The Evolution of Trenchless

Early adopters have laid the groundwork for the golden age of trenchless rehabilitation.

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I joined the Cleaner team five years ago. When I first started, I immersed myself in everything sewer and drain related and tried to soak up every bit of knowledge and information I could. I’ve always been intrigued by how things are made, built and fixed, and there was so much to learn.

I wasn’t familiar with trenchless pipe rehabilitation. I didn’t know the difference between steam and ambient curing of CIPP liners. I’d never heard of sliplining, and like most of the ignorant masses, pipe bursting conjured images of waterlines rupturing beneath frozen streets.

Understanding the nuances of these rehabilitation techniques took time. I didn’t spend 30 years in the industry digging and replacing pipes, or even reading and writing about dig-and-replace jobs. I didn’t witness the evolution. To an industry newcomer learning about CIPP and pipe bursting at the same time as traditional techniques, convincing me of their merits was easy. Convincing your customers can be a little more difficult, but it’s getting easier, and opportunities are growing exponentially.

Last month we featured Murphy Pipeline Contractors of Jacksonville, Florida. Owner Andy Mayer came to the United States from England in the late 1990s and immediately noticed the opportunity to build a specialized company around trenchless services. His gamble paid off, but it took an emphasis on educating potential customers on the advantages of the company’s trenchless services.

California-based Pipe Tech USA, featured in this month’s issue of Cleaner, was another early adopter of trenchless technology. Owner Tom Richards bought his first CIPP system right around the same time Murphy Pipeline went into business. He was successful with it, but he still ran into issues: The period of time it took the lining to cure sometimes hindered clients’ operations, or access to the pipe was so difficult that lining wasn’t even feasible.

Devising a solution to those problems led him to the idea of spray-coating the interior of the pipe, and he decided to develop the equipment himself. Today, the spray-coating system is the driving force behind his business.

Around the same time that Murphy and Pipe Tech entered the trenchless market, a young businesswoman in St. Petersburg, Florida, was making the decision to add CIPP to her company’s service menu. After five years of seeing mainline sectional lining jobs, Joyce T. Velitschkowski believed she understood the process well enough to begin offering the service.

Today, JTV Inc. runs two mainline CIPP crews that each bill $3.5 million annually, and is about to launch a third, focused on lateral lining. Velitschkowski thinks we’re entering the trenchless rehabilitation industry’s golden age, and her quarter century in the business gives her realistic perspective.

Estimates for the cost of bringing U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure up to par continue to rise. Billions and billions of dollars will be spent, and the companies with the tools, technology and trenchless know-how in place will have tremendous opportunities for growth and success. Are you prepared?

I hope these trenchless rehabilitation stories provide some insight and perspective, and I hope they help you reach new levels of success.

Enjoy this month’s issue.


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