Partnership aims to develop manhole corrosion protection protocol

A University of Texas at Arlington team will inspect 350 concrete manhole shafts for corrosion in the City of Arlington and develop a method to prioritize which manholes need protection from corrosion the most.

Melanie Sattler, a UTA associate professor of civil engineering, is leading a UTA team that will evaluate condition of some Arlington manholes.
The Arlington City Council approved the three-year, $474,723 project that will measure the hydrogen sulfide and multiple other parameters that influence manhole corrosion. Each manhole is four to five feet in diameter and in Arlington can range from four to 45 feet tall.

Corrosion of manhole shafts can threaten the structure integrity of sanitary sewer mains and can allow rain and other runoff from the surface to enter the wastewater system.
“The new study will give Arlington water engineers and other cities across the country the data they need to protect vital infrastructure and spend funds wisely,” said Buzz Pishkur, Arlington’s Water Utilities Director. “UTA is a renowned center for the study of pipe technology and evaluation of alternate pipeline materials to meet the needs of cities. We are fortunate to have a center of research in our city and value the partnership on this and other key infrastructure efforts.”
Arlington has more than 19,000 manholes citywide. The UTA project will inspect different categories, types and geographic locations of Arlington manholes.
Although the study will prioritize corrosion protection of the 350 manholes, the more important aspect of the project is to use the data from the 350 to develop a system so the city can prioritize the rest of the manholes.
“It makes sense for Arlington to develop a system for prioritizing protection of its manholes,” Sattler said. “Manholes can corrode because of the creation of hydrogen sulfide gas. Some readings can be really, really high. We will determine which manholes need a protective coating to protect them from corrosion. To coat all of them would not be feasible.”
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