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.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec leak seal products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

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...

Want some information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

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...

Want some information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

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...

Want some information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

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...

Want some information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Coating Failure Caused by Moisture

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

Banner - Coating Failure Caused by Moisture

Body - Coating Failure Caused by Moisture

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.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec leak seal products?

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?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

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...

Want some information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips

Josh Van Hook Looks Back on His Most Interesting Grout Jobs

Posted by Kreg Thornley on May 11, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner-Josh Van Hook Looks Back on His Most Interesting Grout Jobs

Body-Josh Van Hook Looks Back on His Most Interesting Grout JobsThis 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: Going back through 18 years, what are a couple of unique, interesting jobs that pop up in your mind, specific grout jobs?

Josh Van Hook: There are quite a few. One of the first ones that I was on, this was probably 15 years ago, where I actually went to the site with one of my old bosses at that point in time - it was an elevator pit and the shaft was leaking. This was the first time I'd ever been on to a job site down in that capacity.  I sat there in the corner and just watched as they lowered the smallest guy on the crew down into a manhole or up to the elevator shaft, with a tube of grout and he started injecting. Obviously, that one sticks out just because it was one of the first ones I was on.

Charlie: Was that right next to a quarry?

Josh: That was, yep. I believe you were out there.

Charlie: We were on that together! Holy cow! I totally forgot about that job.

Josh: Like I said, for some reason after all these years, that's the one that sticks out the most. And then, there are some pretty neat ones down in San Antonio. There was a botanical garden job that we were on and we got to go out there on a regular basis. And it's just neat seeing some of that stuff and then also watching the contractors work. Some of those guys are like artists in how they do that kind of stuff.

Charlie: There are some people that are just really incredible and almost to the prima donna point where they've got to have everything set up perfectly. But yeah, they can massage the grout and do some special things out there. That one at the elevator pit, they were lowering a guy down into the shaft. There were only like 36 inches and it was filling up with water. He had like five minutes of work and then we had to pull him up. We'd get the pipe down there, drain it. It just kept going back and forth.

Josh: Yeah, and I was still green at that point. I’m sitting in the back corner just wondering to myself, what did I get myself into? And here we are, still doing it.

View the video version of this excerpt...

Want some information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips

Josh Van Hook & Charlie Lerman Contemplate “Grout Nirvana”

Posted by Kreg Thornley on May 6, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Josh Van Hook & Charlie Lerman Contemplate Grout Nirvana

Body - Josh Van Hook & Charlie Lerman Contemplate Grout NirvanaThis 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: One of the things I’d like to say - and I hope you can add on to this because it's right there in the Austin area - is there's a standard kind of tick you'll find from distribution that people just come in, pick up a couple of pails a month or something like that. But then, we have these what I like to call “grout nirvana” jobs that just all sudden pop up. They're typically no bid. I think within the last couple of years, we had (without really going to the contractor's name or the job specifically) a close to $50, 000 just on the grout material side job that came up within a few days there, right?

Josh Van Hook: Yeah, obviously the grouting world is very up and down due to the weather pattern, too. And so, we'll go for a stretch without selling anything really big. Then all of a sudden, you'll have something break loose and you'll have a bunch of rain or you'll have the weather change. And all of a sudden, it’s nothing to sell 25, 50, $75 000 worth of grout on any given job just because they've got to have it.

Charlie: Those things get kind of hard to forecast both on the manufacturer side and on the distributor side because you look at, you’re like, well, how much we're going to do with Alchemy-Spetec this year? And you're like, well, last year, we did this but it's up and down because you hit those job specifics.

Josh: Correct. And with the grouts, you just don't know what you're going to get. We go into corporate meetings and talk about forecasting and whatnot. Over the years, I’ve learned that you really can't forecast your chemical grout sales for the year just because no one knows how far a bucket of grout's going to go. One bucket could do a whole job or one bucket could turn into 100 buckets. You have no idea until you get in there.

View the video version of this excerpt...

Want some information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips