Lining 1.8km burst wastewater sludge pipelines and protecting the environment during a global pandemic
In the middle of a Wellington summer, two pipelines that take wastewater sludge from Moa Point Treatment Plant to a Council landfill failed.
Priority was to minimise the risk of harm to people and the environment. We worked on an urgent fix to avoid sludge entering the Cook Strait. The interim measure of using trucks to carry the more than one million litres of sludge daily was the biggest ongoing cost at $100,000 a day.
It was imperative to get at least one of the pipelines operational. Our team worked around the clock to get the sludge trucks off the road and make sure no wastewater or sludge was discharged to the environment.
The repair posed a technical challenge—the bursts occurred deep beneath Mt Albert in a live wastewater tunnel and it wasn’t practical to excavate the pipes. The safest option and the one most likely to be successful was to use specialised liners made from a circular polyester weave extruded with thermoplastic polyethylene that didn’t require curing in place. The liners and installation team had to fly from Germany to New Zealand during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Within four short months we handed the first pipeline over to the operator and the sludge trucks could be taken off the road.
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