The Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) announced two pilot programs that will use alternative pipe replacement technologies in response to community concerns around the impact excavation has on trees during water construction and repairs.

The pilots will investigate using pipe lining technologies to rehabilitate water mains and private drains instead of open trench replacement.

Since 2012, the Chicago DWM has replaced 716 miles of water main, 167 miles of sewer mains and lined 403 miles of sewer main. Source: Allen McGregor / CC BY 2.0Since 2012, the Chicago DWM has replaced 716 miles of water main, 167 miles of sewer mains and lined 403 miles of sewer main. Source: Allen McGregor / CC BY 2.0The first pilot will use cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) to rehabilitate water mains. The Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) has used CIPP in recent years to extend the useful life of sewer mains.

According to the city, in the CIPP process, a resin-soaked textile liner tube is pulled through an existing pipe and allowed to harden. As the resin cures, it forms a tight-fitting, jointless and corrosion-resistant replacement pipe. The liner can be inserted using water or air pressure and requires digging access points only for entry and end points.

The second pilot study will assess private drain rehabilitation using various pipe lining materials. Private drains are the pipes that move wastewater from a residence to the sewer main in the street.

Independent consultants will conduct the pilots, analyze the results and make recommendations about using the tested technologies moving forward. Both pilots will be conducted in compliance with the Chicago Plumbing Code and state regulations for water infrastructure construction. Results are expected to be available by the end of 2020.

Since 2012, the Chicago DWM has replaced 716 miles of water main, 167 miles of sewer mains and lined 403 miles of sewer main.