The Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) relies on 10-year Strategic Master Plans to set its priorities for meeting the community’s needs in a cost effective way in its ongoing effort to be an industry-leading utility. The 2010 plan – reviewed and updated in 2015 – identified managing aging, underground infrastructure, such as wastewater collection pipes, cost effectively as a challenge to be addressed.
CCWA launched Project PipeFix in late 2015. This long-term program to renew the large pipes known as outfalls throughout the wastewater collection system. The effort will be completed in numerous phases across the county. The Flint River Outfall Replacement is just one of these projects.
What Is An Outfall?
Outfalls range from 18 inches in diameter to 60 inches and form the backbone of the wastewater collection system. Smaller sewer pipes that serve neighborhoods and business districts feed into outfalls which then carry the wastewater to one of CCWA’s water reclamation facilities.
Project PipeFix will renew CCWA’s collection system in a variety of ways making it better for this generation and the next. The oldest outfalls will be renewed first with more advanced, corrosion-resistant pipes. Open cut is the most direct approach to renewal. CCWA will also use trenchless technology in more challenging areas to minimize above ground impacts.
The open cut method involves digging a trench to install a new pipe and then connecting it to the existing system. Cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) involves inserting a liner into the old pipe, but still functional pipe essentially creating a new pipe at a lesser cost. This renews the pipe with limited above ground disturbance.
Pipe bursting involves pushing a new larger pipe into an older, smaller pipe. This increases the pipeline’s capacity while following the same path and limits the above ground disturbance.
Working in Easements and What That Means for You
Project PipeFix work will take place in CCWA’s easements. An easement, also known as a right-of-way, is a strip of land the property owner maintains ownership of but grants specific rights to an entity such as CCWA. An easement can be permanent or temporary and property owners are compensated for their use.
Permanent easements allow CCWA to operate, maintain and repair or replace pipelines. Generally, permanent structures, trees or anything else that could affect CCWA’s ability to safely operate and maintain the pipeline are not allowed on easements.
Temporary easements are granted by a property owner for a specific purpose and amount of time.
For Project PipeFix, CCWA may need temporary easements for construction. Temporary easements provide additional workspace for construction crews, create a buffer for the property owner directly affected, and can help decrease a project’s impact on traffic in the area.