Case Study: Pipe plugging heads aid repair of urban MD sewage main, preventing service interruptions

A U.S. supplier of concrete and steel pipe systems was faced with repairing an aging sewage line in Baltimore, Md. The company called on global pipeline service provider T.D. Williamson for help by tapping and line isolation to allow sewage services to carry on uninterrupted.

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NEW CASTLE, DE, Dec. 5, 2014 -- Pipelines are the veins and arteries of a city. A blockage or breakdown can paralyze a neighborhood, bringing chaos to everyday life. For that reason, when repairs are carried out on sewage or water lines, they need to be done quickly and in a way that minimizes disruption to local services.

The necessity for fast and efficient repairs was demonstrated in the early summer of 2014, when a U.S. supplier of concrete and steel pipe systems was faced with the task of repairing an aging sewage line in Baltimore, Md. The company called on global pipeline service provider T.D. Williamson (TDW) for help by way of tapping and line isolation to allow sewage services to carry on uninterrupted.

The pipe system supplier was faced with the challenge of significantly refurbishing an aging 54-inch sewage main. The response in such a situation might have been to replace the line in its entirety, since refurbishment would require complete isolation. Replacement, however, would have meant a very long and costly operation, not to mention significant disruption to the urban neighborhood through which the main passes.

The pipe system supplier proposed instead that the main be tapped and sewage diverted so that repairs could be carried out on the line while it was isolated. Since this option offered minimal disruption and the quickest repair time, the Baltimore municipal authorities found it very attractive.

The pipe system supplier planned to install a tandem 54-inch line stop on the sewage force main and a 42-inch bypass tap. To ensure that the existing sewage main continued to operate during the operation, a section of the pipeline was isolated and then encased in concrete so that it could properly support the equipment necessary for the tap and bypass.

TDW inserted folding STOPPLE® plugging heads into the line to stop the flow. A manifold constructed of three 24-inch lines was then connected, allowing the sewage to be diverted to another treatment plant using the bypass tap. Sewage flowed without interruption while this operation was carried out and throughout the entire refurbishment of the line.

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TDW inserted folding STOPPLE plugging heads into the line to stop the flow. A manifold constructed of three 24-inch lines was then connected, allowing the sewage to be diverted to another treatment plant using the bypass tap.


The Baltimore municipal authorities wanted to be able to preserve the existing line, yet repair it without causing chaos in the neighborhood. The pipe system supplier was able to satisfy those requirements because its long experience of working with TDW gave them the confidence that they would deliver the technology and expertise needed to carry out the tapping and plugging phase of the operation.

TDW Project Manager Donnie Cecil felt that the operation was symptomatic of a well-established partnership with this valued customer. "Our customer needed a dependable solution with minimal impact on the city's services. We were pleased to be able to fulfill that requirement to their satisfaction."

See also:

"MD counties to undergo major six-year water, wastewater design project"

"Baltimore to implement new acoustic pipe condition assessment technology"


About T.D. Williamson

Global pipeline service provider T.D. Williamson delivers a comprehensive portfolio of safe integrity pipeline system solutions for onshore and offshore applications, including hot tapping and plugging, pipeline cleaning, integrity inspection, pigging and non-tethered plugging technology for pressurized piping systems. For more information, visit www.tdwilliamson.com.

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