Green Materials for Doubling the Life of Drinking Water Pipeline

EPA Contract Number: EPD14011
Title: Green Materials for Doubling the Life of Drinking Water Pipeline
Investigators: Butler, James
Small Business: HJ3 Composite Technologies, LLC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015
Project Amount: $99,693
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water Infrastructure Rehabilitation


Of the18,000 miles of pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) within the drinking water transmission infrastructure laid between 1945 and 1996 in the United States, almost one-half, or 8,600 miles of pipe, is considered to be end-of-life infrastructure, awaiting funding for replacement. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the United States a grade of D for its drinking water infrastructure, partially due to the 240,000 water main breaks that occur annually (approximately 65 7 per day) across the country, at an annual cost to repair of $42 billion. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the federal government must spend $384 billion to replace and repair all aging drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years. Taking into consideration population growth, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates the total Federal, State and private industry cost to exceed $1 trillion over the next 25 years for drinking water pipeline repair / replacements. Absent funding for replacement, a solution is needed for extending the life of the nation's 48" and narrower diameter, human-inaccessible, drinking water infrastructure; no conventional solutions exist beyond replacement. HJ3 Composite Technologies of Tucson, AZ, an innovative green materials manufacturer and infrastructure repair firm, is proposing new materials, manufacturing techniques and installation processes to repair and extend the life of existing narrow diameter drinking water infrastructure by at least 25 years. The new material is a carbon fabric, utilizing pockets woven along the width of the fabric to envelope multiple carbon tows stacked within the pocket until the desired fabric strength and thickness is achieved to affect repair. This pocket weave design embeds a carbon filament within the fabric for conducting electricity to cure the impregnated fabric from the inside out after placement within the narrow underground pipe.
The resulting process includes resistive heating of the carbon matrix for faster and more consistent in-pipe repair curing times. HJ3 will insert this technology into a pipe and pressurize the system into place using an airbag. An electrical current will then be transmitted through the carbon filament to cure the material in situ. The result is a CFRP pipe within a pipe rated for potable drinking water and the pipe's design pressure.

Supplemental Keywords:

green materials, drinking water, pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe, PCCP, carbon filament

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report