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 Ted Jackson / The Times-Picayune archive A crew works on fixing underground pipes in New Orleans. The number of new leaks in the city’s water pipes has tripled since Hurricane Katrina, a figure city officials blame on the flood caused by the failure of the federal levees.
 HJ3’s CarbonSeal Repair System Used to Repair a Potable Water Pipe

Stormwater Systems Crumbling Due to Failing Infrastructure

The Stormwater system in Columbia, Missouri is failing according to Public Works Director John Glascock. “The problems we have right now — it’s not about the runoff, it’s not about other things,” he said. “It’s about we have failing infrastructure.” This scenario is similar throughout the country. Water pipes that were built decades ago are in desperate need of repairs, but many utility companies have had to keep rates low in order to keep their customers happy. So there is no additional money for large-scale maintenance.

In Columbia, at least 45,000 feet of pipe is at least 40 years old. Basically, at the end of its intended lifespan. When pipes start to corrode and leak, a number of things can happen. Earlier this year for instance, a piece of a busy street in Columbia collapsed into a sinkhole that was created by storm water eroding the soil under the road. This water was able to leak through the corroded pipes and cause the erosion. When steel pipes corrode and rust, they lose their integrity and anything around them that they are supporting, such as concrete, can collapse.

In addition, a leaking pipe means that the water is not reaching its intended destination. When it’s drinking water that is in transport, that means valuable drinking water is being lost. In places like New Orleans, they are losing up to 50{f00316eaeff19fc4d3daa6454136ee4db9a0ad1868aa2a79e58a2db09827821d} of their drinking water due to leaks in their water system. It’s just unacceptable.

To address the maintenance needs, some cities are questioning whether to increase rates for both residential and commercial users. In Columbia, the city council rejected adding this issue to the August ballot. They feared it might be a hard sell for residents living in newer parts of the city to agree to pay more for a problem that is greater for central-city residents. Instead, alternate methods to raise revenue to replace the system could include a sales tax. In Portland, OR however, sewer and storm rates increased by around 6{f00316eaeff19fc4d3daa6454136ee4db9a0ad1868aa2a79e58a2db09827821d} beginning July 1st.

Once funds are established, how are cities planning on repairing these outdated systems? Has carbon fiber been considered as a long-term repair solution? Now, with the recent flooding of the Mississippi River earlier this year, the water systems in many states could be in even worse shape, and need immediate repair.

HJ3 Composite Technologies has an extensive history assisting in the repairs of wastewater and potable water pipes and facilities with its CarbonSeal™ repair systems. Over a decade ago, HJ3’s products were approved by Underwater Laboratories per the standards of ANSI/National Science Foundation (NSF-61) for use in repairing potable water systems.

Let us know any comments or the status of the water systems in your city. We’d love to hear what you have to say. And for more information on HJ3’s carbon fiber solutions, contact us at info@hj3.com or at 1-877-303-0453.