New Technology Allows Work Crews to Fix Aging Sewers Faster

ST. LOUIS HEIGHTS (KHNL) -- 2008 will be another year full of sewer work.

But that doesn't mean streets will be closed and communities under construction for months at a time.

The St. Louis Heights sewer repairs is just one of seven residental projects keeping crews busy around Oahu this month alone.

Part of the city's commitment to fix our aging sewers.

"Since '05 we've spent a billion dollars and in the next five years projecting to spend another billion and a half," said Russell Takara with the Department of Design & Construction.

Costs are so high, because these are very labor intensive projects, sometimes involving digging up buried lines and replacing them.

It will be years, at least a decade, before we see the light at the end of the tunnel. As far as major sewer repairs are concerned.

But newer technologies are allowing some repairs and the rehabilitation of lines, to have less of an impact on communities.

Here, crews are inserting a cloth liner into cracked pipes.

A resin is then pumped into the line and then cured. Which forms a new pipe inside the old one.

That new blue colored pipe is not only expected to last for another 50 years, it takes a lot less time to go in with a lot less disruption.

Using this new technology crews can do in one day what used to take them over a month.

"Without this trenchless technology what you'd be doing is taking up sidewalk and road and pole to get to next sewer manhole."

This new technology can't be used in all repairs or on damaged sewer pipes, so there will be projects that will tear up the streets and cause slowdowns on roads and neigborhoods in the years to come.

Why such a need for repairs?

The city says most sewer pipes will last up to 50 years but many will develop cracks because of tree roots, ground sloping, or even heavy construction.

And many of the lines in older neighborhoods have been in the ground long enough that they need to be replaced.