A new relining process involving a styrene-free resin suitable for drinking water applications allowed engineers to renovate an old pipe in the middle of Amsterdam with minimal upheaval. Liz Nickels spoke to resin supplier AOC Aliancys about the process and its future use.

While composites have become very common in infrastructure projects, with utility companies benefiting from the material’s long life and excellent corrosion resistance when compared to steel, they really come into their own when flexibility of installation is required.

The relining process itself is not new. Already back in 1971, Insituform Technologies, which specializes in pipe relining, manufactured and installed the first ever cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) liner in a 900 mm × 600 mm brick egg sewer located in Hackney, London. However, making use of composite with styrene free resin that has approval for contact with drinking water is a very recent innovation.

After the unexpected collapse of a drinking water pipeline in downtown Amsterdam, the capacity of the potable water supply network to the town center was significantly reduced. The pipeline collapsed along with part of the quay near the Nassaukade street in historic Amsterdam, a busy part of the city. The 600 mm diameter pipe was an important part of the city’s drinking water network, delivering water to a large number of households in the center of town. Repairing the existing pipeline was not an option. ‘The customer initially thought that a brand-new pipe would need to be installed as a permanent solution,’ said Ton van Geest, R&D manager of Insituform Europe. ‘However, they realized this involved doing major construction work in a very busy part of the town. Because of the complexity of the operation, it meant that both road and water traffic would likely be blocked for several months.’

‘The old pipe was completely damaged – but luckily there was a second part, an old steel pipe that could be relined and act as replacement,’ added Rob van de Laarschot, head of technical service at AOC Aliancys Europe. ‘Up till now the lining process has mainly been used to reline pipes for sewer applications. It has developed a great deal as a technology and is frequently used all over Europe and the US and is also starting to become more used in China. Of course, the idea of making a new pipe inside an existing pipe without having to dig up the existing pipe is very attractive.’

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