How to Start-Up a Municipal Grouting Program
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?
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.