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Water quality implications of culvert repair options : vinyl ester based and ultraviolet cured-in-place pipe liners.
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    Final report.
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  • Abstract:
    Specifications of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) allow for the use of several “trenchless” pipe or

    culvert repair technologies whereby existing underground culverts are repaired in place rather than by the use of the conventional

    method of unearthing and replacing damaged sections. However, water quality implications of these trenchless alternatives are

    not completely understood. A previous evaluation found water quality impacts from installations of conventional cured-in-place

    pipe (CIPP). This trenchless rehabilitation technology includes saturating a flexible liner with a styrene-based resin and curing

    the liner onsite with steam or hot water. VDOT subsequently implemented new specifications for styrene-based CIPP to prevent

    water quality impacts from its installation or use. The current study included an environmental evaluation of two unconventional

    CIPP technologies available for use by VDOT: vinyl ester based (styrene-free) CIPP and styrene-based ultraviolet (UV) CIPP.

    To evaluate the potential for vinyl ester based and UV CIPP technologies to impact water quality, water samples were

    collected from field installations and simulations for up to 120 days. Samples were analyzed for product constituents listed in

    material safety data sheets. Results were then compared with established regulatory standards and published toxicity criteria for

    aquatic species.

    For the vinyl ester based CIPP liner evaluated, concentrations of the primary resin constituent exceeded toxicity

    thresholds for aquatic species in six subsequent water sampling events. Adherence to VDOT’s CIPP specifications for styrenebased

    liners is expected to minimize contaminant leaching from the installation and use of this product. Following UV CIPP

    installations, no water quality impacts were documented from culvert outlets with water flow but styrene concentrations

    following one of the installations exceeded toxicity thresholds for aquatic species in standing water.

    The study recommends that VDOT consider revising its current CIPP specifications such that styrene-based CIPP

    requirements also apply to non–styrene-based CIPP installations. Because the water quality evaluations conducted in this study

    could not capture the range of potential field scenarios and installation variables, the VDOT specification that requires the

    collection and analyses of water and soil samples following CIPP installations would provide VDOT with additional sampling

    results from liners installed in varying field conditions and help ensure that VDOT is using this lining technology with

    appropriate environmental safeguards.

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