Smithville, MO Wastewater Treatment Facility
American Concrete Products' Perfect Pipe System was selected to replace Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Mortar Pipe (FRPMP) at Smithville, MO Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The main gravity sewer for the Smithville Missouri Wastewater Treatment Plant was 32' deep, partially running through an old creek bottom and saturated soils. "It was all mostly water, we had wells drilled all around and pumps running 24/7" said Mason Palmer, Superintendent for Blue Nile Construction. Blue Nile Construction crews installed approximately 1500' of 36" of FRP pipe when they discovered a problem.
"The FRP pipe wasn't holding up, the soils were really sandy and under so much pressure it started to deflect the pipe. We air tested the line and found it was leaking at the mandrels. We had a hard time with it" said Palmer.
Brian Kohlstaedt, another Blue Nile Superintendent supervising the FRP installation told his higher-ups "I'm not laying any more of this pipe" telling the inspector "We're going to look like idiots putting it in." Water was coming in the line and leaking out of the joints. Kohlstaedt called a meeting with the inspector, project engineer and the FRP rep. During the meeting the rep admitted that under the conditions, the FRP pipe would fail.
"The FRP bells only give you 3.5 inches on each side, that's hardly giving you any strength in sandy soils with no side support. The FRP pipe had no strength and no deflection" said Kohlstaedt. "You can't slurry backfill FRP pipe in high groundwater, so we decided to use the Perfect Pipe because you can set concrete pipe on sandy soils".
"I didn't like the way the FRP bells looked," said Norm Wells the City of Smithville inspector. "I love the way you can pick up the Perfect Pipe, the way it homes. Lifting from the top is nice, you don't have to re-hook which is one of the hardest things to do in mud. In the old days you'd have to have a sling".