Sanitary District Sewer Cleaning

National Industrial Maintenance - Michigan logo
Location: St. Clair Shores, Michigan
Client: South Macomb Sanitary District (SMSD)
Carylon Operating Company: National Industrial Maintenance – Michigan, Robinson Pipe Cleaning
Services Performed: Sewer Cleaning

How would you handle the difficult job of cleaning 2.8 miles of large – 54″-72″ – interceptor? Its entire 14,800 linear ft. length, put into sanitary sewage transport service in 1948, had never before been cleaned. A survey, accomplished during a walk-through and video taping of its entire length by Thomas LaCross, P.E., project manager for consulting engineers Spalding DeDecker Associates, Inc. (Detroit, Michigan), had accurately profiled and analyzed the deposits. Sediment depths, LaCross reported, ranged from one to three ft throughout the entire line. Material, mostly debris and wet sand, totaled about 1,200 cubic yards.

The owner, South Macomb Sanitary District (SMSD), St. Clair Shores, Michigan, could not divert the flow from one-third of it’s service area (a total population of 154,000 located in the cities of St. Clair Shores, Roseville and Eastpointe). By design, this input, always sizable, was retained each day in combined sewer overflow basins and a 12-ft diameter tunnel. The basins were drained and flushed nightly.

At no time could debris be sent downstream into jurisdictions between SMSD and the huge (1.5 billion gpd) metropolitan area sewage treatment facility in Detroit. Among the sewerline problems were dams created in several places by broken asphalt and PCC concrete from road construction projects. A number of discarded pipe lengths, mostly 8″ in size, impeded flow. So did various other discards: auto parts, old chairs, cushions, a car door, bricks, concrete blocks, wads of blankets, etc.

Cleaning could not be done with conventional jetters due to the long lengths (800 to 1,200 ft) between manholes. Circular in shape, formed of poured-in-place concrete, the line included two 90″ bends and a number of 30″ deflections.

Fifteen specialized cleanout contracting firms studied the plans. Thirteen could not come up with a solution. Two entered bids. National Industrial Maintenance Inc., Dearborn, Michigan, a Carylon Corporation company, bidding $100,000 lower than its competition, was awarded the contract and given 75 working days to handle it.

National’s main assistance came from Robinson Pipe Cleaning Company, Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania. The two organizations used an old cleaning method, combined with new high-volume jetting machines, to complete the task successfully, within budget, and ahead of a tight schedule.