Laterals in downtown Catalina Island relined using CIPP technology

[Case Study, July 2009] -- Avalon, California (on Catalina Island) has made a major commitment to keep the Avalon Harbor and Bay clean for residents of and visitors to Catalina Island...

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• City of Avalon is committed to keeping its' Bay clean through solutions that protect the environment

Pennwell web 300 225[Case Study, July 2009] -- Avalon, California (on Catalina Island) has made a major commitment to keep the Avalon Harbor and Bay clean for residents of and visitors to Catalina Island. A popular tourist destination that greets more than 800,000 visitors each year for boating, swimming and other recreational activities, the City of Avalon is required by California State Assembly Bill 411 to test water quality on a weekly basis, every year, from April 1 through October 31. After mandatory ocean water quality testing results proved that Avalon Bay was, indeed, polluted and unhealthy to human standards, the City had to determine the underlying cause of the problem and identify ways to correct it.

On Catalina Island, in an effort to preserve fresh water, all wastewater in homes is flushed into the sewer laterals and City mainlines using saltwater. After a video inspection of residential sewer laterals, it was discovered that the use of saltwater for wastewater purposes also has its drawbacks, including corrosion of the laterals. The inspection further revealed that a majority of the laterals were broken or cracked, causing wastewater from the homes in Avalon to enter the groundwater system. "We made the decision to repair virtually every lateral," said Keith Lefevre, Capital Improvements Director, City of Avalon. "In an attempt to not pick and choose and have one fail, we went down entire streets and did the entire Flats area of Avalon which is located directly in front of Avalon Harbor. It was a hard decision to proceed with this project. The State cut off funding, but the City made the decision to move forward. Keeping the Bay clean is important to the City, and we have been working hard for a number of years to accomplish this."

The project, originally titled the "Avalon Bay Water Quality Project," was initially funded by the Clean Beaches Initiative Grant. When funds were frozen due to the State of California economic crisis, the City of Avalon Council voted to allocate additional funds to complete the project.

Pennwell web 300 225As a popular destination, the trick was to correct the problem without dissuading tourists and negatively impacting the City of Avalon residents. Tourism represents Avalon's main source of revenue, and the Island is a popular year-round destination. There is typically a constant flow of electric carts, cars and buses, so disruption to city streets could mean a negative economic impact on the City. The solution: Roto-Rooter Service & Plumbing Company, working on behalf of United Water Services (a utility owner and contract services owner employed by the City of Avalon) repaired nearly all of the laterals in Avalon using the MaxLiner® System which utilizes cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology, an alternative to traditional lateral repair and replacement.

"CIPP was the chosen method because it is less disruptive to the community," said Mike Jones, Project Manager, United Water. "There is no trenching in the streets, [and] there is less traffic diversion as the process uses a smaller footprint, meaning less problems with disruption of other utilities."

Pennwell web 300 225This minimization of disruption to streets, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and yards makes CIPP the most popular, "trenchless" alternative to dig-and-replace solutions for relining sewer pipes. The process rehabilitates aging or damaged pipelines by constructing a new liner inside the existing host pipe. Liner construction starts with a special felt tube of predetermined dimensions and length. The felt is impregnated with resin, and then inserted through small 3' x 3' access holes, designed to eliminate the need for excavation. Water column pressure moves the resin-impregnated tube forward and inverts it along the walls of the host pipe. When the entire length of tube has been inverted, the pipe is cured. While avoiding excavation, the result is a new, high-performing pipe within an existing pipe.

An additional environmental benefit of the MaxLiner system is the use of 100% solids epoxy-based resin. Epoxy resins do not contain styrene or other harmful VOCs. "Prior to this project, the Island [of Catalina] had used styrene to repair one section of the island, but the residents complained about the smell and other issues. So this time, with MaxLiner's epoxy-based resin, these types of resident complaints were avoided," said Chuck Berry, Regional Manager, Roto-Rooter Service & Plumbing Company.

Pennwell web 300 225In addition to these non-toxic, odorless characteristics, MaxLiner's epoxy-based resin has a high level of performance reliability including: Low-shrinkage, which results in a high degree of accuracy in meeting dimensional specifications; Filler-free resins which exhibit excellent wet-out characteristics and achieve specified strengths consistently; Water-tolerant epoxies that adhere to wet pipe; Modified cold hardener epoxy which provides options for continued cure when huge amounts of ground water are generated, (such as is the case on Catalina Island) or when bad weather prevents initial cure completion; And the excellent chemical resistance which delivers long-term performance in aggressive wastewater environments.

"Every other day, cruise boats bring in 2,000 or 2,500 people to walk around the island, so closing down the streets was not an option. We had to go in from the sidewalk side and shoot in our lines so that we would not disrupt any street traffic," continued Berry. Pennwell web 300 225As each lateral repair was completed in Avalon, the access holes were filled in, cleanout restored, and streets in front of each home were back to normal within approximately 24 hours. At the conclusion of the $1 Million project, which lasted six months, Roto-Rooter had relined more than 350 sewer laterals for the City of Avalon, representing nearly every home that connects to a mainline. The entire project was completed in April, 2009, in time to greet the estimated 15,000 tourists who visit Catalina Island each day during the summer months.

To learn more about MaxLiner, visit

July 2009


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