Category Archives: Concrete

South Bismarck sewer repairs continuing

Crews were seen repairing a corroded sewage pipe and keep raw sewage from seeping into homes in south Bismarck.

The city’s utility operations director, Keith Demke, said the workers were not successful in stopping the leak Wednesday night, and he said more work is required.

“We are asking residents in the affected area to continue to reduce the flows to the sewer system until further notice,” Demke said.

South Bismarck residents have been asked to limit showers, baths, laundry and other water use since Tuesday evening. To further ease pressure on the sewer system, some of the sewage is being moved through the South Washington lift station. Those affected are residents and businesses south of Bismarck Expressway from Washington Street to Airport Road.

The threat of sewage seeping into basements forced city crews to divert the mess from the normal sewer main into a storm water drainage ditch that flows directly into the Missouri River. The drainage ditch is south of Wachter Avenue and north of a bridge near a walking path.

“If we don’t do this, it’s going to back up into people’s homes and basements,” Demke said.

For the short-term repairs, Demke doesn’t believe the sewage diversion poses a health risk to people “unless they are in direct contact with it.” He said much of the drainage ditch’s mile-plus path is not accessible west of Tatley Meadows.

The leak was caused by a corrosion hole in the iron pipe carrying the waste material. Demke said the 24-inch pipe is the second largest sewer drainage system serving the city, about one-third of the city’s solid waste intake.

“It’s going a little slower than we thought,” Demke said Wednesday night. “They’re patching a new pipe together, bolting it, refilling it and then they’ve got to get the air out of the pipe.”


Serious corrosion fears keep vital road in London closed

Transport for London has been forced to keep the vital A4 Hammersmith flyover closed for further inspections because of serious corrosion of steel supporting cables.

Problems with external concrete sprawling have been known about for several years, but engineers have called for extra time to assess the extent of damage within the 900m bridge structure.

The flyover was closed on 23 December due to concerns about a serious structural defect.

Since engineers and contractors have been working round the clock on a detailed investigation.

They hope to decide shortly on what remedial action needs to be taken and when the flyover can safely be reopened to traffic.

The damage to the aging 1960′s structure has been caused by water ingress, including salt water due to grit laid during the winter months, which has corroded and weakened supporting cables.

Engineers on-site continue to build a full picture of the condition of the complex and aging bridge structure, with much of the work taking place inside the structure.

TfL said that it was exploring all options to reopen the flyover to traffic as soon as possible, but must await the outcome of further work to test the extent of the problems found in the structure.

TfL is also actively working on the design of a solution to strengthen and extend the life of the flyover over the longer-term, by introducing additional cables into the structure.

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “Our team continues to work night and day alongside the world’s leading structural engineers to fully understand the extent of the flyover’s structural problems.

“I have been inside the flyover and seen for myself the unique issues we face,” he explained.

“Safety must be our top priority and we have not taken the decision to close the flyover lightly.

“However, we are working flat-out to determine what measures we must put in place to safely reopen the flyover as soon as possible.”


Call for funds to fix Melbourne’s Loop problems

MELBOURNE’S City Loop has ”heavy” concrete corrosion, water ”leaching all over the place” and emergency systems that should be improved, inspections by Victoria’s independent transport safety watchdog have revealed.

Alan Osborne, the man in charge of safety on Victoria’s rail system, has called on the Baillieu government to commit significant funds to fix the problems of the city’s underground tunnels.

Mr Osborne, the director of transport safety at Transport Safety Victoria, ordered the inspections after The Age revealed in September that the loop’s serious structural problems had been ignored by successive state governments.

Mr Osborne told The Age that there was no immediate risk to passenger safety, but it was important the issues were dealt with to avoid deterioration and possible derailments. ”There’s a lot of inspections … but there comes a point where you need to bite the bullet and do some major pieces of work,” he said.

The position and width of the walkway means that, in the event of a train fire in the loop, passengers in wheelchairs would have to wait, Mr Osborne concluded. He said inspections by Transport Safety Victoria had confirmed:

  • The fasteners holding the rails to the tunnel floor were ”quite heavily corroded” in some places. The extra water ”leaching all over the place” and problems with the concrete had created ”a more corrosive environment than was expected”.
  • Drawings of the fire-protected areas of underground stations have been lost.
  • A number of systems at the underground stations, such as testing of emergency warnings, could be improved.

Under freedom of information laws The Age requested further reports on the state of the loop from its state-owned insurer, the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority. But the authority declined the request, saying the release of information about safety procedures, access points and general emergency responses was a security risk.

Mr Osborne said he would like to see a plan put forward for the long-term renewal of the tunnel, which carries more than 150,000 Melburnian commuters each week day. This would include updating the loop’s control systems, the ventilation system, improving waterproofing and drainage and replacing the concrete rail sleepers.

This is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars, but some of the work is already afoot. A $2.5 million project is attempting to seal water leaks, 6000 sleepers will be repaired by March 2013, and the Department of Transport is con- ducting further tests on the ventilation system after a CSIRO report found smoke extraction fans were performing to a capacity of only 25 per cent.

Metro spokeswoman Geraldine Mitchell said two independent engineering assessments on the loop had concluded safety standards had been met. ”It is important to note that extensive tests carried out by Metro have not found any serious safety issues.”

The company conducts daily inspections, weekly walk-throughs by a shift gang, monthly bolt inspections and six-monthly rail flaw inspections, Ms Mitchell said.

The department said the structural integrity of the loop remained ”fit for purpose”.

Mr Mulder said he continued to receive advice about the loop issues from the department, but any major works to the emergency walkway were impractical. ”Because of the presence of utilities [tunnel services] and the tunnel’s shape, altering the walkways to be elevated would narrow their width and reduce passenger headroom,” he said.



More Corrosion discovered at the Champlain Bridge

Repairs to the Champlain Bridge will involve a new type of reinforcement to deal with growing problems with corrosion in the bridge’s deck.

In 2012, there will be at least that many weekend closings, maybe more, said Glen Carlin, general manager of the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc.

Carlin was speaking at a media briefing he said is part of a new effort by the federal agency to reassure the public about safety and to be more transparent about the state of the Champlain.

In 2011, $33.3 million (C$) was spent on Champlain repairs, including the repaving of 2.75 kilometres, the replacement of five expansion joints and the reinforcement of several girders and piers.

In 2012, the tab will be $34 million (C$), including 700 metres of repaving and four new expansion joints.

For the first time in 2012, repairs may be done in winter, but they will not affect traffic because they will take place under the bridge, Carlin said.

In the past, reinforcement work involved adding high strength steel cables along the outside edge of the bridge.

Now, work will also involve installing steel cables transversally under the bridge.

“The beams on the bridge are all knit together” with transverse cables, Carlin said. “These cables are starting to get affected by corrosion.” The new cables “will reinstate this transverse posttensioning.”

In 2012, there will be a lot more work on two adjacent federally owned stretches: The Bonaventure Expressway, between the Champlain and the Lachine Canal. The government will spend $11 million, up from $7.2 million.

Highway 15, between the Champlain and Atwater Ave. Ottawa will spend $19 million, almost five times the $4.2 million spent this year. This hike is because of major repairs to Champlain approaches.

A 2010 inspection report obtained by The Gazette last month showed that two overpasses on the Montreal approach to the Champlain are in “mediocre” condition, their concrete crumbling and reinforcement steel corroding. One overpass must be replaced while the other must undergo major repairs.

In addition, the report said a secondary span known as the Nuns’ Island Bridge is deteriorating “very quickly” and requires major repairs.

The Champlain is decaying prematurely because it was not designed to withstand the use of road salt. Because of its unusual design, Ottawa says it would be too expensive and disruptive to traffic to repair it for the long term.

In 2009, Ottawa began a 10-year, $212-million program to repair the Champlain until a new span is built.

This year, another $158 million was added – $27 million for the Champlain, the rest for Highway 15 and the Bonaventure.

The work will extend the life of the structures until 2021. Ottawa says it hopes to have a $3-billion replacement bridge in place by then.

“If the bridge is going to be late by a year or two, we will do what would have to be done to make sure that the existing bridge can be extended by that type of duration,” Carlin said.

“More than that, it’s kind of like planning for something we shouldn’t be planning for. The goal is to get the new bridge in place within the next 10 years.”

A 2010 study warned the Champlain was so dilapidated there was a risk of a partial bridge collapse.

Major repairs have been done since then and the Champlain is monitored closely, Carlin said.

“We are fully confident in its safety. We wanted to show everything that we’re doing to ensure that any risks that are out there on the bridge are being managed,” he said.

“If there’s any doubt regarding safety, we’ll take any measures that are required,” he added, including closing lanes or the entire bridge.

The bridge is crucial for commuters and the transportation of goods. It’s used by about 160,000 vehicles daily, including 14,400 trucks and 400 public-transit buses

Investigation findings: Corrosion at Michigan nuclear plant due to stainless steel components

A recent investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that the failure of a water pump due to the corrosion of certain kinds of stainless steel components caused an August shutdown of the Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert.

In a news release from his office,Congressman Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, questioned why a substandard steel is still being used for certain plant components.

Here’s what it says:

Despite scientific findings and industry experience reporting its vulnerability to cracks and corrosion, the types of stainless steel –known as 410SS and 416SS – continues to be used in water pumps used to provide cooling water to critical safety-related equipment such as component cooling water, diesel generators, and containment vessel air coolers for nuclear power plants throughout the U.S.

Markey sent a letter querying the NRC about the vulnerability of these metals to corrosion cracking and their continued use despite two decades of failures in nuclear power plants, according to the news release.

Here’s more from the release:

Despite NRC alerting licensees about issues with these pumps, failures continue and licensees have not been required to take any action or even report back to the NRC regarding what they are doing to identify, mitigate or prevent corrosion cracking that could cause component failures.

“They say there was never a good knife made of bad steel. Similarly, you can’t have a safe nuclear reactor made of bad steel,” Markey said. “I am concerned that U.S. nuclear power plants using components made from 410 and 416 steel may be subject to failures of critical safety equipment and at risk of shutdown. NRC must ensure that it requires licensees to take steps to identify and mitigate any corrosion of its components in order to demonstrate that they will perform satisfactorily in service, especially for critical safety-related operations.”

In the letter, Markey asks the NRC to respond to questions that include:

• Which U.S. nuclear power plants currently use 410SS and 416SS components and what are the known uses of 410SS and 416SS?

• Will the NRC undertake a review of 410SS and 416SS steels to determine if additional periodic inspections and mitigation efforts are warranted?

• What regulatory actions will be undertaken in order to assess, require licensee reporting and inspection of, and address problems involved in 410SS and 416SS components?

In March, Congressman Fred Upton pledged support of the nation’s nuclear plants, three of which — Palisades Power Plant in Van Buren County and two at the Cook Nuclear Plant in Berrien County— are in his district, which covers southwestern Michigan.

Upton is chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.


$20m (AUD) to fix Canberra’s Scrivener Dam

Up to $20 million will be spent repairing Canberra’s Scrivener Dam after a safety audit uncovered corrosion problems.

The annual safety audit of the dam three weeks ago found corroded bolts in the flap gates of the dam wall which are opened during flooding to regulate the level of Lake Burley Griffin.

It recommended 120 anchor bolts be replaced within one to two years.

“The engineering work involves replacing every bolt, on every hinge, on every gate,” said National Capital Authority (NCA) chief executive Gary Rake.

“Each of the five flap gates will, in turn, be removed and replaced by a temporary floating gate while the bolts are changed.”

Most of the bolts are encased in steel structure or concrete and are difficult to access.

The work will also include redesigning the anchor bolt system to reduce corrosion and improve accessibility.

It is expected to cost between $15 million and $20 million (AUD), and will take up to 18 months to complete.

Mr Rake says the lake level is also being lowered to the same level reached in February 2003 during drought conditions.

“Lake Burley Griffin was lowered 200 millimetres last Friday evening in anticipation of increased water inflows,” he said.

“We will lower the lake by another 300mm. Lowering the lake to this level will assist us in managing risks associated with both the day-to-day operation of the dam and the completion of these engineering works.

“We expect that the lake will remain at this lower level throughout the work.

“There may be occasions when the lake needs to be lowered even further. Lake users will be given advance notice of expected changes in the lake level whenever possible.”

Mr Rake says the dam remains safe and fully functional.

“Undertaking these works will not interfere with the regular operation of the dam. We have been advised by independent engineers that Scrivener Dam remains safe and fully functional,” he said.

“All risks associated with these works and the day-to-day operation of the dam are being appropriately managed.”


U.S Rep. Kucinich seeks NRC hearing about cracks at Davis-Besse

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday to hold a public hearing on the cracks in the concrete containment building at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant 10 miles west of Port Clinton.

In a letter to the chairman of the agency, Mr. Kucinich disputed FirstEnergy’s description of the cracks as “hairline” and as limited to decorative concrete. He said the cracks appear to follow the line of the reinforcing bar, are clearly visible, and run for 30 feet.

He said the cracks could be laid to “concrete carbonation,” the seepage of carbon dioxide through concrete allowing for the corrosion of steel reinforcing bars.

The cracking “seems to indicate a widespread problem that will undermine the structural integrity of the shield building,” Mr. Kucinich wrote to Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the agency.

Mr. Kucinich asked the agency to conduct a public hearing on the cracks before FirstEnergy is allowed to power up the reactor.

A FirstEnergy spokesman said the company has a “root cause team” looking at the problem but that carbonation appears not to be an issue.

“Our testing on a number of concrete samples showed no carbonation on any of the crack surfaces of those that we tested, and [from] our inspections of the rebar, the rebar looks very good and healthy. There was no corrosion of the re-bar,” said spokesman Jennifer Young.

“[Mr. Kucinich’s] letter suggested we weren’t telling the full story. I don’t believe that to be the case. The NRC understands everything we’ve looked at,” Ms. Young said.

She said there are no plans for a hearing and that FirstEnergy continues to work on the crack issue as part of its regular outage. FirstEnergy is shooting for restarting the plant around the end of the month.

The cracks were discovered after a hole was cut in the outer shield building to install a new reactor head. FirstEnergy has submitted to the NRC its finding that the cracks are not a safety hazard and is following up by submitting technical reports to the commission in response to its questions about the matter.


MATCOR hires experienced Houston based Account Manager Matthew Giardina

Doylestown, PA, November 9:  MATCOR, Inc. a full-service provider of proprietary cathodic protection products, systems, and corrosion engineering solutions announced today that  they have made another valuable addition to its sales team by bringing on board Houston based, Matthew Giardina.

MATCOR hires Matthew Giardina

Giardina joins the MATCOR team as one of the Regional Account Managers located in the Gulf Coast area.  Giardina’s responsibilities include providing account management leadership, and expanding MATCOR’s presence throughout the Gulf Coast, while focusing on the oil and gas markets.

“We are pleased that Matthew has become part of the MATCOR team.  His industry experience and desire to ensure our clients benefit from MATCOR products and services will allow him to be an asset in executing our sales strategies,” said Vice President of Sales & Marketing John Rothermel.

Giadina said, “I am excited and fortunate to work with MATCOR, and believe there is tremendous opportunity to grow MATCOR’s innovative product and services solutions.  MATCOR’s proprietary products are manufactured in-house and are unrivaled in the industry.  This gives me the opportunity to further develop the Gulf Coast market, and to help our clients achieve their corrosion prevention goals.”

Giardina brings almost seven years of experience working in the corrosion industry.  Most recently, he was responsible for growing national accounts with a leading coatings manufacturer.

MATCOR, Inc. is a leading cathodic protection and corrosion prevention engineering design firm, providing environmentally beneficial systems and services to global clients for nearly 35 years. An expert in the field of cathodic protection, MATCOR offers proprietary corrosion protection products, installation, cathodic protection testing, maintenance and complete corrosion protection project management. MATCOR specializes in protecting the infrastructure of the oil and gas, electric utility, transportation and construction industries.

$100m corrosion & cathodic protection project for Sydney’s tallest office building

WHEN it was finished in 1978, the 67-storey MLC Centre in Martin Place was not only Australia’s tallest office building, but also the biggest reinforced concrete structure in the world.

Thirty-three years later, the Harry Seidler-designed structure is showing its age. Its concrete facade is breaking up and the owners have agreed to spend $100 million repairing it in an operation that will go 24 hours a day, seven days a week for much of the next four years.

Documents filed by the owners with the Central Sydney Planning Committee show what a massive repair job it will be to stabilize the remaining solid parts of the modernist facade and repair those that are not.

It will take 10 months just to finish preliminary works.

Then workers on 12-hour shifts will blast away damaged concrete with dry ice and grit, and use small jackhammers and angle grinders to prepare the surfaces for filling and patching.

They will also drill thousands of 100 millimeter-deep holes into which anodes will be inserted, which should help preserve the facade panels for the next 40 years.

This main stage of the process will last more than two years. To minimize disruption to tenants, the owners have decided the noisiest work will begin at 7pm and go all night, a decision that has angered neighboring residents who have objected to the plans.

The owners, GPT Group and QIC Real Estate, will import insulated French working platforms designed to fit the shape of the building, which they say will reduce the noise of the jackhammers and other equipment.

The owners blame the deteriorating facade on ”the manner in which pre-cast panels were originally manufactured”.


Corrosion – Fatal Impact on Concrete Wall Flaw

A deficiency in the concrete wall construction of the basin at the Gatlinburg Wastewater Treatment Plant led to the basin wall collapsing, killing two employees in April, a report from the state issued Thursday says.

“Walls were cast in a manner that produced a cold joint between the cast wall which fell” and three interior intersecting walls, according to the report from the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA).

TOSHA announced in early October that it found no safety violations at the plant, and this week released a five-page report that was the basis for that finding. When TOSHA announced in early October there were no safety violations, it didn’t give a probable cause of the basin wall collapse.

The new report does. What its inspectors call a “cold smooth joint” led to leakage of acidic waste across the joint, and “as a result, corroded the rebar splice couplers over a number of years.”

The couplers were not believed to have failed at one time, but gradually over the life of the basin, the report said.

When the findings of no safety violations were announced earlier this month, Veolia spokeswoman Karole Colangelo said, “Although the findings from TOSHA reinforce our emphasis on employee safety, it does not dismiss the fact that two Veolia Water employees perished in this tragic accident, and company employees continue to mourn their deaths.”

“It was assumed the two operators were making adjustments to the effluent flow inside the equalization basin,” the report says. While the men were working, the wall collapsed and fell on the building in which they were working.

The collapse sent about 850,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into the Little Pigeon River and forced the city to pump more untreated water into the river until it could come up with a temporary solution a few days later.

According to the workers’ last journal entry at 5:30 a.m. that day, the basin contained 1.3 million gallons of water and was 85 percent full. The water level was recorded at 25.5 feet. The report says interviews with operators and plant officials show the average water level was 4-8 feet.

The plant is owned by the city but managed by Veolia Water North America Operating Services LLC. Veolia officials told the state inspectors that both Crowder Construction Co., that built the plant and Flynt Engineering Co., that designed it are out of business. The basin was finished in 1996.

TOSHA learned that after the basin was finished in 1996 the north wall had cracks and a lateral displacement/bowing of the wall and walkway. Veolia told the state that buttresses were installed that “corrected” the problems with the wall and walkway.

TOSHA noted that the flow control building where the workers were is still not accessible, but the state says “we have no probable reason to think that access to this area would reveal any additional information that would result in citation being issued to Veolia.”

The report says the contractor used “splicing couplers” instead of dowels, as required in the original drawings, noting that while that was a “deviation” from the design, it was probably not the cause of the collapse. The report did say that “formation of a cold joint resulted in accelerated corrosion of the couplers.”

TOSHA reviewed the original design of the basin and found the design of walls “adequate.”