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New lining speeds Sellwood emergency sewer repair

by: David F. Ashton Portland Bureau of Environmental Services contractor employees feed the pipe lining down into the Sellwood sewer line.

Many who drive on the west end of S.E. Spokane Street have wondered about the odd-looking construction project that has caused truckloads of equipment to be parked in from of the Oaks Pioneer Church at S.E. Grand Avenue, opposite the east end of the Sellwood Bridge.

'It's called the S.E. Grand Avenue Sewer Rehabilitation Project', said project spokesperson Debbie Caselton of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

Instead of digging up the street starting at S.E. Grand, south across S.E. Tacoma Street at the foot of the Sellwood Bridge, and then down to S.E. Brae Mar Court, BES engineers recommended using a 'Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) Lining' process for what was considered an 'emergency sewer repair'.

After repairs have been made to the damaged sections of the sewer pipe, 'CIPP lining' involves inserting a flexible resin liner that adheres to the inside of the pipe, Caselton explained. 'Hot water or steam is circulated through the pipe to harden the liner, and give the pipe a new interior surface.'

While BES made repairs and installed the lining, the contractor set up a pump and temporary surface line to pump sewage around the work site. The contractor accessed the pipe from the surface through a manhole, reducing the need for excavation and minimizing surface disruption.

Because the 'CIPP liner' blocked the lateral pipes that connect houses and buildings to the main sewer line, residents and businesses experienced a temporarily interruption in sewer service during the day - but highly skilled specialized sewer workers were towed - in yellow hazard suits - through the pipes on small roller platforms, to cut open the lateral access, and the sewers were back in service each evening.

While this project was not as large as the city's twenty other current CIPP sewer pipe rehabilitation projects, it does help assure the sewer line will remain functional during the reconstruction of the Sellwood Bridge.