Outdoor Services Crew

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mainline Break at Math Building

We had a mainline break west of the Math building, these large mainlines can pose a major challenge since everything has to go back together as soon as possible because the large mainlines are part of our looped irrigation system. When a loop mainline is down very large portions of campus landscape are without water so it is important to make the repair as quickly as possible.

A constant challenge with all irrigation pipe is soil shifting. As mother nature moves things around the soil puts pressure on the PVC pipe and will cause failures. This is true with all underground pipe including domestic water lines, gas lines, storm and sewer pipe. At the time of failure the pipes releases the tension from the ground in the form of lateral or vertical movement. This movement is the single most challenging part of getting the line back together irrigation innovation has been slower at creating new repair methods to account for the deflection. Recently a coupler has been modified from the domestic waterline industry to work with PVC pipe. This technology has been used for years to protect building piping from bursting during earthquakes and other natural phenomenon.

This mainline break was a classic example of shifting earth causing a severe deflection and making it impossible to repair the pipe without digging back along the pipe for many feet to re-align the pipe. This takes precious time and creates a large repair area. We purchased this new piece of equipment and it worked perfectly at picking up the deflection. The seal was perfect and we have been running for a while now with no signs of problems from the repair.