Sewer and Water

A significant amount of the sewer and water infrastructure across Canada is several decades old and is approaching or is at the end of its life cycle. Such aged infrastructure must be renewed or replaced to alleviate environmental risk and inconvenience to the population. Many existing sewer and water pipes have been covered over by streets, sidewalks, landscaping, and buildings. Replacement by open trench construction is very difficult due to the proximity of other utilities and the need to excavate and replace everything above the affected pipe.

Pipe bursting is the method that is used to replace pipes without using open trench methods. This is accomplished by pulling a bursting device through the existing pipe which, by virtue of its size or its radial expansion capability, shatters the old pipe and forces the fragments into the surrounding soil. The new pipe is usually attached to the bursting device and is thus pulled into place as the device advances.

Pipe bursting is receiving more and more attention as a viable alternative to open trench replacement. Pipe bursting can be used for pipes ranging in size from 2 to 30 inches and new bursting tools and techniques are being developed that will increase the upper limit to 4 feet. The process can be used on pipes made of cast iron, thin wall steel, concrete, clay, asbestos, PVC, and polyethylene (PE)

Advantages of Using Pipe Bursting

  • It reduces overflow in wet weather and minimizes the need for bypass pumping. 
  • Requires minimal excavation making it the preferred solution for installing new pipes in high-profile areas where disruption to surrounding businesses, residences, and environment is an important consideration.


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