How to Stop a Leak in a Manhole – The OBIC Way

“Good morning, welcome to the first day of your OBIC Applicator Training.  This morning we are going to learn about our manhole leak stopping procedure.”

OBIC-certified applicators around the world are fully trained and prepared through our Certified Installer Program that involves classroom time and on-site training.  One of the most important skills an OBIC applicator will learn during the program is how to stop structure leaks.  As we have discussed in previous blogs, groundwater infiltration from collection system cracks, hole, joint failures, mortar joints and faulty connections is an expensive problem.  Various studies estimate that 40% of groundwater infiltration comes from manholes.  A single 5 gpm leak can cost $10,000 per year in WWTP treatment cost!

Leaks must be stopped efficiently and permanently as they threaten the structural integrity of your critical infrastructure.  So we place a lot of importance and conduct a lot of training on the proper way to stop them during the surface preparation phase of the rehab.  There’s really no point in applying a protective barrier if you don’t eradicate even the smallest leak.

Rehabilitation coating and lining products, regardless of their chemical composition, cannot adhere to an active infiltration location of running water.  A proper re-lining effort requires the stopping of all active leaks, but many contractors will try to stop existing leaks with a quick-setting hydraulic cement.  This will stop the leak temporarily, giving the contractor enough time to install the lining system.  Except in the case of very minor ‘weep’ leaks, this method can develop long-term issues as water remains within the substrate, potentially creating a weakened bond and ultimate failure of the lining.

A proper and permanent leak stopping procedure is an involved process.  OBIC offers a complete line of eight different hydrophilic and hydrophobic grouts.  Choosing the correct repair material to match the leaking condition is critical for a successful result.  That’s why the OBIC product line includes both pumped and hand-injected polyurethane grouts.  All certified OBIC installers receive extensive field training in the types and methodologies of injectable urethane grouting materials, where they learn:

  • The difference between grout types
  • How and where to use the grout types
  • To identify what kind of defect is present
  • If it’s a wide, narrow, vertical, or horizontal crack
  • Where the injection hole should be drilled – through to the back side or at a 45 degree angle through the crack
  • How much grout should be injected
  • When has the correct amount been used
  • The applications for dry oakum
  • When a hole packer/plug should be used and if it needs to be curtain grouted

That list is not exhaustive!  As we said, proper leak stopping is an involved process.  And we want to extend the life of your structure for up to 50 years with a faster return on investment than replacement projects.  Our extensive training in proper leak stopping knowledge and procedures and the confidence in our products and applicators assures a trouble-free 10-year warranty on the OBIC Armor System.

If you’d like to learn more about the OBIC advantage, discuss your next project, or schedule a demo, please call 866-636-4854 or email and our team will be happy to help you!