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July 28, 2017
Greener Options for Storm & Sanitary Repair

Posted by: Joe Royer

The color of storm and sanitary infrastructure repair seems to be trending green these days, but just how green can it go? For those concerned with the impending carbon footprint of an infrastructure project, choosing to repair over replacement is an obvious step in the right direction, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the “green” options available.

Situations where products like Concrete Cloth™ GCCM and GeoSpray® geopolymer mortar system can be used to help lower the impact of infrastructure rehabilitation projects on the environment are grouped into three categories:  preventing environmental damages, utilizing green installation practices and producing greener products.

Preventing environmental damages

When functioning properly, infrastructure repair products in the storm and sanitary industry inherently act as a benefit to the environment. Repairing damaged systems prolongs life and ensures proper operation. Preventing unintended substances from leaching into the earth due to a damaged sewer pipe is an obvious environmental concern but can also lead to hefty government fines if not mended.

These repairs also lend themselves to potential energy savings as well. With waste water pipes, for example, a damaged pipe that allows the infiltration and inflow of foreign material and rain or ground water into sanitary pipes also means additional water that flows through the water treatment plant. Treating these unnecessarily increased volumes of water means using increased amounts energy to run the plant and treat the water. Simply repairing a damaged and inefficient system can produce major energy savings and make the entire system more efficient.  It might even prevent having to build a new plant.

Utilizing green installation

Even after a rehab project has been approved, determining the way in which the repair is performed can continue to affect the overall energy consumption of the job. For example, traditional repair methods, such as “dig-and-replace,” involve far greater amounts of equipment — especially in an urban setting.  Instead, using a trenchless repair system, such as Milliken Infrastructure’s GeoSpray mortar, removes the need to perform techniques that consume larger amounts of energy. Not needing to use cement trucks, dig up pavement, remove pipe or repave means using less material and less equipment, resulting in less CO² emissions. Reports in conjunction with the EPA have proven that in most situations a trenchless repair can be greater than 50 percent more environmentally friendly than traditional methods.

To take this even a step further, trenchless repairs in urban areas can mean less disruption to traffic —which can eliminate public relations and public perception nightmares — but also leads to less idling traffic, and therefore fewer CO² emissions.

Producing green product

Manufacturers of repair products, such as Milliken Infrastructure, wouldn’t be doing all that they could to reduce this generation’s total carbon footprint  if they weren’t also trying to continuously produce greener materials. For example, our geopolymer products, which have many inherit benefits over cement in the application process alone, are also more environmentally friendly. GeoSpray mortar is comprised of 50-60 percent industrial recycled material and uses less energy in the production process as compared to the energy intensive cement production. By using a greater amount of recycled material, we’re able to offer a cleaner and safer product to use in storm and sanitary applications that has less impact on the environment.

Additionally, Concrete Cloth GCCM — which was originally produced as a simpler, more convenient and malleable alternative to products like shotcrete — has the added environmental benefit of containing less concrete, which means its production requires less energy.

The green advantages of many of the storm and sanitary rehabilitation products manufactured today by Milliken Infrastructure are numerous, whether they are inherently included or intentionally produced. In the right circumstances these environmental benefits can be realized at a lower cost even when utilizing modern trenchless repair products over traditional methods. And while cost is important, it might be safe to say that the natural environment we live is even more important.

For more information on the Milliken Infrastructure products that can help lower your carbon footprint, visit our Storm and Sanitary markets page.

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Category: GeoSpray Geopolymer, Concrete Cloth

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