Timmins has given the go-ahead for a new type of water pipe technology that is expected to replace older water mains more efficiently, and at a significant cost saving, than installing new pipes. The process involves relining existing pipes, instead of digging them up and replacing them. This will be the first time the process is used in Timmins.
City council gave approval this week after a city engineering director Luc Duval provided a video presentation outlining how the new technology works. The video showed that a rolling robot is sent into the old pipe to prepare it for the new material.
He said the lining material, like a long sleeve, is inserted into an existing pipe as a soft resin. Following that, high-pressure hot water is injected into the pipe to “cure” the resin into a hard material. Duval said the water is superheated to more than 300 degrees to complete the curing process.
The video showed that the rolling robot is sent back into the pipe at the end of the process to reconnect the new pipe to existing service lines.
Mayor Steve Black, himself an engineer, said the video was “was pretty slick” and said he hopes the video lives up to expectations once the process is put to work in Timmins.
The city has awarded the winning tender for the cost of $192,245 to Mascioli Construction Company Ltd., which will install the new piping material in the old underground water main beneath Algonquin Boulevard from Avenue Road to Fogg Street. This compares with the lowest tender of $309,000 for a conventional job of opening up a trench, digging up the old pipe and laying down the new pipe.
Duval told council that the technology is new enough that Mascioli Construction will be subcontracting the job to a company from outside of Timmins that has done several previous installations. Council had held off on approving the job until it got assurance that the new process would have a suitable life cycle.
“There is a minimum requirement that this pipe, or this technology, must have a minimum life of 50 years,” Duval told council, adding that based on his research he is expecting the pipe to last 75 years.
The pipe will be replacing a cast iron water main, which is said to have a lifespan of 50 to 75 years.
The cast iron line beneath Algonquin Boulevard is 80 years old Duval told council on Monday. Duval also explained that even if the host pipe corrodes and falls apart, the new liner inside the pipe will maintain its integrity, and in effect, becomes the new pipe and is able to withstand all the rigours of being buried beneath the city’s main thoroughfare.
“This would be our first foray in re-lining a water main and minimizing the impact on the surface infrastructure,” Duval told council at the end of June. He said it is new and proven technology that is being carried out in other cities, such as Sudbury and Kingston.
In response to a question from city councillor Joe Campbell, as to whether the resin for new pipe lining material was safe for drinking water, Duval said it was because it was specified through OPS (Ontario Provincial Standards) and the NSF, American public health and safety standards. Campbell wanted to know that in previous installations whether any biological testing had been done to ensure the safety.
“There is no doubt in my mind, I can say 100 %,” said Duval, adding that NSF has the strictest safety standards in the world, and the pipe lining material has met that standard.
“You would not get that designation if this product had any slight chance of creating any kind of contamination, any kind, for drinking water,” Duval said.