Pipeline Restoration is the First Choice for Customers of Savy & Sons

Connecticut contractor Savy & Sons is dedicated to rehabilitating failing New England infrastructure

Pipeline Restoration is the First Choice for Customers of Savy & Sons

 Ryan Spalla operates a Perma-Liner inversion unit on a residential lateral CIPP lining job. 

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It’s not easy to pigeonhole the work of Savy & Sons.

“We are a full-service contractor,” says Victoria Kebalo, the company’s marketing manager.

The current services provided by the privately owned company headquartered in Amston, Connecticut, are all predicated on fixing old infrastructure rather than building new. The company website spells it out: “Our approach is to repair and rehabilitate — as an alternative to replacement — for a more efficient use of limited resources.”

Fifty years ago, the company began as a masonry outfit. Ralph Savy Sr. was a mason and mostly built underground structures like utility junction boxes and repaired historic brick or rock structures. For 37 years, the identity of the company was uncomplicated by any advertising of multiple services.

When the founder’s son died in 2007, his grandsons continued the masonry focus. However, they also began to build out the waterproofing service the company founder had just begun to dabble in. “We saw a gap,” says Travis Savy, company owner and Ralph’s grandson. “We saw an opportunity in the market that we wanted to expand into and be the best.”

That subtle redirection of the company was the beginning of several diversity initiatives that have grown the business into a full-service waterproofing and infrastructure restoration company. Under that umbrella, Savy & Sons provides waterproofing solutions, water and wastewater infrastructure rehabilitation, epoxy coatings and linings, infrastructure restoration, pipe lining services and media blasting.

Aging infrastructure

A 2018 CNBC analysis of infrastructure across the U.S. concluded that four New England states — Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut — were in the worst shape. Connecticut’s estimated water system needs totaled $4 billion and three-quarters of its roadways were deemed in poor or mediocre condition.

So Savy & Sons has no lack of restoration opportunities across New England. One such job the company took on last year was the repair of a culvert under a busy road in a Connecticut town. Two corrugated steel pipes — a 42-inch horseshoe-shaped pipe and a round one about one-third that diameter — were rusting away and the concrete entranceways to the pipes were deteriorating.

The choice was to dig up the road and install new culvert pipes or rehab the existing ones. The town opted to restore rather than replace. After the stream flowing through the pipes was diverted, the pipes were jetted and descaled. GI Industries drain machines and Picote milling cable machines are the tools Savy & Sons calls on to restore pipe interiors. For jetting, Savy employs a remote-controlled Brute portable jetter from Jetters Northwest that provides 12 gpm at 4,000 psi.

In the larger pipe, a Perma-Liner cured-in-place sleeve was inserted. In the smaller, round pipe, Epoxytec CPP Sprayliner was applied. The deteriorating headwalls were repaired and a 125-mil layer of Epoxytec applied to strengthen and seal the masonry. In three days, the project was complete without traffic interruption and with a Savy warranty assuring that the restored culvert was good to go for another decade.

Another opportunity for the company this year came high above ground: In a Hopewell, New York, camp that dates from 1927 stood an elevated wooden water tank that supplied potable water to campers and staff. The leaking historic structure seemed on its last legs. Replacing it meant an expenditure of $500,000 or so. Savy & Sons bid to restore the old tank at considerably less cost.

The tank was hydroblasted and Epoxytec CPP paste was applied by hand to particularly deteriorated areas that needed additional bonding. Savy technicians then coated the interior of the tank with Epoxytec Sprayliner 61, a product formulated for just such applications. Happy campers applauded the restoration.

Passion project

“We truly and passionately love what we do in helping people solve their problems,” Savy says. The company coats interiors using a custom-built spray rig from Houston-based Spray-Quip Inc. connected to a Graco dual-piston pump that simultaneously accommodates two spray guns.

Another successful restoration project by Savy & Sons occurred in 2018 when a Greenwich, Connecticut, country club golfing range determined that a septic tank on the edge of a putting green was crumbling. Removing the tank and building or dropping in another septic container seemed the likely thing to do.

The 1,500-cubic-foot underground concrete structure was given a high-pressure blasting. For surface cleaning, Savy rolls out a 900 cfm Sullivan air compressor attached to a dual-gun Graco Ecoquip wet media blaster. Especially damaged areas were repaired with mortar and techs applied two half-inch coats of a CLADLINER product especially formulated to resist acidic and hydrogen sulfide corruption of concrete.

So, after three days of work, without the greens and fairways of Burning Tree Country Club being marred by mounded earth and crumpled concrete debris and septic smells wafting from flag to flag, golfers saw virtually no evidence that the overhaul of a major piece of infrastructure had occurred. The cost to replace the aging structure was estimated to be three times what Burning Tree management ended up paying.

A natural progression

“A lot of our services go hand in hand,” Kebalo says. It’s easy to see how the company evolved from masonry work to waterproofing. Media blasting is a natural precursor service to applying epoxy sealing coats. Rehabbing water and wastewater infrastructure and applying new pipe liners go hand in hand. The epoxy coating and lining service was introduced in 2017 and cured-in-place lining just rolled out in the last 18 months.

“Our plan is to 100% laser focus on our current specialty services and be the best at them in the industry,” Savy says. “We want to build a premium brand that is known for its top-quality and high-end work.”

Savy’s customer base is broad, though there is a heavy concentration of work with municipal and industrial clients. The pipe lining work increasingly is drawing the company into residential neighborhoods. “The pipe lining services have really taken off, lining laterals for residential customers,” Kebalo says.

The company footprint has grown outside Connecticut and into most of the New England states and upstate New York. The service area remains fluid with pipe lining and coating work growing outside the region. “We are going to Colorado next week,” Kebalo said in mid-September, “but you never know.”

The company mission declared on the website is, “Building the Future, Restoring the Past,” which speaks to the goal of preserving older infrastructure and returning it to its previous level of functioning. The purposeful strategy is widely appealing to clients.

“People really don’t want to dig,” Kebalo says. “It takes too much time and money and disturbs the grounds or the infrastructure. And the downtime for a wastewater plant, say, to replace a clarifier is significant. That’s why more people are going the restoration route.”

“A customer comes to Savy & Sons because at the levels we operate, we have no competition. We are the competition. Nobody does what we do the way we do it,” Savy says. “We use the latest technologies and state-of-the-art equipment along with quality materials. Our focus is providing effective, long-lasting solutions that address critical schedules, budgets and environmental considerations.”

Consequently, the company has partnered with municipal and engineering clients, general contractors, property managers and water-wastewater management companies. “They have trusted us to build value into every project,” Savy says.

The company is prepared to go to great lengths to satisfy a client. “We hold our company to unreasonable levels of customer satisfaction, safety and service. No one can compete with us in service. We will forever hold ourselves to the highest standard.” 

A positive philosophy
Savy & Sons is 50-year-old company on a mission to preserve and protect old infrastructure. Aging municipal pipelines and water tanks and sewer works are being restored to peak working condition.

Owner Travis Savy has a philosophy that guides the company’s work “We make the decision to be positive in every situation,” Savy says.

Positivity is a tenet of the business philosophy of Grant Cardone, founder of the online sales-training university of the same name. “Learn to stay positive and motivated each day,” Cardone declares on the university website. He is the author of what is called “the 10X rule,” which advocates taking extra effort to a next level.

Savy is a Cardone disciple. “You need to take massive actions — 10X — to guarantee the outcome you want. Massive action equals massive results,” he says. The proof that such input indeed multiplies outcomes can be seen in the performance of his company. From a solid but quiet masonry firm, Savy has built out his company to incorporate auxiliary services including pipe lining and coating and waterproofing.

His philosophical approach to repair and restoration work is shared by the entire 13-person staff of the company. Crew members take online Cardone classes to supplement their OSHA and confined-space certifications. Weekly team meetings are designed to enhance expertise and support one another. “We work smarter and harder together,” Savy says. “Communication and game-planning are key.”

Techs on staff are cross-trained in the company’s different services, but have gravitated into areas of expertise, says Victoria Kebalo, marketing director. “Some are epoxy guys or waterproofing guys or CIPP guys. As needed, some bounce between different jobs.”

All of them, however, enjoy the profit-sharing plan of a company intent on building its profits. The extra effort gets results.


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