Stop Inflow & Infiltration With Tim’s Tips

Inflow and infiltration

We began sharing Tim’s Tips in 2022, and have since shared over a dozen tips. The tips focus on helping public works departments, municipalities and utilities stop inflow and infiltration, and ultimately save money for their organization.

Let’s take a look back at some of Tim’s Tips:

  • If your city, municipality, utility company or telecommunications company is based in an area that experiences harsh winters and as a result, uses chemicals to clear the snow and ice, look for manhole sealing products that can stand up to chemicals. Some materials, like concrete will corrode due to these chemicals. Corrosion can create opportunities for inflow and infiltration, which can cause your organization money over time.
  • Consider using composite manhole grade rings vs. concrete. Composite rings like rubber, or expanded polypropylene, are easier to make water tight than concrete rings. And water tight means less inflow and infiltration.
  • When choosing a manhole grade adjustment system, it’s important to choose the grade rings that will last the longest. For example, Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) is a durable, long-lasting material that stands up to harsh chemicals.
  • A great way to check to see if you have an infiltration problem is to pop open a few manhole covers on a rainy day. You will quickly see if you have an infiltration issue.
  • If you’re in an area that is prone to potholes or sinkholes, make a plan to stop infiltration. When you stop infiltration, the number, and frequency, of potholes and sink holes will reduce.
  • Preventing infiltration can reduce the need to expand the wastewater treatment plant. This can result in less capital expenditures, lower taxes and an increased emphasis on other areas of the city.
  • Applied sealing products require a variety of tools and equipment to prepare the manhole and frame surfaces. Mechanical seals require minimal hand tools to prepare the manhole and frame, which means mechanical seals can be installed faster.
  • Installing EPP on a concrete catch basin requires proper cleaning, and leveling. Clean the top surface of the catch basin to be sure no loose materials or debris is left behind. On existing structures, use a chipping hammer, chisel, wire brush and whisk broom to remove any excess mortar or foreign materials to obtain a flat, clean sealing surface. If the surface on top of the catch basin is irregular or prevents the first ring from sitting level without rocking and without voids, place a thick bed of the specified non-shrink mortar or grout on the surface and rough in.
  • Longevity is a key factor to consider when selecting manhole chimney seals. A chimney seal that lasts a long time means fewer repairs and less money spent on I&I issues or replacement.
  • Whenever possible, test manhole sealing solutions out before committing to buying large quantities. Testing products out ahead of time ensures your team has a solid understanding of how they work and helps highlight the effectiveness of the product in stopping inflow and infiltration.
  • When thinking about I&I, consider the Big Picture. I&I effects the collection system, wastewater plants, pavement life, pumps, water quality and the safety of employees and those living/traveling in the area.
  • Buying the cheapest product, without taking the time to do a complete cost analysis of all factors related to I&I can be a huge mistake. Be sure to analyze labor costs to install (or maintain) the product, product lifespan, future replacement costs, workman’s comp claims due to injuries, time required to close the designated area, etc. When it comes to I&I, working smarter and planning ahead, can go a long way towards solving I&I.

We’ve been sharing more of Tim’s Tips on LinkedIn and Facebook. We encourage you to check them out, and follow up page to receive these tips regularly.