What’s the Best Way to Prep a Wastewater Structure for Rehabilitation?

Proper surface preparation is the absolute key to any successful coating/lining project.  Depending upon the substrate surface, as much as 40% of the project cost can be the surface prep.  Because of this, many contractors will cut corners on the preparation portion resulting in potential long-term failure.  When it comes to wastewater infrastructure work, you should be looking at the long game, which is why OBIC goes above and beyond to extend the life of your structure for up to 50 years with a faster return on investment than replacement projects.  So let’s discuss in more detail what the best method is for preparing the surface of wastewater tanks, structures, and components before a rehabilitation project begins.

OBIC-certified applicators are trained in Surface Preparation Standards published by the SSPC (Society for Protective Coatings) and NACE International.  These two professional associations in the field of corrosion and coating standards, training, and certification merged in 2021 to form The Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP).  These technical standards describe the level of cleanliness necessary for the respective surface type, structure usage, and expected coating life.  SSPC-SP 13/NACE No. 6, Surface Preparation of Concrete was revised in 2018 and is the most widely accepted standard for concrete coating/lining preparation.

Surface preparation technology utilized by OBIC’s certified applicators can vary depending upon specific structure requirements, but typically 4,000 psi pressure washing would be used on manholes and valve vaults to remove any laitance or release agents, fats, oils, wax, or grease to create a clean surface profile.  Severe service structures such as lift stations, tanks, or treatment plant structures, which are intermittently or continuously submerged, would be hydroblast-cleaned with 20,000 to 40,000 psi to create a clean surface profile of minimum CSP 5.

The International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) produces a set of Concrete Surface Profile (CSP 1-10) chips that provide a physical sample of a surface preparation profile, which allows a direct comparison of actual surface prep with the desired profile.  Every OBIC-certified applicator has been provided a set of these CSP profile chips for field work assessment.  Common causes for coating failures are improper product formulation, poor environmental conditions, poor application, and inadequate surface preparation.  Of these, at least 70% of failures are caused by poor surface preparation.  OBIC’s resolute commitment to proper surface preparation procedures in training and follow-up with its certification program is a key ingredient that supports our incredible 10-year warranty offering.

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If you’d like to discuss your next project or schedule a demo, please send an email to info@obicproducts.com or call 866-636-4854. Our team will be happy to help you!