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Here's a great little article from McClatchy-Tribune Information Services that provides a clear description of Insituform's (Nasdaq: INSU) cured-in-place-pipe.

A video robot eases backward through a pipe, causing a wake in the sewer water, as a large, white blob quickly approaches it.

Jimmy Rugg, with Insituform Technologies, a company out of Chesterfield, Ill., sat in the back of an equipment truck watching it on a video screen, manipulating the robot with remote control through the 30-inch diameter sewer pipe beside Glenburnie Road. The rest of his crew was about 300 feet up the street using a fire hose to fill and feed a non-woven felt fiber material into the sewer.

The Insituform crew from Monroe has been rehabilitating the deteriorating concrete sewer pipe on Glenburnie Road since June 1 with the latest technology, a liner that is rolled out of the back of a tractor-trailer, filled with water that is heated to cure the material into a sleeve harder than the concrete it is replacing.

Matt Montanye, staff engineer with New Bern public works and project manager, said he has beat on the material and even ran over a piece with his truck and still couldn't break it.

The rehabilitation project from the railroad tracks to the N.C. Department of Transportation offices, about 3,200 feet of sewer pipe lining in all, should be complete by the end of the month, Montanye said.

Part of the $409,620 project includes rehabilitating nine manholes.

Montanye said in September a 20-foot section of the sewer line collapsed during storms. The pipe was so old and so deteriorated that the city decided to replace it with the lining, he said.

By using the new technology, the city is saving money and time and doing it without disturbing the traffic on Glenburnie Road, Montanye said.

If the city replaced the sewer line the old way, it would have had to dig up residents' front lawns and part of the roadway at a much higher expense. It would also have taken three or four months instead of about 30 days, Montanye said.

Once the water in the lining is heated for several hours to 130-180 degrees, it is drained and the lining cures. Then the robot goes back in to cut the holes for the feeder lines to the customers' properties, Montanye said.

The city has set up a bypass sewer line for the homes on that section of Glenburnie Road while the project is being completed.

The original pipe was installed in 1991 and had a service life of 25-30 years. However, due to a high level of hydrogen sulfide gas, the pipe deteriorated faster than anticipated, Montanye said.

The hydrogen sulfide gas has no effect on the new liner. It has a lifespan of more than 50 years, he said.

Eddie Fitzgerald can be reached at 252-635-5675 or at

Insituform shares have gotten clobbered since I bought them for the Un Port. If it announces another lousy quarter I may be in the market to add to my position.

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