Aging waterinfrastructure in cities throughout Gauteng is leading to a loss of millions oflitres of potable water, while sewerage leaks silently contaminate ourwaterways and ground water.

With thousands ofpipelines already well over the 50-year mark and equally many over 100-yearold, failures are becoming common-place and specialised pipe-laying companieslike Brakpan-based Gokor Construction are increasingly being called to findways of replacing the pipes under layers of underground infrastructure andbelow houses, hospitals, roadways and buildings.

GokorConstruction is one of the only specialised pipe laying companies in the regionthat can undertake large-scale pipe replacements using pipe-bursting technologythat allows special tooling to be passed through and burst existing pipelines,while simultaneously pulling-in a new (often larger diameter pipe behind it. Inthis way up to 170m of pipeline can be replaced in 2 hours without diggingtrenches or interfering with above-ground or buried infrastructure. This isvery much soil dependable as to the time period.

Effective solution

According toGokor Construction owner, Jan Bouwer, the company purchased a purpose-builtHammerhead HG12 and Hydroguide pipe-bursting system from local distributors andspecialists, ELB Equipment, precisely to undertake this type of specialised pipe-replacementwork for Gauteng’s municipalities.

“ThroughoutGauteng we have built our towns and suburbs over these buried pipelines and nowit is mostly impossible to manually dig trenches and repair or replace pipes.As a result, a complete pipeline failure means that either the area gets dug-upor the place floods in water or sewerage. With our solution that does not have to happen as we simply dig entryand exit pits, as well as inspection pits and pull new pipes through withoutunsettling the ground.

“In places likeTembisa we were even able to replace a 70m stretch in 38 minutes and the entire170m pipelines in just two hours. In cases like this it ensures themunicipality is able to affect speedy upgrades and it saves residents theinconvenience of digging-up their properties, as well as providing a quickreplacement service for water and sanitation,” says Jan.

Works in progress

ELB Equipmentproduct manager, Phillip Mc Callum, explains that the Hammerhead solution ismost suited to urban work and allows crews to work in confined and heavilybuilt-up areas. Also, with round-the-clock support from ELB Equipment, as wellas the manufacturer no underground challenge in insurmountable. The high levelof support also means the machine is able to work for protracted periods oftime reliably and with minimum disruption, which is especially important onurgent pipeline replacement projects.

In just overthree years that Gokor Construction has operated the Hammerhead system it hasreplaced thousands of meters of pipelines and provided services in Ekurhuleni,Johannesburg and a host of smaller municipalities, as well as in industrialsites and mines. Its latest deployment is to Hyde Park where it is performingan urgent sewer upgrade for the replacement of 742 metres of 250mm pipe withnew 350mm HDPE pipes.

“Municipalitiesand private property owners need to be made aware of the fact that they nolonger need to dig-up and disrupt properties or infrastructure nor disrupt roadtraffic to replace pipelines. Due to the speed of operation of the Hammerheadsystem we are able to assist with most pipe replacements in confined areas - inquick time,” Jan concludes.

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