Review of common construction practice finds environmental contamination, need for improved oversight and monitoring – purdue university c gastronomie


A common water pipe repair process that uses resin to build a new liner in existing pipe is coming under increased scrutiny because of concerns about environmental and health effects, say researchers at Purdue University. (Purdue University photo)

"In 2014, waste produced at an Alabama culvert repair site was found to be acutely contaminated and dissolved a freshwater organism,” Whelton says. "While the technology has been around for 30 years, there are very few laboratory and field studies on possible environmental effects."

Previous research found that the chemical plume created during the steam-based CIPP installation process released chemical vapors, not just steam. It also contained known air pollutants, suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and known and suspected carcinogens. The California Department of Public Health issued a statewide notice about potential hazards after its own investigation and the prior study.

John Howarter, assistant professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering, echoed the need for more data and open communication regarding the risks of infrastructure repair. "This report summarized data from many independent state agencies; being able to see the big picture will help reduce incident risks," he said.

• Water flow should be diverted from the pipe until a complete resin cure has been established. This can vary depending on the material used, as well as the thickness of the material, the curing method, the condition of the pipe, and the ambient temperature.

The agencies who supported the pooled fund project include the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Additional states that provided information include Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Note to Journalists: A copy of the research paper is available at or from Steve Tally, A YouTube video is available at Other additional photos and b-roll are available on Google Drive at

Cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology has been used to rehabilitate sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and drinking water pipes. However, utilities, regulators, and health officials have raised environmental, occupational, and public health concerns regarding chemical emissions into air and water. To better understand emissions into water, available literature was reviewed. Water contamination has been documented in 10 states and Canada because of the release of uncured resin, solvents, manufacturing byproducts, and wastes during and after construction. Odor, fish kill, and drinking water contamination incidents have been reported. The few field- and bench-scale studies available show that a variety of volatile organic compounds and semivolatile organic compounds have been released into water and contamination was detected for several months. CIPP waste was acutely toxic to aquatic organisms. Chemical release is likely influenced by formulation, installation, and environmental conditions. CIPP installation and inspection recommendations were suggested. Studies are needed to develop evidence-based construction and monitoring practices to minimize risks.