Polymer Misconceptions

The Facts About Polymers and Wastewater Structure Rehabilitation

At OBIC, we don’t hesitate to share the benefits of polymer lining systems for wastewater structure rehabilitation. As a matter of fact, you might say that we have made it our mission. Over the years, we have seen the good, bad and ugly of everything from manhole rehab projects to sewer lining repair, and we can say without a doubt that manholes, lift stations, treatment plant facilities and stormwater structures have all benefitted by coating or rehabilitating with a polymer lining system.

These systems are installed with minimal service interruptions and can increase the life of the structure by 50+ years, making polymer lining systems an ideal solution when your priority is saving time and money. A few additional benefits that may interest you include:

  • Prevention of corrosion to the structure
  • Protection from chemical attacks the structure
  • Resistance to abrasion
  • Quick curing that results in a faster return to service
  • 10-year warranty included
  • 50-year design life

Clearing up a few misconceptions

With that list of proven benefits, what’s not to like about polymer lining systems? Unfortunately, there are a few misconceptions out there that cause some in the industry to shy away from choosing polymer for their sewer lining repair. With continued advancement in polymer technology, we think this is the perfect opportunity to clear up some of those misconceptions.

Misconception: Polymers are too expensive
Fact: Polymers have a higher ROI than alternative options

OBIC sewer lining repair systems are proven effective and have a faster return on investment than many other options on the market. Consider alternative materials, such as cement, that require lengthy interruption to traffic flow and services while repair or replacement projects are being conducted. Polymers, like OBIC lining systems, are spray applied and cure in minutes so you can be up and running with minimal downtime.

If that is not enough to convince you that polymers are the best option for your next manhole rehab project or sewer lining repair, consider the fact that they come with a 50-year design life. Cement will require replacement several times over 50 years, ultimately exceeding the cost of polymer application. This is a prime example of the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” 

Misconception: Polymers do not add value to the structural integrity
Fact: Structural polymers have a higher tensile strength than typical concrete

Polymers are deceivingly strong, able to withstand the demands of the host structure with strength and flexibility. As a matter of fact, advances in the industry have led to the development of structural polymers. For example, OBIC 5000 has a tensile strength of 7,000 psi. That is 10 times the tensile strength of typical concrete, which is about 700 psi.  A widely used polymer liner for sewer rehab projects has a compressive strength of 18,000 psi vs. concrete with a typical compressive strength of 6,000 psi.

Misconception: Polymers have poor adhesion and don’t stick to the substrate
Fact: Polymers have minimum pull-off results of at least 300 psi

The published performance data for all polymer lining systems utilized in water and wastewater applications typically show minimum pull-off results of at least 300 psi. Those proven results are why OBIC polymer lining systems carry a 10-year warranty. Not all installers are alike, however, and there are a few reasons that polymers may begin to peel. Sometimes in large chunks.

  • The substrate fails before the lining system
  • The installer who applied the lining system did not prepare the surface properly

Like any service, selecting the right installer is equally as important as the polymer lining itself. The key to achieving successful results with polymer is proper preparation of the structure. The surface should be clean and dry, and any active water infiltration should be stopped. After all, polymer liners won’t stick to running water. When you choose a trusted OBIC installer, you know they have received the training and certification to properly apply the polymer lining system.

Misconception: Cement is a “greener” material than polymers
Fact: Polymers are considered environmentally friendly

This is a common misconception, as polymers are petrochemical-based. What is lesser known is that all chemicals, plastics and polymers manufactured consume only about 5 percent of crude oil resources. Comparatively, cement manufacturing requires very large amounts of energy, almost 10 percent of the world’s industrial water usage, and is the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Ultimately, in the debate over which material is more environmentally friendly, these materials draw even.

In summary, polymer lining systems offer numerous benefits over alternative sewer lining rehab or manhole repair materials. They offer practical, accomplished and cost-effective solutions for all of your wastewater rehabilitation needs. For more information, or to find a certified OBIC installer near you, visit our website.