A Unified Approach to Grout Training

Grout Boot Camp aims at consistent practices in chemical grouting
A Unified Approach to Grout Training
The first Aries Grout School, also know as Grout Boot Camp, was offered in 2006. One or two classes are offered each year and draws about 40 private contractors and municipal operators per class.

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Part of doing the job right, in any profession, is having the tools and know-how to accomplish the task successfully. Chemical grouting is an essential task to stop groundwater infiltration into sewer collection systems. But it’s vital that it’s done the proper way.

That’s why Aries Industries, Avanti International and Logiball Inc. have teamed up to offer training – Grout Boot Camp, as it is called.

The next Grout Boot Camp is Oct. 21-22 at the Aries offices in Lithia Springs, Georgia. Cost for the class is $500 to $600 per person, which includes the multi-day training, literature, manuals and test kits.

The first Aries Grout School was offered in 2006. One or two classes are offered each year that draw about 40 private contractors and municipal operators, says Ron Manestar, Aries’ service manager for the Southeast.

“What we’re trying to do is instruct the operators on the proper procedures to chemical grout,” he says. “This way, they understand the science behind it.”

When the training began, Aries teamed with chemical grout manufacturer Avanti and Logiball, which designs and manufactures trenchless rehabilitation equipment. All three companies present their recommended practices – from mixing the chemicals to operating the equipment. The trio makes a good instructive team.

“We can’t grout without each other,” Manestar says.

Jon Peigler is safety director at Bio-Nomic, a North Carolina contractor that specializes in sludge and liquid waste management. He agrees that having the knowledge of the personnel at all three companies has been valuable. Peigler attended the training four years ago and still uses what he learned every day.

“All aspects (of grouting) come together,” he says. “I think that’s what makes it so successful.”

Aimed at consistency
Manestar says the goal of the training is to gain consistency among operators in the field.

“What we recommend is when the operators are setting up their equipment, it’s a process of going through the line, testing each joint to see if it’s going to pass or fail the test,” he says. “If it fails the test, that’s when we start to pump the chemical. The chemical then goes out into the surrounding soil, under pressure, and forms a gel/soil matrix and stops the infiltration from going into the pipe.”

Manestar recommends that operators retest each joint.

In the grout training, Aries found that operators were not using air pressure transducers, even though their trucks include them. The transducer informs the operator whether air pressure is leaking past the joint.

In addition, Manestar says, some operators were not properly trained in mixing the grouting chemicals.

Greg Gress, manager of the water and sewer department on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, attended the training several years ago.

“I was in the second year of educating (our department) on grouting sewers,” he says. “The goal was to learn as much as we could about it.”

Gress says they were exploring the technology for their municipality and were considering buying their own grout truck, rather than contracting the job out. That was a big decision for an island community with only 1,900 residents.

“It was really an insight for how the truck works and the recipes for grout,” he says.

Ultimately, Sullivan’s Island decided to contract out their grouting; while it would have been less expensive to do it in house, Gress says it would have taken about three times as long with staffing and training issues.

“One of the dilemmas (we face) is once you do the entire island, what do you do with the staff and the equipment?” he says.

Gress says he found the training helpful in making that decision.

“It was a very good educational class,” he says. “(I learned) what it would take for my guys to do it on their own.”

For more information on Grout Boot Camp, visit www.ariesindustries.com/grouting-school.


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