Hurricane Maria Damaged Wastewater Infrastructure
In December 2023, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded $40 million to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) to repair sewer infrastructure and replace the equipment damaged by Hurricane María.
Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept 20, 2017 as a Category 4 storm, causing significant damage to the island. The island was still recovering from Hurricane Irma, which hit the U.S. territory two weeks earlier with high winds.
FEMA allocated over $37 million to repair the trunk sewer that originates in Isabela, passes through Aguadilla, Moca, and Aguada, and reaches Rincón. The Isabela-Aguada sanitary trunk sewer, which provides wastewater services to over 18,000 residents, is approximately 10 kilometers long, with pipes ranging from 21 to 54 inches in diameter.
The trunk sewer is the main sewer line that receives wastewater flow from the collector sewer and conveys this wastewater either to an intercepting sewer or a treatment plant. The trunk sewer is a significant part of the sewer network. Manholes form an essential part of this system as they are a necessary access point to undertake inspection and repairs.
Before beginning repairs, PRASA performed a sewer inspection to determine the locations of the defects in the trunk sewer line. The inspection of the sewer network was completed with closed-circuit television (CCTV) video pipe inspection cameras. CCTV inspections provide a comprehensive assessment of the state of the pipe walls and the location of the damages. A report was generated for PRASA, providing video and photographs of pipe defects and geolocation of the defects. The data from video pipe inspection is critical to structural engineers to determine the maintenance plan for the trunk sewer system.
“These renovations will greatly improve the quality of life and health of many communities. Municipalities will be able to prevent or reduce sewage overflows along their roads and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority will have the resources to ensure that drinking water meets local and federal standards,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero.
This pipeline rehabilitation project is planned to be completed with a non-invasive trenchless technology known as Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP), which involves inserting a flexible liner inside the existing pipe, inflating the liner, and exposing it to heat or ultraviolet light to dry and harden the liner inside the pipe. The liner forms a smooth surface inside the existing pipe, restoring it to near-new condition. The CIPP installation method is fast, does not require excavation, minimizes destruction to the surrounding area, and extends the useful life of the sewer for about 50 years. Cured-in-place pipe technology includes applications for full length lining, spot or sectional repair, and main to lateral connection seals.
PRASA has successfully used CIPP technology to repair other sanitary pipes in areas such as Guayama, Ponce, Carolina, and Loíza.
Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, the Executive Director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) stated that “the PRASA team that is leading the reconstruction and modernization of the aqueduct system is doing an excellent job repairing the trunk sewer line, plus completing the reconstruction of several of its facilities with additional FEMA funds.”
GPRS Sewer Inspection Services
Sewer line damage often calls for professional repair and excavation. Prior to repairing or replacing sewer infrastructure, many companies contact GPRS for a thorough sewer inspection, also sometimes known as a sewer scope. GPRS provides a wide range of services in the United States and Puerto Rico that aid water management services and water and wastewater treatment plants.
GPRS Video Pipe Inspection Services
GPRS has a team of sewer inspection experts, equipped with industry-leading cameras, ready to deploy and crawl your sewer system. Sewer problems can quickly be visualized and documented with video pipe inspection (VPI) services and NASSCO-certified reporting. GPRS professionals use cutting-edge CCTV sewer inspection crawlers to explore underground sewer lines and lateral pipelines to pinpoint the exact location of any problem. All GPRS Project Managers are NASSCO trained and certified to locate clogs, investigate cross-bores, find structural faults and damages, and conduct lateral sewer line inspections.
GPRS 3D Laser Scanning Services
GPRS provides 3D laser scanning and BIM modeling services for Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities to deliver reliable, high-quality as-builts of the facility. 3D laser scanning quickly documents existing site conditions in the form of a point cloud, capturing precise details of the interior and exterior of buildings, foundations, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing features, equipment, motors, conduit, and piping down to ½ inch diameter. 3D laser scanning delivers an overall site plan with building footprints, MEP detail, tank calculations, connection points, and more to make informed decisions. Clients receive the level of detail necessary to plan for renovations or route new designs around existing equipment, avoiding clashes and interferences. GPRS 3D laser scanning delivers valuable insight to plan Water and Wastewater Treatment facility upgrades and maintenance. We work directly with municipalities, engineering and architectural firms, and privately owned facilities.
GPRS VPI Project Manager, Marco Del Pezo recently collected NASSCO-certified WinCan video, photos, pipe conditions, and defect data of 1,700 linear feet of sanitary sewer lines underneath the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, part of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base located on the island. Read more about this project here.
Founded in 2001, GPRS Intelligently Visualizes The Built World® above and below ground. We are the nation’s largest infrastructure visualization and mapping company with Project Managers in every primary market in the United States. Our services include Utility Locating, Concrete Scanning, Video Pipe Inspection, Leak Detection, and 3D Laser Scanning.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is video pipe inspection?
Video Pipe Inspection or VPI is a sewer inspection service using CCTV video cameras to mitigate or prevent infrastructure damage by inspecting underground water, sewer lines, and lateral pipelines. GPRS's NASSCO certified technicians can locate clogs, investigate cross bores, find structural faults and damages, and conduct lateral sewer line inspections.
What is a trunk sewer?
Trunk sewer pipes are one of the main sewer lines in the wastewater collection system. They collect and carry wastewater from your local sewer pipes to an interceptor sewer pipe or directly to the regional wastewater treatment facility. Trunk sewer pipes are to local sewer pipes as arterial streets are to neighborhood streets.
What is a BIM Building Information Modeling?
Building information modeling (BIM) is an intelligent software modeling process that engineers, contractors, and architects (AECs) can use to collaborate on a building’s design, construction, and operation. It’s more than just a model. It’s a process of collecting and managing data throughout a building’s entire life cycle.