple cities in the U.S., local jurisdictions, states and military bases have been using a safe, viable and less costly alternative to replacing iron material pipelines for drinking water mains.  They are employing a trenchless technology that employs a structural liner to rehabilitate water mains. This liner is intended for cities, industries and military bases experiencing a need for significant maintenance work when the drinking water supply system has reached the end of its useful life.  The trenchless technology cures in place inside an existing water main pipe during installation.

It’s a Pipe Within a Pipe

Water Main pipeline before/after rehabilitation using Aqua-Pipe ( cured-in-place trenchless technology.

Water Main pipeline before/after rehabilitation using Aqua-Pipe ( Class IV structural lining trenchless technology.

The technology is a Class IV structural “pipe-within-a-pipe” in an existing water main and it eliminates the need to excavate road foundations.  The Class IV designation is from the American Water Works Association, Manual 28, (M28) Rehabilitation of Water Mains, Third Edition.  It means the structural liner (cylinder) wall strength is designed to withstand Maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) for a rehabilitated pipeline designed to last 50 years. A Class IV structural linings will actually serve as a replacement pipe in case the host pipe fails.  The structural liner is independently tested to withstand standard drinking water pressure of 150 psi.  Service connections to homes are restored using robotics from inside the structural liner.

Structural Lining is a Green Technology

Structural lining is a green technology (CO2 friendly) for renewing virtually all types of water mains including cast iron, ductile iron, asbestos cement, transite, PVC, as well as most steel water mains. The technology uses the host pipe as a mold and does not rely on any structural capacity of the existing pipe.  Structural lining restores flow capacity, protects against corrosion and restores structural capacity of water mains.

Structural Lining is Lower Cost, Offers Faster Project Turnaround and is Less Disruptive

This innovative method rehabilitates water mains at a lower cost compared to traditional dig-n-replace pipelines. Depending on the project, in most cases structural lining can be installed at a reduced cost of between 10% and 40% of traditional dig-and-replace methods.  The installation process allows local jurisdictions, industries and military bases to:

(1) save money in direct construction costs (compared to dig-and-replace),

Loveland, Colorado (2016) two water main projects being completed on same street. One using trenchless structural lining, one using dig-n-replace method.

Loveland, Colorado (2016) two water main projects being completed on same street. One using trenchless structural lining, one using dig-n-replace method.

(2) save time on construction turnaround (compared to dig-and-replace),

(3) reduce indirect social costs and of course,

(4) do more water main renewal with the same budget.

Structural Lining of Drinking Water Mains: Installation Process

The installation process is based on a close-to-complete trenchless installation of the structural liner using small access pits in conjunction with robotics for plugging and reinstating services. It involves combining polyester outer jackets with a polyurethane inner lining.  Epoxy resin is impregnated in between the flexible liners.  The liner is inserted into the existing, damaged water pipeline and hot water is circulated inside the liner causing the liner to adhere to the existing pipe wall and reticulated in place. The materials are all free from VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and styrenes.

Structural Lining Certifications for Drinking Water Products

Drinking water applications are specifically developed to meet with the U.S.’ growing demand for water infrastructure renewal.  For instance, one structural liner, Aqua-Pipe® is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) to NSF/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects and UL.  The certification is important because manufacturers or distributors of water treatment or distribution products throughout North America are required to comply with NSF/ANSI 61 by most governmental agencies that regulate drinking water. The NSF/ANSI 61 Standard was developed by scientists and industry experts to establish health effects criteria for water system components that include:

  • Protective barrier materials (cements, paints, coatings)
  • Joining and sealing materials (gaskets, adhesives, lubricants)Compliance check-mark 477931074
  • Mechanical devices (water meters, valves, filters)
  • Pipes and related products (pipe, hose, fittings)
  • Plumbing devices (faucets, drinking fountains)
  • Process media (filter media, ion exchange resins)
  • Non-metallic potable water materials.

NSF maintains seven steps to certification that includes:

  1. Your company submits an application.
  2. You provide product formulation, toxicology and product use information.
  3. Our toxicology department reviews formulations.
  4. We perform a plant audit and sample collection.
  5. Our laboratory conducts testing.
  6. We complete a final toxicology evaluation.
  7. We grant NSF certification for compliant products and you can use the NSF mark on products, packaging and marketing materials.

According to NSF, forty-eight U.S. states currently have legislation, regulations or policies requiring drinking water system components to comply with, or be certified to, NSF/ANSI 61.

Structural Lining Quality Control

All structural lining products must meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification to the stringent criteria of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard 61 (Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects). NSF Certification ensures safe drinking water for the users and the workers.

Moreover, all trenchless technology rehabilitation projects are monitored for quality control and enforced by local jurisdictions environmental officials.  In fact, subsequent project stages may not proceed until approval is granted by local project officials.

All structural lining projects are disinfected as per city, state or American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards. The processes are identical to new installations.  

Installation Benefits to Structural LiningSide view of a woman drinking water in kitchen

Some of the benefits to structural lining technology include but are not limited to:

  • Depending on the project, up to 1,000 feet may be rehabilitated in one day,
  • Little excavation is needed when compared to open-cut and replacing drinking water pipelines,
  • Reinstatement of services are completed from within the pipe,
  • Structural lining rehabilitation can negotiate bends in the water lines,
  • Adjacent infrastructure, such as railroad tracks and other structures are not disturbed,
  • Extends the life of the drinking water pipeline by +50 years.

Ratepayers Benefit From Structural Lining

  • Huge reduction in complaints from residents while the rehabilitation is performed,
  • Eliminates future water main breaks and leaks,
  • Adds corrosion resistance to prevent red or brown water, and
  • Increases pressure and flow capacity.

Cansler Consulting government relations lobbyists At Cansler Consulting we understand that in Washington, D.C. change is the only constant. Advocacy in Washington is also changing and we are at the forefront using new technologies and data to help us focus on strategies that improve our client's return on investment. Our core lobbying strategies are driven by the value at stake from federal legislative & regulatory actions. Leading studies indicate that today's business value impacted by government and regulatory action, or inaction can reach as high as 30 percent of earnings for most companies. With as much as one-third of earnings at stake, it is imperative that companies, industries and organizations engage in government relations. If you need effective representation from a bipartisan, entrepreneurial government relations firm contact Cansler Consulting. We are certified by the National Institute of Lobbying and Ethics and have decades of experience assisting clients in issue areas including Agriculture, Budget & Appropriations, Food Safety, Transportation & Infrastructure, International Trade and Energy. Through our relationships established in Washington, D.C. and throughout the U.S. for over two decades we can help you the legislative and regulatory processes on Capitol Hill and inside federal agencies. You can contact us at

Tim Cansler