Advanced polyurea coatings provide solution to aging wastewater infrastructure

As much of our nation’s wastewater and sewer infrastructure continues to age, the demand for a high quality, affordable solution to infiltration and corrosion issues is on the rise.  Historically, wastewater structure rehabilitation has been a cumbersome and costly endeavor. Pump station rehabilitation, for example, once required digging up and replacing entire structures. Not only did this disrupt service for long periods of time, it would often result in road closures and safety concerns.

Fortunately, advanced polyurea coatings provide a solution to this age-old problem. “Polyurea coatings and liners provide numerous benefits when it comes to the maintenance and repair of wastewater structures,” said Dustin Schlachter, CEO of OBIC. “The coatings are spray applied, which means they can be used on any configuration, and they are flexible enough to withstand the demands of the host structure. Perhaps the most significant benefit is that these polyurea coatings require minimal downtime. They are installed quickly and are well suited to withstand the abuse of wastewater system corrosion.”

OBIC in action – wet well pump station rehabilitation

Recently, OBIC products were used to rehabilitate an aging wet well pump station that had significant corrosion and infiltration problems. The first step in the process was to prepare the surface for installation of the OBIC liner.

Step 1: Preparing the surface.

First, installers remove liquid and debris from the pump station using a large vacuum truck. Once the debris is removed, the walls are rinsed down using a standard pressure washer. As soon as this is complete, scaffolding is assembled and installers begin the process of ultra-high-pressure water blasting. Using 20,000-40,000 PSI, corrosion is removed and the surface is fully exposed.

Step 2: Addressing Infiltration

Once the solid surface is exposed, installers can easily locate the joints where water leaks commonly occur. When a leak is found, it is drilled open and injected with a chemical grout that expands and seals the leak. This process is repeated until all of the leaks are sealed and a clean, dry surface is achieved.

Step 3: Installation of the OBIC lining system

Installing the OBIC lining systems begins with a polyurethane primer that preps the surface for the three-layer OBIC system. After the primer is fully cured, a polyurea adhesion layer is applied followed by a surface layer. This second layer fills any voids in the structure and results in a smooth surface.  Finally, an OBIC Armor liner is applied to provide additional protection that will extend the life of the structure for 50 years or longer.

Step 4: Quality Control

After the wet well coating is fully installed and set, the wastewater structure is carefully inspected for defects. This visual inspection is aided by the use of a high voltage spark detection system. Designed to detect tiny pinholes invisible to the human eye, this final inspection ensures that pump station rehabilitation is complete.

Step 5: Back in service

In approximately 2-5 Days, the wet well coating is complete and the structure that was once plagued with infiltration and corrosion issues is now ready to go back into service.