Epoxy Lining Revitalizes Water Piping in University's Largest Dorm Complex

Jan. 1, 2010
Flow and purity of water said to be better than ever

Constructed in 1972, Moody Towers is the largest complex of residence halls on the University of Houston's (UH's) urban campus. Consisting of two 18-story buildings, it houses more than 1,100 students. With the exception of a four-week winter break, each room is occupied throughout the year.

After decades of patching and spot repairs, the towers' galvanized water piping had deteriorated to the point additional repairs no longer were feasible. Initially, UH officials believed a complete repiping of both towers was necessary. Repiping was expected to take both towers offline for up to 14 months.

“We didn't have a wide enough window of time to repipe because we couldn't close the buildings and displace the students,” Craig Brodd, UH maintenance supervisor, said.

Complicating matters was the inaccessibility of much of the piping, which meant walls, marble showers, and other expensive fixtures would have had to have been ripped out.

UH sought an alternative, one that could be implemented with minimal disruption to the towers and their residents. Also, it sought a solution that would yield long-lasting pipes, alleviate future system leakage, improve water flow, and ensure good water quality. On top of that, it needed the work completed in only three months.

Brodd consulted with a colleague, who recommended CuraFlo. Cura-Flo conducted a comprehensive assessment of the towers. A combination of epoxy lining and, where pipe was too eroded, pipe replacement was recommended.

CuraFlo's epoxy solutions — the CuraFlo Engineered Flow Lining System for 1/2-in.- to 4-in.-diameter pipes and the CuraFlo Spincast System for 3-in.- to 36-in.-diameter pipes — are used to restore copper, galvanized-steel, lead, cement, and cast-iron pipes. The CuraPoxy epoxy is certified by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 61, Drinking Water System Components — Health Effects. Also, the CuraFlo process has been accepted as part of the Uniform Plumbing Code and certified to the government's most stringent safety standards for drinking water. Benefits include short cure times.

The first step of the project involved the running of temporary water lines from the basement. Workers then dried the pipes with pressurized hot air. Next, pipe interiors were “sandblasted” with specialized particles to remove debris and mineral buildup. From there, epoxy was flowed into and through all pits, crevices, pinholes, and fractures, bonding with the internal surface of the pipes and creating a seamless, permanent protective barrier. The inside of the pipes was coated with CuraPoxy at an average thickness of 16 mils. After the coating cured, a pressure test was applied at 120 psi to ensure a leak-free system.

Starting at the top of each tower, CuraFlo professionals completed work on a floor, put it back in service, and moved downward. Students on the floor being serviced used restroom facilities on other floors only during work periods; all other students continued to use the facilities on their floor.

CuraFlo kept Brodd updated at each stage of the project. Daily reports detailed progress made to date, plans for the day ahead, and overall results. Weekly meetings addressed pending issues and served as a forum for open dialogue.

The CuraFlo team stayed ahead of schedule in completing work in both towers.

Brodd said he has not encountered leaks or problems of any kind and estimates water flow increased 45 percent, possibly more, almost immediately.

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