Strip Mall Job Tests Contractor's Pipe Rehab Capabilities

Strip Mall Job Tests Contractor's Pipe Rehab Capabilities

Mark Ellefson

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It seems like every contractor who does trenchless pipe rehab has a favorite story about an unusually tough job — one that really stands out because it challenged his or her skills and capabilities.

For Mark Ellefson, the owner of Prodigy Plumbing in Long Beach, California, the job that immediately comes to mind was a pipe lining project the company performed about two years ago.

A 10-store strip mall in Anaheim had a deteriorating 300-foot-long sanitary sewer line that ran under the stores’ concrete-slab floors. To make the job even more complicated, there were about two dozen tie-ins for sinks, toilets and the like — and no clean-outs for easier access, Ellefson says.

“The owner didn’t want to excavate to replace the entire lateral because that would have been a nightmare,” he explains. “And the sewer line was one of the worst I’ve ever seen, with rotted bottoms and massive cracks and corrosion, not to mention all the reinstatements that would be needed at the tie-ins.

“The owner kept calling other companies, but no one was interested; they wouldn’t even provide a price. But we love a good challenge, so we decided to figure out how to line this really bad, 4-inch-diameter cast iron pipe.”

A camera inspection revealed that two sections of the pipe were so rotted out that pipe lining wasn’t even an option. So the Prodigy crew had to bust open two holes — one in each of two stores — to manually replace two sections of pipe.

Technicians then used those two holes as access points to shoot hot-water-cured felt liners from MaxLiner USA, using a MaxLiner inversion system.

To avoid totally disrupting the businesses in the strip mall, all the work was performed at night. Technicians used Midi and Maxi Miller drain machines from Picote Solutions to reinstate the tie-ins and a Quik-Coating System from Pipe Lining Supply to restore the original cast iron pipe.

The project took about a week to complete, Ellefson says. 

Read more about Prodigy Plumbing in the October 2022 issue of Cleaner magazine.     


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