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Water Today Title March 22, 2018

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Municipal Infrastructure


By Ronan O'Doherty

The town of Gravenhurst, Ontario will be using some innovative local technology when they undergo some infrastructure upgrades this week.

Instead of digging up large swaths of road and replacing their water mains, the District Municipality of Muskoka has opted for a trenchless solution designed by Envirologics, an engineering firm based out of Bracebridge.

They're hoping the method will get the job done quickly, efficiently and with less of an environmental footprint.

"It's actually a water main rehabilitation," said Marcus Firman, Director, Water and Wastewater Operations for the municipality, "It's ageing infrastructure; if we apply these techniques we don't have to replace the water main. We can rehabilitate it and bring it back into service.

Firman said that they are excited because the project will be undertaken and returned to service within 24 hours, with people only experiencing a disruption in services for 12 of those.

"There will be a boil water advisory but it's only precautionary until we get the results from the lab saying that it's fine," he went on to say.

The project will affect about 50 homes in the town.

Its non-invasive nature should be popular among residents who don't want a construction zone outside of their house for a week or two during the prime summer months.

"We're not actually digging up the road," said Firman, "We just dig pits and go from pit to pit." They'll be applying Tomahawk technology designed by Envirologics to clean and dry the water main using abrasives in a high volume, low pressure air stream. This will prepare it for a new lining and hopefully add many decades to the water mains life.

Firman believes that the rehabilitation will add at least 50 years, with the possibility of many more. "We knew we had this project coming up and we saw it as an ideal time to use this technology," Firman said, "If it proves to be successful we'll use it on other water mains."

Brian Thorogood, the general manager for Envirologistics is pleased that they're getting to apply their methods in their own backyard.

"We're pretty excited about that for sure," he said, "We've developing the technology for six years and we have been cleaning pipe in other areas in North American but this is our first time at home."

Thorogood also mentioned that Envirologistics were just in London England and were able to exhibit their innovations.

"It was at the water utility in London and they had a full street for us to show our technology for cleaning pipes," he said, adding, "It went very well. We consider out technology best in class in cleaning pipe and we put it on display."

When asked to differentiate Enviroligistics for other similar technologies, Thorogood said that theirs has a distinct advantage.

"A lot of the technologies are old technologies from cleaning sewers. Water mains are a pressure pipe, so you really need that liner to stick to that pipe wall and the only way you get that good bond is by cleaning up that pipe well. Our technology is the only one that cleans and dries the pipe."

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