Water and wastewater systems are made up of highly valuable assets, which can deteriorate over time. As they age, the assets can lose value, the level of service they provide may be compromised, and operations and maintenance costs can increase. Having a proactive asset management system in place is an important part of mitigating these problems.
Asset management helps utilities and water authorities make decisions on how to best manage aging assets to ensure their value is protected and that finances are available to maintain and rehabilitate them when necessary.
The aim of asset management is to be proactive and take a long-term view to protecting assets.
One of the main threats to the longevity and integrity of water and wastewater assets is corrosion.
Therefore, an important part of asset management for these systems is having a risk-based inspection plan for corrosion. Rehabilitation, rather than rebuilding, is better for the asset owner, better for the community, and better for the environment.
If possible, measures to prevent corrosion should be implemented before the affects can be seen as by the time corrosion is visible it is already well advanced and requires attention. If it’s not able to be remedied immediately, corrosion should be noted and appropriate steps taken as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading and further compromising the structure.
Rehabilitation with epoxy liners
There are a variety of materials and technologies available for rehabilitating existing structures, including epoxy liners, calcium aluminate cement (CAC) mortars, and HDPE liners.
Epoxy liners, in particular, are well suited for the rehabilitation of these structures as they halt corrosion in its tracks, prevent further deterioration, and are fast-drying.
Some of the key benefits of epoxies include:
- Chemical resistance: epoxy liners have superior acid resistance making them ideal for use in wastewater environments where acid attack is a problem
- Long-lasting: epoxy liners are durable and long-lasting, and will experience minimal erosion for years and even decades
- Low friction: as epoxy liners have a smooth finish any matter moving through the system won’t stick to it, helping to prevent blockages
- Reduced thickness: compared to other liners which have a thickness of up to 30mm+, epoxy liners can be applied as thinly as 2-3mm reducing the loss of internal diameter
According to Colin Murphy, product manager for Hychem, utilities and water authorities have begun to notice the benefits of epoxy coatings.
“We have worked with a number of utilities to rehabilitate water and wastewater infrastructure who have been very impressed with the performance of Hychem’s TL5 epoxy coating in their systems over the long-term,” Mr Murphy said.
“TL5 can be applied directly on new and damaged concrete in sewers and other wastewater assets with a coverage in excess of 6mm in one application.
“The product also has an attractive price point, holds up well to the water and sewer environments, and can last the distance. We have clients who have reported minimal change to the TL5 lining they had installed 15 to 20 years ago.”
Asset management: a consideration for all infrastructure
Construction resins also play a role in asset management plans for other concrete infrastructure that is at risk of corroding and deteriorating from the conditions that it is exposed to such as heavy traffic, harsh chemicals and weather conditions.
Hychem technical consultant Chris Bauer said there are a number of options available to rehabilitate and protect concrete infrastructure depending on the specific needs of the client.
“Hychem offers a range of resins for a variety of infrastructure applications such as airport hangars, bridges, roads and car parks, as well as flooring application like commercial kitchens,” Mr Bauer said.
“For example, Hychem’s Polyac BDM – PMMA trafficable membrane system is ideal for protecting and rehabilitating roads and bridges. For car parks Hychem 100W can be used as it is extremely hard-wearing against heavy traffic.”