News & Project Profiles

Pipeline Replacement at Depth

By: David Gill, Logan Clay Products LLC

The City of Santa Rosa, CA needed to replace an 1,800 foot section of their North Trunk Sewer Main in a heavily traveled area of the city near the courts, administrative offices, and the environmentally sensitive Paulin Creek Reserve. Emergency access to the area needed to be maintained at all times. A dramatic topography meant that some of the homes were 40 feet below the road surface.

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Maintaining A Slope Of Just 0.20 Percent

By: Steve Matheny, P.E.

As problems arise in older sewer systems, the challenges are becoming more and more common. A developed area with existing utilities, a need to maintain access to residences and businesses, mature trees and landscaping, and a need to replace and enlarge an existing collection line – these are some of the issues we are seeing more frequently.

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Precision Line and Grade Overflow Project – On-Time & Under-Budget!

By: Ryan Haubenschild, Bore Master Inc.
The City of Milwaukee had a problematic sewer shed. The residents in the area were experiencing frequent basement backups during large rainfall events. The City hired Clark Dietz, Inc. to study the system and identify possible solutions.

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Clay Pipe Has a New Standard

CLEANER, August, 2022
By: Jeff Boschert, P.E.

The ASTM International published a new standard practice for cleaning vitrified clay pipelines.

Until now, there was not a governing standard applicable to a collections system after it was placed in service.

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Know Thy Pipe

APRIL, 2022
By: Giles Lambertson

Did you know that high-pressure jetting of sewer pipes can damage some materials?

“All sewer pipe can be damaged,” says Kent Carlson, vice president of the National Clay Pipe Institute. 

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Lessons Learned on Challenging PTM Project

By: Steve Matheny, PE and Greg Marker, PE

Novi, MI is a growing area 25 miles northwest of Detroit.  On this PTM project, they ran in to cobbles, flowing sands and dewatering constraints from Environment, Great Lakes & Energy.

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Trenchless Installation as the Economical Choice:
Mission Bay & Pacific Beach CA

Western Regional Trenchless Review
December, 2021
By: Jeff Boschert P.E.

The communities of Mission Bay and Pacific Beach, in San Diego, CA (the City) are much like many other oceanfront areas with high tourism, and high-water tables; they have an expectation of, and a need for, uninterrupted services.

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Important Considerations When Selecting a Sewer Cleaning Nozzle

Cleaner, August, 2021
By: Kent Carlson

Effective sewer cleaning begins with nozzle selection, and the tier system isn’t as helpful as you might think.

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Elkhorn WWTF Decommissioning & Interceptor Sewer Extension

NUCA Business Journal
Spring, 2021

The project won the NUCA 2020 Top Jobs category for Sanitary Sewer Collection & Storm Drains.

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NCPI Introduces Operations & Maintenance Handbook

Trenchless Technology
October, 2020

NCPI recently completed and published an Operations & Maintenance Handbook. One of the features of this handbook is a guide to the use of aggressive cleaning techniques to reduce SSOs (Sanitary Sewer Overflows).

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How 2 Reduce SSOs Through Aggressive Cleaning

Pipe Cleaning Pro
September 28, 2020
By: Kent Carlson

Stone Age Tools & Kent Carlson

Aggressive cleaning techniques applied within the structure of an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), are proven to significantly reduce SSOs, restore the designed operational capacity, reduce maintenance costs and extend the service life of the entire system.  

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GBM Ortiz Mission Bay Three Pass

Case Study, August 19, 2020
By: Akkerman

San Diego based contractor Ortiz Corporation, chooses trenchless sewer installation using Akkerman Guided Boring Equipment and No-Dig Pipe to help overcome difficult soils and high traffic install

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How to Select the Proper Nozzle

Pipe Cleaning Pro, Fall 2019
By: Kent Carlson

Hydro-jetting is one of the most common and most effective forms of cleaning sewers. By pumping water through a hose and using high-pressure jets to do the work, hydro-jetting
removes debris and grease build ups, cuts roots, clears blockages and flushes the sewer pipe.

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The Rediscovery of Vitrified Clay Pipe

Trenchless Technology, May, 2019
By: Jeff Boschert, P.E.

Municipalities across the country are rediscovering the value of the material properties of VCP.

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Pilot Tube Method Maintains Line and Grade and Confidence

Trenchless Technology, May 2019
By: Laura Anderson

A Midwest contractor completed a demanding deep shaft sanitary sewer upgrade using three-pass guided boring for the City of Fort Dodge, Iowa, to resolve infrastructure overloads, which led to a record no-dig installation.

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Pilot Tube Saves Time, Money and Trees

Midwest Journal of Trenchless Technology (MSTT)
September, 2018
By: Steve Matheny, P.E.

A relief sewer in an urban area with mature trees presents many challenges. St. Clair Shores, MI eventually selected the Pilot Tube Method as the right, economical and ecological approach. 

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Changing the Plan and Staying on Budget

Midwest Journal of Trenchless Technology (MSTT)
September, 2017
By: Steve Matheny, P.E.

Pilot Tube and Vitrified Clay Jacking Pipe Lowest Cost, Best Option for Clinton Township, MI 

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The Pilot Tube Method Preferred in Urban Core

Trenchless Technology
July, 2017
By Trenchless Technology

Trenchless installation with Pilot Tube Method provides a powerful solution for active, urban cores. 

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Modern Pipe with an Ancient Heritage

Trenchless Technology, May, 2017
By Jim Rush

National Clay Pipe Institute Marks 100th Anniversary Amidst Resurgence 

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The Dollars (and Sense) of Sanitary Sewer Pipe Material

by Trenchless Technology – 08/02/2016

Would you specify a sanitary sewer pipe that will rust, corrode, shrink, elongate, bend, deflect, erode, oxidize or deteriorate over time? 

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When Fair Competition Isn’t…Fair or Competition

by Water Finance & Management – 08/01/2016

Why would an industry advocate price-only legislation for engineering projects? The greatest long-term ROI favors consideration of all material properties. 

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Pilot Tube Guided Borning Downtown Minneapolis

by Midwest Journal of Trenchless Technology – 05/02/2016

120 year old clay pipe proves VCP durability. 

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LA Stages Its Own Success

by Municipal Sewer and Water – 05/01/2015

Find out how VCP contributes to a carefully coordinated effort that helps wastewater crews manage the largest collections system in the country. 

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Smart Practices for Reliable Infrastructure

by David Gill, Chris Koenig, Chris Cain, Tim Papstein – 12/01/2014

The Lauritzen Gardens Project, preserving a sensitive area with a 585-foot single drive at depths reaching 50 feet. Omaha, Nebraska, stretches along the Missouri River for seven miles and is under a consent order with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to improve water quality in the river.

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Pipe Material Least Cost or Best Value

by Water Utility Infrastructure Management – 12/01/2014

In the city of Tyler, Texas, a recently completed sanitary sewer project illustrates the water utility’s desire for both quality and value. 

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A Sewer Tour of LA’s Underground Tech

by Alissa Walker – 09/02/2014

Kent Carlson’s “Weapons of Mass De-Obstruction” and much more about tools and processes used in the Los Angeles sewer system.

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Pipe Cleaning in Delaware

by Sharon M. Bueno – 06/02/2014

New Castle County, DE, has taken a proactive approach to its sewer maintenance needs over the last 30 years in order to provide better service to its 400,000 population and reduce the frequency and severity of its sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).

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Pipe Bursting with “NO-DIG” Vitrified Clay Jacking Pipe Chosen for Challenging Phoenix Project

by IPBA, Trenchless Technology – 04/01/2014

Phoenix, Arizona, has experienced tremendous population growth  over the years, which has taxed its collection system.  Increased sewer flows from growth required larger diameter pipes to replace the smaller sizes to adequately accommodate these flows.

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Beating CSOs in Seatown

by Peter Kenter – 01/01/2014

Seattle has negotiated a unique consent decree that allows it to target stormwater runoff projects ahead of CSOs and SSOs.

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A Positive Outlook for the Clay Pipe Industry

by Jeff Boschert – 01/01/2014

With more than 5 billion feet of VCP installed in municipalities around the U.S. over the last 200-years, the industry has many reasons for a positive outlook. 

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Choosing Pilot Tube Microtunneling Over Open-Trench Construction

by Jeff Boschert – 01/01/2013

The city of Sergeant Bluff, IA selected trenchless installation even though it was not the lowest bid option. 

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How to Specify a Sustainable Sewer Pipe

by Tera Arthur – 12/01/2012

How do municipalities, engineers and systems managers know which environmental claims are credible, which claims are misleading and which claims are just plain green-washing?

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Boschert Takes the Helm at NCPI

by Water Utility Infrastructure Management – 12/01/2012

At a meeting of its Board of Directors, the National Clay Pipe Institute (NCPI) announced that Jeff Boschert has been promoted to president of the organization.

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Being Smart About Being Green

by Tera Arthur – 01/01/2012

Pipe designers and installers seek third-party certification to verify environmentally sound products.

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A City’s Renaissance

by Garret Richardson – 05/01/2011

Innovative construction techniques can provide solutions to the problems of decaying underground infrastructure seen in many cities in the developed world.

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End of April Means it’s ‘Clay’ Time

by Paul Apfel – 04/20/2011

Gladding, McBean involved in Art Exhibit in Lincoln, CA. April and May are Feats of Clay months in Lincoln. Now entering its 24th years, this celebration blends history and art in an exhibition of ceramic achievement. For full article please visit Lincoln News Messenger.

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Vitrified Clay Resurgence

by Jeff Boschert – 04/01/2011

As engineers in the U.S. and Canada discover that the 100 –200-year old clay pipe in their systems is still in good shape, they revisit Vitrified Clay.

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The Return of Vitrified Clay Pipe

by Michael Fielding – 03/01/2011

A new generation of engineers is learning why their predecessors specified more than 5 billion feet for the nation’s sewers. For some time, Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services had been interested in modern clay pipe. Each material offers advantages and disadvantages for different applications, but the long life cycle of vitrified clay was attractive. For the full article please visit Public Works. 

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Vitrified Clay Pipe in the Trenchless Industry

by Jeff Boschert – 02/01/2011

VCP has become the material of choice for some trenchless installation methods for many reasons, but the most commonly sited are a robust compressive strength, superior abrasion resistance and the longest lifecycle available. Vitrified Clay Pipe (VCP) has become the material of choice for some trenchless installation processes for many reasons, but the most commonly sited are a robust compressive strength, superior abrasion resistance and the longest lifecycle available. VCP is uniquely suited to pilot-tube microtunneling (PTMT), slurry microtunneling and static pipe bursting. 

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Past as Prologue

by Larry G. Tolby – 01/01/2011

In Portland, OR, the past reveals the best way forward for a 2,000-mile sewer system.  By 1883, the City had installed 15 miles of terra cotta pipe ranging in diameter from 9 to 18 inches.

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Not Your Great Grandfather’s Clay Pipe

by NCPI – 12/01/2010

Comparison of Old Clay Pipe versus New Clay Pipe. 

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Pipe Bursting with VCP

by Garrett Richardson – 01/01/2010

The City of Riverside, CA used pipe bursting with VCP to address design challenges in a densely populated area. 

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First Pilot Tube Microtunneling Projects

by The ICON Group, Trenchless Technology  – 07/2009

Pilot tube installation of 15- and 24-inch pipe in the State of Washington.  The small footprint of the pilot tube construction site allowed uninterrupted traffic flow.

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Clay Pipe and the Triple Bottom Line

by Mike VanDine – 09/01/2009

Vitrified clay pipe meets the needs of today – fiscally, socially and environmentally. It is the original sustainable infrastructure product. In the Modern World, oftentimes we get caught up in the mindset that newer is better. Sometimes, however, proven and time-tested technologies and materials may be the best option. Take Clay Pipe, for example. The case for vitrified clay pipe (VCP) in modern sewer systems is gaining attention nationwide. Major systems across the United States are returning to VCP. As they have more experience with competitive products they evaluate what they have learned and opt to return to VCP both for what is has been for thousands of years and for what it has become: the best long-term value for sewer pipe. 

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Implementing Asset Management – The Experience of Two Agencies

by NCPI – 09/01/2006

The American private sector has long been aware of the concept of Asset Management. The manufacturing sector of the American economy has long been developing systematic, proactive maintenance and operational procedures designed to make them more efficient and cost competitive in today’s global economy. But these attitudes have been slow to penetrate public-sector management practices. 

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Pilot Tube Microtunneling Catching On

by Jeff Boschert – 05/01/2006

First introduced to the U.S. in 1995, this guided boring process has grown to include pipe sizes of up to 27-inches I.D. and drive lengths of more than 400 feet. This article includes a brief explanation of how the process works. Pilot tube microtunneling (PTMT) has been increasing in popularity year after year since it was first introduced in the United States in 1995. This guided-boring process has grown to become a replacement for the early small diameter auger microtunnel machines. The entire article is available at Trenchless Technology.

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Maximizing Asset Value The Paradigm Shift In Today’s Wastewater Industry

by Michael VanDine, PE – 11/01/2005

We have all purchased something new that we thought was a good value. We were assured that it would work just like the more expensive model. Over time, we found that our purchase failed to meet our expectations and we had to buy the more expensive model to be sure we received value for the money we spent. What we thought was an asset became a liability. We bought cheap and we paid the price. 

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Utah’s First Pilot Tube Microtunnel

by Jeff Boschert – 06/24/2005

According to the City of Logan, the West Regional Sewer Project consists of nearly 4 miles of sewer line and a new lift station.

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ASTM and the National Clay Pipe Institute

by Edward Sikora – 08/01/2004

Historical article detailing the development of the clay pipe industry in America and the standards associated with clay products. 

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Discovering Why Pipes Fail

by Mr. Steve Ferry – 08/01/2002

Discussion of failure more analysis and its importance. Examples are primarily plastic pipe products. Good failure pictures in article. 

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Featured Projects

Pipe Materials: Least Cost or Best Value?

Competitive Sealed Proposal Examines Pipe Materials in Bidding Process In the City of Tyler, Texas, a recently completed sanitary sewer project illustrates the water utility’s desire for both quality and value.

The Phoenix project represented one of the most significant uses of the static pipe bursting method with new replacement VCP jacking pipe.
Pipe Bursting with “No-Dig” Vitrified Clay Jacking Pipe Chosen for Challenging Phoenix Pro

Phoenix, Ariz., has experienced tremendous population growth over the years, which has taxed its collection system. Increased sewer flows from growth required larger diameter pipes to replace the smaller sizes to adequately accommodate these flows.

Clay Pipe Used in Connecticut Sliplining Project

When sliplining projects are planned, clay pipe doesn’t come up on the radar of design engineers. When sliplining projects are planned, clay pipe doesn’t come up on the radar of design engineers. Municipalities and engineers look to other pipe, such as fusible PVC and HDPE, to serve as the product pipe and can view clay pipe as an archaic choice.

A City’s Renaissance

Garret Richardson on upsizing a dilapidated sewer in a tricky residential area

Past as Prologue

Portland Revisits Clay Pipe

Tevita Vaokakala (left) and Bobby Hayes, both with Seattle Public Utilities, finish cleaning a combined sewer along Main Street in downtown Seattle using a Vac-Con combination sewer cleaning truck.
Beating CSOS in Seatown

Seattle has negotiated a unique consent decree that allows it to target stormwater runoff projects ahead of CSOs and SSOs