Stories About Pipeline Rehabilitation/Lining

Keep Rolling
July 24, 2019

Rehabilitation can be a tedious process, and even though you know you’re putting in the work, it can take a long time to start seeing any significant results.

I like bikes. I mountain bike a lot, when I’m healthy. A couple summers ago I was riding four days a week. At 43 I was faster than I’d ever been and arguably in the best shape of my life. But there were issues below the surface. They certainly weren’t slowing me down when I was riding two-plus hours at a great pace, but mechanical issues don’t typically resolve themselves. They only grow worse.

I felt stronger and stronger that summer and fall. But eventually as the days get shorter, and then the clock gets set back an hour, there’s not enough light for after-work rides. And as fall progresses I spend more and more of my weekends hunting. So I hadn’t been on a ride in about a month and a half when I finally climbed onto the bike I keep in a training stand in my basement for a little warm-up ride before a workout in mid-December.

It was just 15 minutes of easy spinning, but as soon as I got off the bike I knew something was wrong. My lower back stiffened immediately. It got worse that night but improved some during the week. That weekend I decided to take my fat bike out for a ride in the snow and made it only five minutes before intense, shooting pain forced me to walk back to the trailhead. I spent the next two months in constant pain, unable to do much of anything but go to work and come home and lay on the living room floor.

In the year and a half since, I’ve seen several doctors, a couple physical therapists, a chiropractor and massage therapist. I’ve been dry-needled, had CT-guided trigger point injections and two epidurals. Yes, epidurals. None of it helped.

For the past couple months I’ve been seeing a new doctor and physical therapist. As it turns out, none of the people I’d seen before properly diagnosed my issues. Biking, hockey and some past injuries had created several imbalances in my body. Over time, those things built up as one thing pulled on another. Riding constantly kept things just loose enough to function, but with a little layoff, everything tightened up to the point where my body couldn’t even handle a little warm-up ride.

That’s a lot of information about my health, but there’s a real parallel to your water and wastewater systems. A little problem here or there isn’t such a big deal when the rest of your system is functioning at maximum capacity. But when a major sewer interceptor collapses, or your primary distribution main ruptures, it can cripple your whole system.

The problems that lead to ruptures and collapses build over time, just like the issues that wrecked my back. It pays to be proactive, look for small problems and address them before they grow and turn into major problems that require emergency repair.

It’s easy to push things off. It’s less expensive and saves time and resources in the present, but that’s a short-term view, and it’ll cost you and your customers in the long run.

Like my back, rehabilitating your systems is a slow process that often doesn’t yield tangible results as quickly as you’d like. But it’s always a better course of action than waiting for something to go wrong and hoping for the best.

Enjoy this month’s issue.