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Wins expected for community with new spray lining innovation

Lengthy traffic disruptions and road works due to water main renewals may become a thing of the past as Yarra Valley Water undertakes trials of a new trenchless water main renewal technology.

6 June 2015

If the trial is successful, Yarra Valley Water will become the first Australian water utility to introduce the innovative water main spray lining technology. Water mains are periodically replaced or repaired as part of Yarra Valley Water’s ongoing infrastructure renewal program. Traditional techniques for water main replacement can include extracting and replacing the entire pipe, or by using a technique known as ‘pipe bursting’, where a new pipe is pulled through behind an expander head which breaks the existing pipe to make room for the new pipe. 

Used successfully across America and the UK, the new spray lining technology works by applying a quick-curing polyurea solution to the inside of the pipe. The coating is applied using a rotating applicator that moves up and down the pipe, effectively building a new pipe inside of the old one. A safe and effective solution, the spray lining technique will reduce the cost and disruption to both the local community and the environment when renewing water mains. 

Pat McCafferty, Managing Director, Yarra Valley Water said the new water main spray lining product would undergo rigorous testing before being introduced on a larger scale, has the potential to revolutionise the way that Yarra Valley Water carries out its water main renewals. 

“We provide water and sewerage services that are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of around 1.7 million residents and we’re committed to delivering quality services at the lowest possible cost to our customers. For this reason we are constantly on the lookout for ways to innovate and improve the way we do things” Mr McCafferty said. 

Next month, the final stage of the trial will commence as a stretch of pipe is scheduled for renewal in Clayton Road, Oakleigh. 

As it’s a busy road, this would typically involve substantial traffic management to keep local traffic disruptions to a minimum during works and require significant road reinstatement. The new technology will minimise both of these activities, reducing the overall cost of works as well as minimising the negative impacts on local traffic and residents.

“The overall renewal process is much quicker, as the design and approval process is simpler and minimal excavation is needed prior to applying the product. This means we can reduce the inconvenience to our customers by minimising the need to dig up entire roads where we can use this technique. 

“Customers will also experience reduced disruption to water services, as the pipes can be used around two hours after the lining has been applied. This will speed up the time it takes to return the pipes to service, reducing the inconvenience to residents, traffic and local businesses,” said Mr McCafferty. 

The coating is stated to increase the life of pipes by at least 50 years. Depending on the success of the trial, spray lining may be used to supplement Yarra Valley Water’s existing water main renewal techniques. The trial is being conducted in partnership with Abergeldie Watertech, the only licensed installer in the country of the lining product, which is owned by 3M.