By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — A major repair has been made to the infrastructure of Peterson AFB and, for most users of the base, it went unnoticed.
Nearly half a mile of sewer line under the flight line was rehabilitated at the end of February. The project, which could have taken months, was completed in just a couple weeks thanks to a plastic coated liner.
Rabold Construction is contracted through Tierra Vista Housing to keep up much of the base infrastructure. Insituform, an international pipeline rehabilitation company, was sub-contracted for the project. The company pioneered cured-in-place pipe technology, which allows for sewer lines to be repaired without excavating the line saving money, time and resources.
“It’s very easy, and it definitely beats having to dig it up and replace it,” said Mike Gallegous, Insituform supervisor.
According to Gallegous, the sewer line rests deep in the ground beneath two feet of concrete. Excavating the line would have taken months to complete and would have interrupted operations on several airport taxiways and runways.
Before the rehabilitation, the line was still functioning. “This section is the outcall for the entire base, which goes to a treatment plant that’s owned by Colorado Springs Utilities,” said Mike Kelly, Rabold Construction project manager.
However, concern about cracks and possible leakage from the line led to the installation of the liner.
Before Insituform could begin installing the liner, the 2,000 feet of pipe had to be blocked off and cleaned out, a process that took about a week. After the debris was removed from the line, Insituform moved in to install the lining.
The lining was installed in four segments, each segment taking one day. “What we do is we plug the line to divert the sewer around the section we’re working on,” Gallegous said. “Then we’ll install a plastic coated liner and it’s impregnated with a polyester resin. That goes down into the old pipe.”
The lining goes into the sewer through an ice bath to ensure that the resin doesn’t harden before the lining is in place, Gallegous said. “It goes through a shooter and then it’s inverted, so it turns itself inside out as it’s going down. Air pressure pushes it through the line.”
Once the lining is in the pipe, steam is sent through to activate the chemicals and harden the lining into place.
The sewer line was functional again immediately after the lining was installed, resulting in no service interruptions. “It really is a great way to do things,” Gallegous said.