Repairing water pipes: Researchers offer advice to make common methods safer | 2019-11-29



West Lafayette, IN – Researchers at Purdue University have made recommendations to improve the safety of a popular method of repairing water pipes that may release dangerous chemicals into the air, as part of a recent study on the rehabilitation of damaged drainage culverts.

The cured-in-place pipe repair method, or CIPP, involves inserting a resin-impregnated fabric tube into a damaged pipe and curing it with hot water, pressurized steam, or ultraviolet light to create a new plastic pipe. A Purdue study published in July 2017 contradicts existing assumptions about the safety of the technology, claiming that chemical plumes once thought to be vapor actually contained vapors and organic compounds, including some known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

According to the National Environmental Health Association, CIPP is used for about half of water pipe repairs nationwide.

Led by Andrew Whelton, assistant professor of engineering at Purdue, the new study includes recommendations for CIPP procedures based on field tests, an analysis of literature reviews and a survey of 32 state transportation agencies. . Researchers suggest any organization or agency involved in CIPP operations or overseeing projects:

  • Request a free NIOSH Health Risk Assessment that includes a set of representative CIPP projects. “This activity allows NIOSH to conduct confidential site monitoring to determine if practice upgrades are needed to protect workers. “
  • Upgrade existing exterior CIPP fabrication construction practices.
  • Require capture of emissions and confirmation of capture through monitoring.
  • Provide additional surveillance “which includes environmental surveillance and industrial hygiene professionals well trained on CIPP sites”.

In addition, the study examines the method of spray coating pipe repair, which also involves the creation of a new plastic coating on the exterior.

“These technologies can likely be used without endangering human health or the environment if the proper controls are in place,” Whelton said in a Nov. 22 press release. “Now there is independent evidence that controls are needed. “

The study was published on Oct. 31 and appears online as part of Purdue University’s Joint Transportation Research Program.


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