Welcome to the Avanti Blog: Grou•tol•o•gy

The Avanti Blog: Grou•tol•o•gy is where you can read stories and comments from a unique community of engineers, industry insiders, specialty contractors, municipalities, partners, and marketeers. Here you can share your thoughts, voice your opinion, give testimonials, and encourage others in their grouting endeavors. Your voice matters, and we want to hear from you.

13 June 2017

Win/Win—Stop the Leaks, Start a Career

Posted in Industry News

by Charlie Lerman

Recently, I was called out for a field service engagement in Colorado to stop water leaking into a storm water system and provide how-to training. The storm water system was less than three years old, but had multiple barrel joint leaks as well as leakage at the pipe penetrations into a vault. Every project is different – there is no ‘one grout fits all’ solution. So after careful consideration, AV-248-LV Flexseal LV, a low viscosity, flexible hydrophobic polyurethane grout was injected to seal the barrel joints. AV-275 Soilgrout, a rigid, hydrophobic polyurethane was also used to curtain grout the pipe penetrations as the hydraulic cement patch had already failed inside of the vault. The crew had no prior knowledge of injection grouting, but successfully completed the project with step-by-step training and coaching from yours truly. Hands-on, onsite training is just one of the many services Avanti routinely provides to its customers. Remember, 99% waterproofed is still 100% leaking.

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17 May 2017

Colorado School of Mines Short Course - Field Day Success!

Posted in Industry News

by Britt Babcock

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During the first week of May 2017, both Avanti and our strategic partner Hess Pumice participated in the Underground Grouting and Ground Improvement Course at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. During the field day demonstrations, we had the opportunity to inject US Grout’s Ultrafine VX into two grout columns and Nittetsu’s Superfine injected into one of the columns.

Both US Grout’s Ultrafine VX and Nittetsu's Superfine have an average particle size of 3 microns. In the image to the right, US Grout’s Superfine VX outperformed the Nittetsu grout at 1:1 w/c ratio. At the 2:1 w/c ratio, US Grout also performed exceptionally.

Congratulations from the Avanti Team to Hess Pumice for developing a fantastic, high performing, US domestically manufactured cement grout!


*For over 20 years, US Grout and Avanti have partnered to bring the grouting community patented pumice-Pozzolan based Ultrafine Cement. Avanti is the exclusive distributor for US Grout Ultrafine products.*

26 April 2017

Out of Sight, Out of Mind No More

Posted in Industry News

by Chris Hamilton

I recently conducted a field training with the City of Daytona Beach. We were scheduled to stop active infiltration in a few storm boxes and a lift station. Early in the morning, we were near the lift station we were going to train at and I noticed a sanitary manhole in the middle of the street that had noticeable depressions in the asphalt on one side. I made the comment - only as an observation - that groundwater infiltration and loss of fines was likely the cause for the depression in the street. One of the City’s trucks was backed up to the hole so the the lid could be removed and the manhole could be inspected. With no warning, the road caved in approximately 3-5 feet and a massive sinkhole was exposed. Needless to say, we unexpectedly worked on the manhole as part of the day’s training. Surprisingly, the infiltration was not coming from a joint, crack, or faulty pipe penetration. The water and soil were entering the manhole through the bottom of the trench. Therefore, a quick inspection of the manhole may not have been effective in identifying the structure as needing rehabilitation.

Ultimately, if this had been someone’s small car, this situation could have been catastrophic. The crew had a hell of a time getting the truck out of this hole. For me, the real story is that I had never seen this happen in front of me so the incident was certainly a first. It reinforced to me that when manholes and storm boxes are sealed from infiltration, the value and benefit goes far beyond just saving money in the form of treatment costs for the municipality - it truly eliminates the root cause of sinkholes, and keeps the community and drivers safe. 

31 March 2017

Grouting Experts Praise Grout School Experience

Posted in Industry News

by Jessica Williams

Last week (3/22/17), Avanti hosted the semi-annual Industrial and Geotechnical Injection Grout School at our office in Houston, TX. This two-day event has hands on demonstrations and classroom sessions, and brought in attendees from across the nation – owners, project managers, engineers, and inspectors. It was a great two days in Houston – weather cooperated, attendees were engaged and interactive, and guest speakers contributed their knowledge to everyone.

The two guest speakers who brought their A-Game to this event were Bill Lillico of Golder Associates in Mississauga, Ontario, and Tom De Pippo of Jeans Waterproofing of Texas in New Braunfels, Texas. Bill, a geotechnical grouting expert, and Tom, a commercial/industrial grouting expert, had plenty of insight to share and stories about projects in formal presentations as well as a segment called “UnPlugged”. This was an unscripted conversation about the industry, issues faced, and problems solved. We can’t thank Bill and Tom enough for supporting grout school and their willingness to share their knowledge with the attendees and the Avanti Team.

 

Bill Lillico: “Thank you very much for your generosity last week. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our first trip to Texas and especially liked our time in Houston. The school was a great experience for me. I met some very intelligent attendees, so I hope I was able to deliver the level of content you had hoped for. I look forward to connecting again soon.”

Tom De Pippo: “Thanks for the excellent opportunity to interact with some good contractors and the Avanti Staff. You have a First Class organization. The training event was informative, educational and fun. The outstanding hospitality was over the top. I really appreciate Avanti including me in the program.”

We can’t thank the attendees and guest speakers enough for another successful grout school!

15 November 2016

Sweating Your Assets

Posted in Industry News

by Don Rigby

You’re a Collection System Manager for a municipality or sewer district and worry every day.  You expect your system to operate at peak performance, but you know otherwise and the evidence after a rain event is telling.  You can measure extraneous flow to the WWTP.  With the aid of CCTV, you see the residual effect of soil fines entering the system and reducing pipe capacity. Beyond excessive cleaning, this means the sewer trench is losing its structural support which leads directly to pipe failure.  The clock ticks and you’re sweating your collectiion system assets.

Infiltration is the problem. Injection Grouting is the cure. The answer to worry is proactivity. Proactive steps to control infiltration cost far less than the inevitable structural failure. In fact, ROI models build the case for immediate call to action with a single year payback on investment.  Care to know more?  Witness how and why grouting is your first, most expedient, and best defense against infiltration by going back to school—Municipal Sewer Grout School

09 September 2016

Meet the Experts, Innovators, and Practitioners Behind the Municipal Grouting Documentary

Posted in Industry News

If knowledge transfer is the objective, you will not meet a better collection of expertise and unique perspectives relative to the PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE PROMISE of Municipal Sewer Grouting.

Hosted by Sharon Bueno, Editor Trenchless Technology magazine, the live webcast titled Re-Living 50 Years of Municipal Sewer Grouting and WHAT'S NEXT scheduled for 9/22 (2:00 PM EST) will include a cast of 10 experts, innovators,  and practitioners that will help you champion the cause of controlling infiltration and inflow (I&I) to sustain our underground collection system.

In sequence order of their presentation, this documentary on Municipal Grouting includes the following industry leaders:

  • Ted DeBoda - Director - NASSCO
  • Harold Kosova - The Sewer Boss - retired President of National Power Rodding
  • Pete Fleetwood - President - Bio-Nomic Services
  • Marc Anctil - President - Logiball
  • Ron Manestar - Service Manager - Aries Industries
  • Mark Schneider - Product Manager - Cues, Inc.
  • Dr. C. Vipulanandan, Ph.D., PE - Director - CIGMAT at the University of Houston
  • John Manijak - Business Development Manager - Michels Corp.
  • Jim Shelton, PE - VP Buried Infrastructure - ARCADIS
  • Daniel Magill - President - Avanti International

GUARANTEED:  In 60 minutes, you will gain invaluable insight on municipal grouting, learn why controlling infiltration is more important than ever, and how communities and sewer districts will benefit as we enter the Grout Economy.

To register for this live learning event, click here.

08 September 2016

Coffee with Tony Conn—Equal Parts Confidence & Caffeine

Posted in Industry News

By: Don Rigby

Every time I speak with Tony Conn - City of Naperville Collection and Pumping Supervisor -  my grout first beliefs are validated.  It was casual phone conversation and my coffee cup was full, but it was Tony that was energized, confident, and firm in his convictions about municipal grouting. 

In the spirit of WHAT’S NEXT, a theme for the documentary webcast scheduled for 9/22 with Trenchless Technology - Re-Living 50 Years of Municipal Sewer Grouting and WHAT’S NEXT - I asked Tony Conn what’s next for the City of Naperville, IL?  I’ll simplify and summarize with the following bullet items:

 •    Beginning in January 2017, all CIPP Lining projects require mainline grouting first. Tony just added this line item to the CIPP bid spec. His reasoning is clear—when lining is required, grout first makes lining possible and a more durable solution.
•    Going forward, lateral grouting is now a three-step process thanks to the city-installed clean-outs:

o    Step 1:  Mainline-lateral connection—grouted with remote packer from the mainline
o    Step 2:  Mainline to clean-out—from the clean-out to mainline with push-packer
o    Step 3:  Clean-out to Foundation—from the clean-out to home/business foundation with push-packer. 

•    Manhole rehab for the City of Naperville follows the prescribed three-step process as outlined in Avanti’s webinar on July 27th - Engineer, Owner, Contractor: Know Your Role to Optimize Manhole Rehabilitation.

o    Step 1:  Grout first to stop active leaks using AvantiGrout
o    Step 2:  Prepare surface with Strong-Seal cement coating
o    Step 3:  Epoxy Liner using Raven 405 (applied at 250 mil)

Quick Story with Happy Ending:  In the center of Downtown Naperville, a brick manhole failed. As opposed to disrupting the busiest intersection for weeks, in just three short days with crews working overnight applying the above three-step process, the emergency project was 110% successful. Citizens never knew there was a problem, but Tony Conn knows the city saved $80K and tons of grief by rehabbing vs. replacing. The images below show before and after shots of the rehabbed manhole.

You might call this an Overnight Success. I call it a smart Conn Job. There are other grouting heroes in similar roles and responsibilities.  Tony Conn just happens to be out-spoken and well-known and proud to usher in the New Grout Economy.

01 September 2016

Building Chemistry: The Avanti Way

Posted in Industry News

Building Chemistry: The Avanti Way

Like the elements of our injection grouts, Avanti builds good chemistry with our clientele.

The beauty behind Avanti’s business model is the diversity of the people we serve. The challenge behind Avanti’s business model is the diversity of people we serve. How do we consistently interact with the unique needs and requirements of the municipal grouting community including consulting engineers, municipal authorities, and principals of contracting firms? Short answer: ENGAGE.

ENGAGE is an acronym for Avanti's approach to every opportunity. It is how we serve, seek first to understand, and keep the professional experience top-of-mind for our customer-facing personnel:

Educate and build mutual trust and rapport
Navigate project goals and objectives
Generate options and alternative recommendations
Align with budgets, timelines, resources, and logistics
Gain acceptance with all stakeholders
Explore additional ways to serve

Applied consistently, this step-by-step formula leads to positive outcomes and clients-for-life. For an animated view of the Avanti Way, click here.

25 August 2016

How to Start-Up a Municipal Grouting Program

Posted in Industry News

Guidance Questions Reveal Step-by-Step Answers

Purpose of this article is to provide insight to municipal decision-makers and their consultants on how to initiate, prioritize and fund an injection grouting program. This assumes your interests are aligned with the advantages of grouting: control groundwater infiltration and soil sediments impacting capacity, reduce SSOs and excessive flows to WWTPs, and extend the life cycle of collection system assets before costly structural repairs are required. Injection grouting may be the exact right answer for your municipality/sewer district or a complementary strategy with other trenchless technologies, but the cost/value benefits of grouting are compelling and warrant your investigation and consideration.

Where do you start? How do you get internal buy-in from the management team, elected officials, and workforce? BEGIN WITH THE FUNDAMENTALS.

1. Problem Identification and Assessment

1. What tangible evidence do you have of infiltration?
2. Have you engaged an engineering consulting firm?
3. Has condition assessment been properly executed and quantified?
4. How urgent is the problem?
5. Is the problem isolated or pervasive system-wide?
6. What are the consequences of no action?

2. Navigate Possible Solutions

1. Is this a proactive maintenance issue or an engineered construction project?
2. What does your engineering consultant advocate?
3. Will you self-perform or outsource to a contracting firm?
4. What alternative trenchless solutions have you evaluated?
5. Have you considered a pilot program to gauge cause and effect?

3. Funding Justification

1. Have you built a business case outlining the benefits of your plan-of-action?
2. Have you itemized the consequences of no action?
3. What financing sources (state revolving funds, etc) are available?
4. How do the cost avoidance numbers compare to the cost of taking action?
5. What is the tone of dialog with EPA Authorities?
6. Can city officials defend this action to ratepayers over other spending priorities?
7. Will out-of-sight, out-of-mind be an obstacle?

CONCLUSION

Solutions to complex problems begin with answering fundamental questions. Do your homework, validate your data, know your influencers and decision-makers, and back-up your recommendations with proof from other community programs. For the betterment and future growth of the community, injection grouting may be an answer, but the sewer system might not be the primary focus of the political agenda. Didn’t say it was going to be easy or that common sense will rule, but persistence will prevail.

24 August 2016

Lunch & Learn

Posted in Industry News

Lunch & Learns: Sixty minutes to refuel the body and revitalize the mind is time well invested for anyone. Engineering firms often leverage this hour to broaden the knowledge of their most important assets, yet Avanti has held learning events for every type of contracting firm, small municipalities and large sewer districts, regulatory agencies, DOTs, utilities, and facility management organizations, as well as our dealer network and supply chain partners. No two presentations are exactly the same - each is custom built to the wants, needs and interests of the host organization. Avanti has presented hundreds of lunch & learns – and a few breakfast sessions - across the United States, with more being scheduled weekly.

After years of experience, Avanti has adopted three simple rules for successful lunch & learn experiences:

1.    Start on time, End on time – your time (as well as ours) is important.
2.    Be Relevant – Plan content and execute interactively  
3.    Teach, Don’t sell – education is the objective

With these guidelines, we’ve earned many kudos: “Charlie obviously loves this work and knows it well!”  “Possibly, the best lunch & learn I ever attended.” 
Here are a few representative titles of past presentations that serve to advance the adoption and practice of municipal grouting:

•    What’s Sabotaging Our Underground Infrastructure
•    Stopping Infiltration in New England—EPA Region 1
•    Greater Good for Underground Collection Systems
•    Injection Grouting to Remedy Inflow and Infiltration (I&I)

Education is wholly consistent with how Avanti chooses to grow the municipal grouting industry.  Our dedicated Field Service Team and Regional Managers are committed to sharing what they know so others can do. We view education as the way forward. 

Most organizations do not have a ‘Chief Learning Officer’, but do have managers wise to the organization’s educational needs of its people. Avanti collaborates with these individuals to build an agenda to best serve the audience. These events are typically planned four to six weeks in advance and PDH certificates are available for continuing education credits. Care to discuss a lunch & learn for your organization?  Contact Jessica Williams directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


19 August 2016

Listening to the Customer: Survey Says…

Posted in Industry News

As a rule, Avanti people do a credible job of listening to our customers. We’re growing in volume, but more importantly, we want to grow in value-to-customer. Are we building a company that reflects the wants & needs of our customers? We asked, listened, and took action—this is what responsible companies do.

Nobody responds to surveys, right? Wrong. For all those who responded and shared your opinions in our recent Voice of the Customer survey - thank you. Your thoughts on new products and new services were insightful. In fact, your top three service recommendations are now in play— web chat is already implemented on the Avanti website, online ordering for repeat customers will be beta-tested in September 2016, and certification programs are coming January 2017. Your opinions matter.

We constantly ask ourselves “Is Avanti easy to do business with?” So we asked the ultimate question to produce a clear measure of performance through the eyes of our customer: "How likely would you recommend Avanti?"


The million dollar question has proven statistically valid over a decade of testing and of tens of thousands of surveys, here's the scientific meaning behind each rating:

9: Loyal, enthusiastic fans. They sing the company's praises to friends and colleagues.


7-8: Passively satisfied because they are satisfied - for now.               

 0-6: Detractors are unhappy customers. They account for more than 80% of negative word-of-mouth.


Pleased, proud and humbled with the results in this recent Voice of the Customer survey - the overwhelming majority are loyal, enthusiastic fans with zero-none-nada detractors.

We see room for improvement and are encourages to do so. You can't manage what you don't measure - so we see this as an annual activity. Because it's important to you, it's important to Avanti. Let us know how we can better help you and your team Move Forward.

 

19 August 2016

Today Begins the Next 50 Years of Municipal Grouting

Posted in Industry News

The first and original trenchless technology is chemical grouting. The practice continues to evolve, and today makes a compelling case for the most economical and reliable method for controlling infiltration by sealing sewer mainlines, laterals, and manholes in both sanitary and storm sewer systems. Like any technology, the caveat is clear—it must be executed with precision. Clearly we have more performance standards and operating guidelines today than at any moment in our 50 year history.

The grouting industry has evolved responsibly including standard practices from ASTM and Suggested Standard Specification from NASSCO/ICGA.  Specific ASTM standards exist for mainline pipes, laterals, and manhole structures –all recently renewed.  The Suggested Standard Specification for Pressure Testing and Grouting of Sewer Joints, Laterals, and Lateral Connections Using the Packer Method with Solution Grouts from NASSCO/ICGA is a peer reviewed set of operating guidelines.  These standards have aligned engineers, contractors, public and private property owners with well-defined procedures yielding predictable outcomes.

Forward Looking Statements:  Briefly, there are initiatives already in place for 2017 that will further the growth of Municipal Grouting and provide a level of confidence for engineers and owners as a proactive maintenance practice and engineered construction project:

  • Grout School graduated can earn a credential
  • Specifications from Consulting Engineers will require proof of education
  • On track to release Inspector Training Certification Program for Grouting from NASSCO/ICGA
  • On-site Inspection will be required on more grouting projects
  • Operating guidelines will continue to evolve

Without question, the last 50 years have prepared the grouting industry for the next 50. Avanti and our industry partners acknowledge grouting's early pioneers and look to the future.

 

16 June 2016

Everything is Better in Texas: 37th Annual Grouting Short Course

Posted in Industry News

by Britt Babcock

 Avanti and strategic partner US Grout participated in field day at the 37th Annual Short Course Grouting Fundamentals and Current Practice and the University of Texas at Austin. Avanti and US Grout provided education to the school attendees on cementitious and chemical grouts by showcasing permeation grouting using Ultrafine Super cementitious grout and AV-160 Supergel acrylate grout.

US Grout's Ultrafine Super is a cementitious grout with an average particle size of three microns, which uses a polycarboxylate superplasticizer as its water reducer. The Ultrafine Super advanced the entire vertical length of the sand column having the highest specific gravity and using the least amount of superplasticizer (two to three times less) than other products showcased. Not all products go the distance. Grouts were only allowed to e pumped at pressure of 10psi or less.

Avanti's AV-160 Supergel grout was presented through a gravity feed table top, and sand and gravel columns. AV-160 is a very low viscosity, acrylate grout that is used to control water. Avanti shows school attendees how easily AV-160 penetrates through sand and gravels. Various concentrations of AV-160 were presented - 10%,  15%, 20% - which all quickly permeated the whole column (less than 30 seconds) creating a firm, stiff soil/gel matrices.

29 April 2016

Dealer Profile: Georgia Underground Superstore

Posted in Industry News

by Don Rigby

Company: Georgia Underground Superstore
Location: Atlanta, GA
Website: www.georgiaunderground.net
Avanti Dealer Since: 2008
Customer Profile: Utility Contractors - Private and Public
Interview: Brenda Armbrust - Purchasing Manager
Regional Manager: Chris Hamilton

On April 28, Chris Hamilton and Don Rigby paid Georgia Underground a visit. Purpose? Part service, part exploratory, part wonderment.

In Q1 2016, Georgia Underground racked up a 256% increase in business. Darn right we were curious, but not surprised with the answer. According to Brenda Armbrust, "Projects - more injection grouting projects and our customers know two things: Controlling groundwater means Avanti, and Georgia Underground keeps it in stock.

"For us, the bread and butter product has always been cases of AV-202 Multigrout in cartridges" stated Brenda "and we're excited Chris will be working with our Counter and Outside Sales teams to expand their working knowledge of grouting while we expand our inventories."

About the Avanti clock: It's about time everybody recognizes the time is right for Avanti.

30 April 2015

Colorado School of Mines – A Reputation for Education

Posted in Geotechnical

by Jessica Williams

Throughout the year, the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) hosts many different short courses and conferences taught by experienced industry professionals who aim to educate owners, engineers, and contractors in specialty areas. These short courses provide concentrated instruction in areas such as Ground Improvement in Underground Construction and Mining and Grouting Fundamentals. These courses are intensive and provide comprehensive knowledge of the latest and greatest R&D. That’s why we choose to align with the CSM every year – because we believe that education is the way forward – and CSM has a reputation for impeccable education.

This May, Avanti’s Vice President of Sales, Britt Babcock, presents “Chemical Grouts” – a presentation on injection grouting to stop water, stabilize soil and rock strata and control groundwater in underground construction and mining. When asked why he attends CSM, Britt says “Having participated in the course for over five years, both as a student and instructor, I have learned new techniques and gained great understanding about grouting. The experts, with such vast knowledge and experience of grouting, collected in one place, is unparalleled to any other course. I recommend those at all levels of experience attend. I guarantee you will walk away with an experience far beyond your expectations!”

Britt Babcock will be presenting "Chemical Grouts" at 11:15 on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

For more information about the Colorado School of Mines and its Short Courses and Conferences, click here.

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