Florida Construction News staff writer
The City of Tampa is strengthening wastewater infrastructure with a large-scale project to inspect, clean and rehabilitate wastewater pipes.
Crews are using a technique called pipe lining, restoring pipes from corrosion, leaks, or cracks caused by roots by inserting a liner soaked with resin inside the old pipe. Pipe lining is cost-effective and less disruptive in comparison to replacing the entire pipe or sections of pipe.
This project, currently underway by Kiewit Infrastructure South Co., includes 25 miles of pipe lining and rehabilitation.
Crews are also using a trenchless method of sewer rehabilitation that requires little or no digging and significantly less time to complete than the traditional method of excavating streets.
“Not only does pipe lining increase the life span of a piping system, but it improves water flow and quality, reduces water and wastewater infrastructure breaks and backups, and causes little to no destruction to the property,” said Eric Weiss, director of wastewater.
Some of the pipes that are being relined in are almost 100 years old and reaching the end of their service life. More than 60 percent of existing wastewater gravity pipes were constructed prior to 1970 and 20 percent were installed in 1950.
Reinforcing and building up the infrastructure through water, wastewater, and transportation projects is included in Mayor Jane Castor’s Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow Plan. This project is a part of PIPES (Progressive Infrastructure Planning to Ensure Sustainability).
“Pipe lining will ensure these wastewater lines are reliable for decades to come,” Castor said. “We are also planning to expand into Forest Hills and Palma Ceia soon, further protecting those neighborhoods from cave-ins and wastewater pipe failures.”
As a result of the aging wastewater collection system, there have been more cave-ins and wastewater overflows recently. In the City of Tampa, wastewater cave-ins have increased more than 25 percent in the past two years, according to the City of Tampa Wastewater Department.
In September 2019, Tampa City Council approved the PIPES program which included funding the essential repair of these wastewater pipelines.
Over the last three years, the City of Tampa has awarded more than 100 miles of wastewater gravity rehabilitation projects for a total construction cost of $61 million.