Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Case Study: Leaks in Wastewater Treatment Plant Sealed to Prevent Environmental Contamination

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jun 10, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Case Study - Leaks in Wastewater Treatment Plant

Body - Case Study - Leaks in Wastewater Treatment PlantAging infrastructure is a common problem in municipalities across North America. Wastewater treatment tanks with leaking cracks are a particularly serious problem because the result is often environmental contamination. Administrators at a wastewater treatment plant in New York City contracted LJS Waterproofing to repair 39 leaking concrete tanks. An experienced LJS crew arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, ready to take on this critical threat to the environment.

Powerful Polymer

The LJS crew injected Spetec PUR F400 to seal the leaking cracks. This material is a solvent and phthalate-free, water-reactive, hydrophobic, closed-cell, low viscosity, shrink-free, flexible, one-component polyurethane injection resin designed to shut off water leaks.

Painless Procedure

Concrete crack injection with polyurethane resin is a five-step process:

  1. Drill the injection hole.
  2. Flush debris out of the hole with water.
  3. Install the injection port.
  4. Flush the crack with water.
  5. Inject the resin.

For a complete overview of the crack injection process LJS professionals used on this job, see the Alchemy-Spetec blog post series 5 Steps of Concrete Crack Injection.

Rapid Result

LJS Waterproofing sealed every leaking crack in all 39 concrete tanks, preventing any future wastewater from leaking into the surrounding environment. The administrators at the New York City wastewater treatment plant were extremely happy with the results.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Erin Rothman - In I&I, Effective Monitoring Leads to Effective Repairs

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jun 8, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - In-I&I,-Effective-Monitoring-Leads-to-Effective-Repairs

Body - In-I&I,-Effective-Monitoring-Leads-to-Effective-RepairsThis article is an excerpt from Episode 13 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Erin Rothman - Founder and CEO of StormSensor. (If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Charlie Lerman: Do you ever get involved with EPA Consent Decrees where they've said to a municipality, "Your system's all hosed up. You need to get this fixed and you're going to do it in this time frame." Did they ever call you in for that type of monitoring or anything like that?

Erin Rothman: The consent decree programs we've been a part of have been on the combined sewer side. And a lot of that is looking at obviously when overflow is happening, how significant the overflow is. We can quantify it given in tidal locations, so being able to separate different tidal sources or flow sources. But then, really, in doing that, helping them really understanding the total volume that needs to be addressed instead of the modeled volume and incorporating that into long-term control plans.

Charlie: Gotcha. Because a lot of municipalities, especially when they're slapped with a consent decree, just think, "We just need to increase the system capacity. We need to make it bigger. We need a bigger plan." Or something like that.

Erin: Yes, increase the budget to pay the fines.

Charlie: Right. And mitigation oftentimes is a great solution that helps or even gets them to where they need to be.

Erin: Exactly. And there are all different ways you can do it. It does not just mean increasing the size of the pipe and putting them over there.

Charlie: No. That's obviously where chemical grouting comes in. That's a small portion of how to control some things. And also with chemical grouting, you find saving opportunities just right there at the manhole. A lot of these people think, “We don't have a budget to start this” or “We don't even know where to start”. But there are some really simple things. When you look at a 10 gallon a minute leak in a manhole - that is roughly, depending what part of the country you're in, between about 12 to $25 000 a year in treatment costs. 

Erin: That's one leak.

Charlie: Right, one leak. And something like that is usually super easy to repair. We're talking a couple of thousand dollars, one day, one crew out there and they can immediately repair it. You see, that $3000 you paid to fix that manhole saves $25000 that year. It's very simple stuff and I really feel that we need some champions out there to get people to understand this. Maybe some type of push with our legislators. This is kind of a passion that I’ve found and it goes great with trying to be more environmentally friendly and saving money at the same time. Who's against this kind of thing? And I don't understand why we're not doing more of it.

Erin: Exactly and providing jobs for the people to do the maintenance and creating those repairs.

View the video version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Alchemy-Spetec Launches Manufacturing Facility in Reno, NV

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jun 3, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Alchemy-Spetec-Launches-Manufacturing-Facility-in-Reno,-NV

Body - Alchemy-Spetec-Launches-Manufacturing-Facility-in-Reno,-NVAlchemy-Spetec is pleased to announce the opening of a Western region manufacturing facility and grout lab in Reno, Nevada. Leak Seal and Geotech products are both currently stocked at this new location. Customers in the Western states will benefit from faster shipments. Alchemy-Spetec’s industry-leading tech support team will offer training programs and grout labs at the Reno location in the near future.

Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Oeder explains, “This effort is part of an ongoing commitment to providing easily accessible infrastructure repair products and technical training to contractors from coast to coast. We’re acutely aware of the tight deadlines our customers often face and we’re laser-focused on making sure our products and support expertise are always available.” President & CEO Stephen C. Barton adds, “Our new Reno facility is the latest step in our growth strategy. Serving customers on the West Coast by reducing transit time is our primary driver. We now have a one or two-day shipping point to the entire West Coast.”

For more information, contact:
Brian Oeder
VP Sales & Marketing
513-473-0062
boeder@alchemy-spetec.com

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Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Erin Rothman - The Origins of StormSensor I&I Monitoring Technology

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jun 3, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - The-Origins-of-StormSensor-I&I-Monitoring-Technology

Body - The-Origins-of-StormSensor-I&I-Monitoring-TechnologyThis article is an excerpt from Episode 13 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Erin Rothman - Founder and CEO of StormSensor. (If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Charlie Lerman: How did you get into this and how did you end up starting Storm Sensor? 

Erin Rothman: I think everyone's dream is to work in a sewer, so, of course, we start there! But I was a Vice President at a consulting company in Seattle, circa 2010-2011, and we brought in a stormwater group. For the first time in our company's history, we were losing money and we couldn't figure out why. When I talked to my stormwater team, they said that every time it rained at the office, they had to go out and sample their sites. Just because it was raining here doesn't mean it was raining there. So, they're going out like four times before they can collect a sample. And I said, "That's the silliest thing I’ve ever heard." Why don't we just have a rain gauge that texts us when it rains? And they said, why don't you go invent that? And I said, I will, I'm going to call it StormSensor. That's how it started as a little sparkle in my eye, but I had no hardware or software experience at the time. And I didn't know if I could even begin to put together a company like that. But as I started talking to more people in the stormwater industry and learned that there was a lot of frustration - and so much of it related to not knowing what was going on within these systems, I realized that maybe I could solve this problem with a team of brilliant people who could actually build the things that were in my head. That's how it started.

Charlie: That’s spectacular.

Erin: Yeah, I started with construction and industrial compliance because that was my background. And I started talking to cities and so many of them said they just needed to know how much water was moving through their storm system. That it wasn't metered and they didn't know. That just opened up a world of opportunity to me.

Charlie: Wow! That’s excellent. When you deal with below-grade infrastructure, there are a lot of needs but they're not really well defined. Nobody even focuses on them because it's out of sight out of mind. And I often say even for grouting, Alchemy-Spetec's biggest competitor is not another grout company - it's ignorance. People just don't understand that this kind of technology, these types of repairs (or your monitoring system) are even out there. And I think that's because municipalities are on tight budgets obviously. We want them that way, we don't want to just throw money at them. We want them to use the funds correctly. But you get a lot of people who start off at low-level positions in municipalities and then there's turnover, they move up, they go on to other things. And a lot of information is lost there. So, it's not necessarily that the government's just bad. It's kind of the nature of it, we all want to grow in our careers but these things get left behind.

Erin: Absolutely. And then the people paying for it, the citizens and taxpayers, want to see the benefit of what they're spending their money on. If you can't see it, then why would you pay for something that you can't see, that you can't understand? If you wait to fix it is once it stops working, it's too late because you're dealing with flooding and backups and paying too much for treatment and everything else.

Charlie: Oddly enough, it’s going back to that study I mentioned earlier in this interview, the 188 million dollars for I&I repairs - paying that is actually the easy part of it. What it comes down to is that inflow also causes damage to infrastructure. You see sinkholes and damage to property, potentially harmful or life-threatening conditions. And then, when these systems overflow, you're putting septic out there in the public, damaging our waterways and our health.

Erin: Yes, and sometimes even our homes and our businesses and the people who live and/or work there. It's becoming a lot more common.

View the video version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Erin Rothman - I&I Monitoring Technology Detects River Backflowing Into Combined Sewer System

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jun 1, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - I&I-Monitoring-Technology-Detects-River-Backflowing-Into-Combined-Sewer-System

Body - I&I-Monitoring-Technology-Detects-River-Backflowing-Into-Combined-Sewer-SystemThis article is an excerpt from Episode 13 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Erin Rothman - Founder and CEO of StormSensor. (If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Charlie Lerman: Have you ever found or identified anything that’s just an anomaly, something that's completely unexpected that you surprised the city with, or anything like that?

Erin Rothman: Once or twice, yes. One example was in Memphis. We were working as part of a larger group to do a model validation study for the storm system because Memphis was dealing with a lot of flooding. And most model validation studies have sensors that are deployed in a limited number of locations and for a very short period of time - one to three months usually. We were deployed for about six months before we got a call claiming that all of our sensors were broken because we were reading four feet of depth, four feet of water in all of the pipes. And that it was flowing backward, and all that was impossible. This is why whoever was running the project didn't like new technology.

But we're thinking like, for every sensor to show this, there's got to be something. I mean, we've never seen it with even one sensor, but if the whole thing's acting up... So, we called the city and they had no idea what was going on. We asked them to go check it out and they came back and said, "Oh, my gosh, there is four feet of water in these pipes and it's flowing backward!" What could possibly be going on? So, they talked to the guys at the plant on the Mississippi River and they said, "Oh, yeah, every time the river hits a certain stage, we open up the gates and then use the storm system for storage." But you're telling me that it goes more than a mile into the system.

So, what we had is a situation where no one really understood that the river was filling the storm system and taking up at least half the capacity on a pretty regular basis. So, when you combine heavy rain and high-water levels, all of which are going into a storm system that is designed to hold only rainwater, you have some pretty significant flooding impacts. Now, what they do is before a storm comes, they close the gates, empty out the storm system, and clear that out.

View the video version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Erin Rothman - Measuring Water Levels for I & I Management

Posted by Kreg Thornley on May 27, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Measuring-Water-Levels-for-I-&-I-Management-2

Body - Measuring-Water-Levels-for-I-&-I-Management-3This article is an excerpt from Episode 13 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Erin Rothman - Founder and CEO of StormSensor. (If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Charlie Lerman: So, Erin, first off, let's talk about what StormSensor does.

Erin Rothman: Generally, we work with cities across the country to help them understand how much water moves through their storm sewer and coastal systems. We're deployed in every region of the United States. We are in sanitary systems, combined systems, and storm systems. And now we're also looking above ground. We're basically monitoring the volume of water that's moving through these systems and then combining that data with climate information to identify trends that may be tied to storm events versus those that are related more to groundwater or other I&I issues.

Charlie: So, ideally then, you're gaining real-time data detailing what's going on in your system rather than just some snapshot stuff?

Erin: Exactly. We typically deploy for a minimum of a year. Pretty dense resolution networks. Some are installed at almost every junction. These systems are so variable that understanding what's happening between them can give you an idea of where you can target specific mitigation actions.

View the video version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Coating Failure Caused by Moisture

Posted by Charlie Lerman on May 25, 2021 10:00:00 AM

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Moisture and Coating Failure

When you look into why coatings fail, moisture is always in the top five reasons. It's often the main reason in below-grade structures. Coatings can act as negative side waterproofing even if that was not their intended purpose. Water and time are powerful forces, look at the Grand Canyon.

Coating manufacturers have volumes written on the proper handling, mixing, and surface preparation for their coating. Sadly most just tell you moisture is a problem but do not say how to address it.
 

Addressing Leaks, Moisture, & Vapor Transfer

Contractors use Alchemy-Spetec grouts to address active leaks, intermittent leaks, and even moisture and vapor transfer through the substrate. Crack injection or curtain grouting with a polyurethane resin that forms a closed-cell foam will stop these moisture problems.
 
"But I am in the coatings industry, not a grouter". Coatings are typically more complex to handle and require more expensive/complicated equipment to install than polyurethane grout. If you are already applying coatings, then chemical grouting will be easy to add to your repertoire. This will save you time and money. You won't have to sub out the waterproofing portion of your job.
 
Alchemy-Spetec's industry-leading field service department is here to train you and help with all your grouting needs.

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Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Charlie Lerman Interviews Erin Rothaman - CEO & Founder of StormSensor

Posted by Kreg Thornley on May 20, 2021 2:26:00 PM

Banner - Charlie Lerman Interviews Erin Rothaman - CEO & Founder of StormSensor

Body - Charlie Lerman Interviews Erin Rothaman - CEO & Founder of StormSensorEpisode 13 of The Injection Connection: Who budgets $188 million annually to treat groundwater? The state of Tennessee does, not that they want to. A 2014 study (Kurz I/I Survey) found that roughly 45% of the water treated from their collection system was from inflow. But the treatment costs are just part of the issue. Inflow can and often does wash fines into the collection system. This has many effects. One, reduced system capacity due to these soils sitting in the pipes. Two, potential sinkholes from the loss of soils over time. A third impact is the increased wear and tear on the system, especially lift station pumps. Lastly, and the easiest to see is sanitary overflows and backups that pollute the environment and can damage property. So, with such a clear issue that obviously needs addressing, why isn’t it being addressed? In this episode, Charlie Lerman discusses these issues with Erin Rothman, the CEO & Founder of StormSensor.

Watch the episode in its entirety below, or check it out on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

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Starting Up a Slab Lifting Business

Posted by Andy Powell on May 18, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Starting-Up-a-Slab-Lifting-Business

Body - Starting-Up-a-Slab-Lifting-BusinessIn this post, I provide an overview of a series of articles I wrote in 2018 on the basics of starting up a slab lifting business.

Subjects Covered in This Series

In this blog post series, we address some of the key points and considerations that slab-lifting startups frequently face. With so many years of market experience, we are uniquely positioned and qualified to offer this guidance. Because we are passionate about what we do, we are motivated to be part of your success story! Some of the topics we will cover include:

So You’re Thinking About Starting a Slab Lifting Company: Key Considerations

Slab lifting is an economical alternative to complete concrete replacement, be it a simple sidewalk repair or providing a cost-effective remedy for an entire building foundation.

If someone asked you to drive to Seattle, would you get in your car and take off, or would you look at a map first? A business and marketing plan is the roadmap for your slab lifting/concrete leveling business. It will help you define and stay true to your path, and it’s a tool you will need to attain startup financing.

Whether your goal is to launch a slab lifting venture that caters to home or business owners, you also will need a dependable, knowledgeable supplier who will not only sell you slab lifting pumps, guns and foams - but also serve as a trusted advisor.
Click here to read more...

Slab Lifting Market Hot Zones

Once you’re ready to make the move to start up a slab lifting business, one of your first areas of focus should be identifying and defining your service areas and your potential customer base within each sector or area. Broadly speaking, there are three viable market segments to explore for slab lifting services: Residential, Commercial, and Municipal.
Click here to read more...

Selling the Customer: Why Polyurethane Slab Lifting Is the Better Choice

The first question any engineer will ask is “Does the solution fit the needs of the application?” When it comes to structural foams used for slab lifting repair projects, you can confidently answer “yes.” But if you want to guide your customer to a concrete leveling repair solution, you should also be able to illustrate the pros, explain the cons, and enunciate the selling points.
Click here to read more...

Marketing Your Slab Lifting Business

Marketing your new slab lifting business takes time and the right approach. If your slab lifting business is a small to medium-sized operation, tools and strategies that increase your market presence and help you attract leads are extremely important.
Click here to read more...

Essential Gear for Starting Your Next Generation Slab Lifting Business

Slab lifting with polymers is rapidly replacing old technologies because it’s fast, strong, doesn’t shrink, and has a low impact on the environment. So it’s no surprise that we get a lot of inquiries from contractors interested in adding this service, in addition to individuals wanting to create a startup slab lifting business. So what exactly are we talking about in terms of the essential gear?

A slab lifting rig is a rolling business unto itself. It is a self-contained, turnkey, mobile unit that has all of the equipment necessary to perform the work. There are a variety of configurations but all of these setups will contain the following: Trailer or Box Truck, Power Source, Compressed Air System, Fluid Transfer System, Proportioner Pump, Heated Hoses, and Impingement Gun. Let’s look at these in more detail.
Click here to read more...

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Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips

Josh Van Hook on the Importance of Keeping Leak Seal Products in Stock

Posted by Kreg Thornley on May 13, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Josh Van Hook on the Importance of Keeping Leak Seal Products in Stock

Body - Josh Van Hook on the Importance of Keeping Leak Seal Products in StockThis article is an excerpt from Episode 12 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Outside Sales Representative at All-Tex Supply, Inc. Josh Van Hook. Josh has over 18 years of experience as a distributor in Austin, TX and one of his passions has been chemical grouts. (If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Charlie Lerman: As manufacturers, we love to do all these demos and training sessions and all that kind of stuff. As a dealer, what do you see that seems to be most effective, that helps out your contractors the most, and that leads to more sales generation for you guys?

Josh Van Hook: In my eyes, as a distributor, we get paid to keep material on the shelf and keep stuff in stock. To me, that's probably the most important thing: being able to provide the product to the customer when it's needed. Unfortunately, chemical grouts are not something that most people have plenty of time to plan ahead for, and put together orders and wait for them to be shipped in. As a distributor, that’s what I’ve always focused on. One point I emphasize to the guys that have worked under me (and the guys that I’ve worked for have emphasized to me) is that you've got to have material to be able to sell it. That's the number one thing in my mind regarding a benefit that we can provide to the contractors. That and a little bit of knowledge.

Charlie: Exactly as I led off with at the beginning of our conversation, the three most important things - first off is it there? So, I remember when I was a contractor, we had a chemical grout company talk to us and it sounded great. We were all set, we're going to switch over to their products. And like, when do we get it? Like, you let us know and we'll ship it out to you, it’ll be there in three days. Like, okay, we're done here.

Josh: Yeah, that doesn't work. From our side of it, if we have it, we're going to sell it. That's the main thing.

View the video version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips