New Sewer Pipes Constructed in Place

RENO, Nev.--It will save more than 16 million dollars. That's what Reno city officials say about a project currently underway to replace a sewer-main in East Reno.

Materials cost the same, but officials say a unique process cuts the total cost by about two-thirds.

Waste from around town is now flowing in above ground pipes as crews prepare to replace sewer mains 50 feet below ground.

Normally that would mean tearing out the old pipe and putting in a new one, but Reno instead opted for a more cost effective solution.

"It saves time, its saves our ratepayers money and it is the most effective system that is on the market today" said Mike Stram, Manager Reno's sewer system.

Stram didn't want to replace the pipe entirely, instead, he decided building a new one inside the old one would be better.

"There is no downsides to this system. We have been doing this for over 10 years and have never experienced any sort of problems with it," said Stram.

The new pipe will be made out of unlikely ingredients; felt and resin. They're fed into the existing pipe, resin on the outside so it fills any cracks.

"The felt that we see is being used to hold that resin in place. Once we inflate the bag with water, that felt then gets pressed out to form right to the host pipe. It takes the same shape as the host pipe," said Thayne Loendorf, Project Manager for the sewer replacement project.

When the length of the pipe has been laid, cold water is replaced with hot and the liquid resin becomes a solid pipe.

"Within a week we are going to put 1700 feet of 72 inch pipe in the ground," said Loendorf.

That's a quarter of the time it would take the replace the pipe entirely, and it comes at a third of the cost.

The new pipe will have a slightly smaller diameter, but officials say it will have the same capacity because there are no pipe joints to slow down flow.