Crews with large trucks, some equipped with steaming hot water boilers, are going to continue to be a familiar sight in Gulfport at least through the end of November as part of the city’s multi-year plan to repair the sewer system.
On Monday, August 13, contractors from Miller Pipeline Corporation in Lakeland and sub-contractors from Seminole Septic had more than a handful of trucks spread along a sewer line route that extended three full blocks from the corner of southbound Beach Boulevard along 25th Avenue South to 53rd Street South. The western part of the area was one block north of the Catherin A. Hickman Theater and to the east, trucks were located on the south side of the City Hall and Gulfport Police building, 2401 53rd Street South.
Basically, workers follow a three-step liner installation process.
Once a section of buried sewer line in need of repair is identified from one manhole to another, a special felt-like flexible lining sleeve embedded with resin is fed through the existing pipe.
Next, a truck equipped with a boiler heats water so it can be poured down into the liner tube to activate the resin. During this step, white steam rises from the truck and can easily be mistaken for smoke, said City Manager Jim O’Reilly.
When the resin hardens, the liner becomes the new durable pipe, said Public Works Director Tom Nicholls.
Finally, the liner is cut at a point near the bottom of the manhole.
Monday’s project was 400 feet long, said an on-site contractor.
During installation, the part of the sewer line being repaired is blocked off and pumped dry. But, the sewer system continues to function because on either side of the work area, pump-out septic trucks collect then redistribute the water back into the non-blocked pipes.
It can take anywhere from 90 minutes to upwards of five hours to install a liner depending on the length and condition of the existing sewer pipe, said the contractor. Some pipes need to be cleaned before installation.
This is all part of a multi-year construction program that will first repair then maintain the municipal sewer system, said Nicholls.
In July 2016, the city’s Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey (SSES) was completed and it included prioritized recommendations for specific repairs and rehabilitation of the defects that were found, according to a city of Gulfport memorandum dated November 21, 2017.
On May 15, 2017, a 12-page document detailing the city’s sewer system and plans for repairs was delivered to the city. See thegabber.com/wp-content/uploads/Gulfport-SSES-Ph-I-Construction-Plans-signed.pdf.
During the survey, closed-circuit television cameras and smoke were used to evaluate the system, said Nicholls.
“We will probably be doing some more smoke testing,” he said.
At the end of 2018, “there will be a revised sanitary sewer evaluation report that comes out of this repair work. It will say what our next steps will need to be,” said Nicholls.
Maintaining the system will be ongoing, he said. Some sections of pipe can be repaired with liners while other others need complete replacement at certain points.
In the beginning of 2019, the city will establish “an annual cleaning and maintenance program,” said Nicholls. “Every part of the sewer system will be cleaned and inspected at least every 10 years and that will keep us on top of repairs and maintenance.”