An Industry Leader In Pipe Assessment by Michelle Coulter
Project Engineering Consultants, Ltd. (PEC) has been saving clients thousands of dollars in pipeline assessment and rehabilitation by using trenchless technology—a repair method that has been gaining momentum since PEC originally began assessing pipelines in 1996. Since that time, PEC has provided pipeline condition assessments for hundreds of miles of pipe throughout the southwest using trenchless technology. Co-founder of PEC Steve Mortensen has more than 30 years’ experience in pipeline assessment projects. With this experience, Steve is diverse in the trenchless technology industry and is capable of performing new innovative methods for these projects.
The National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO) was established in 1976 and has been active in educating members of innovative rehabilitation methods for pipelines throughout the country. Mortensen stated, “NASSCO has become the standard that anyone can use to determine what’s going on in a sewer system. The clients that use NASSCO’s Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) use it because of the benefits it provides.”
Soon after NASSCO’s PACP was released in 2002, Mortensen became a master trainer to stay up to date on new waves of technology for pipeline assessments. With this knowledge, he then began incorporating trenchless technology into numerous pipeline assessment projects and PEC became well-known in the Phoenix metro area for this cost-effective alternative.
By training their engineers in NASSCO’s PACP, PEC stays up to date in the trenchless technologies industry. The firm currently has 18 NASSCO-certified individuals who participate in trainings every three years. Due to these trainings, the firm’s engineers have assessed more than 1,500 miles of pipeline for municipalities throughout Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.
PEC’s first step into assessments was in 1996 for the City of Phoenix (City). In the project entitled Small Diameter Sewer Rehabilitation, the City wanted PEC to design a rehabilitation method for a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) that had significant damage. After PEC designed the most cost-effective rehabilitation, the City selected the firm to perform a trenchless technology method to repair and rehabilitate the pipe. This method resulted in minimal damage to the pipe’s surroundings, which became cost-effective for the City and continues to be cost-effective for many of our clients throughout the southwest.
Principal Manager Mark Lee explains this effective approach as a means to reduce diruption to the environment and public. “Trenchless technology has helped us in this endeavor for assessment work by providing us with an understanding of available rehabilitation techniques that are applicable for a given scenario. Many times, a trenchless rehabilitation method is preferable over conventional methods because of its minimized footprint and impact to the public. It is essentially another tool in our tool belt from which to draw on.”
Tom Braatelien, vice-president of PEC, recently managed a project with 14 miles of large diameter PVC-lined concrete pipe for the City of Phoenix. The 99th Avenue assessment required the use of trenchless technology to accurately inspect the concrete pipe. “We had to field inspect all of the manhole locations, which included manned entry; optical digital scanning technology (panoramo) for both the manhole inspections; and CCTV cameras for the inspection of the pipe.” In eight months, PEC finished the project on budget and on schedule.
PEC’s success with trenchless technologies means clients throughout the southwest can trust in the firm’s ability to safely and effectively assess the durability of a potentially damaged pipe. For more than 19 years, PEC has been a leader in assessment work, serving over 30 clients throughout the greater Phoenix area. Other large clients include the City of Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah. By performing appropriate techniques with the proper equipment, PEC has continually been listed in the Top 50 Design Firms in North America by Trenchless Technology magazine for their assessment and trenchless work.