Listen: Review of common construction practice finds environmental contamination


When most of us think about storm drainage, we think of a system safely diverting large amounts of water from areas where it could cause dangerous conditions. It appears that the process of repairing these pipes could be much more damaging to the area.

A recent study at Purdue University found that common repair practices caused contamination incidents in 10 different states.

The cured-in-place pipe repair – or CIPP, encompasses several different processes across multiple states, without any consistent standard of deployment or testing. One process involves a resin-soaked segment of fabric being hardened inside the existing pipe through the use of UV light or pressurized steam. This process can release a toxic mix of chemicals into both the air and water, but the full extent of of what is created is just now being studied.

According to Andrew Whelton, associate professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering, “While the technology has been around for 30 years, there are very few laboratory and field studies on possible environmental effects.”

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