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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Dec 13

Exposed Water Pipeline Repaired Just in time for Winter

Posted on December 13, 2016 at 8:13 AM by Communications Department

Within the Newport News Waterworks service area there are very few above ground exposed pipes (most pipes are underground) and definitely there are even fewer that hang off a bridge! Last winter, when the Peninsula had some very cold temperatures, there wereExposedPipe_SC several pipe failures in the Newport News Waterworks Distribution System. One in particular was interesting to repair as it was hanging off a bridge over Halfway Creek in the Kingsmill neighborhood in James City County.

Typically breaks are attributed to cast iron pipelines, which are more susceptible to cold temperatures due to their composition, versus ductile pipes, which are stronger and more durable. But in the bridge case the pipe failure was on a section of ductile pipe originally installed in 1996. The 450 feet of 18-inch pipe filled with ice and split in several locations plus it grew by approximately 19 inches in length. Waterworks was able to isolate the section of the damaged pipe on the bridge with valves that were designed to separate this particular section.

With the water system looped, the shut-off did not affect any customer’s water service. In evaluating and planning the repair, Waterworks’ engineering staff chose to improve the original design to prevent the possibility of a future rupture due to cold weather conditions. The entire span of pipe was replaced with new structural supports and protected with a polyurethane foam liner with a galvanized metal spiral jacket. The insulation was sealed with a moisture barrier on the end sections of the liner and the pipe and supports were painted as an additional protective coating -- as well as for aesthetic purposes. The pipeline was recently placed back in service and Waterworks expects the new design to withstand future cold weather conditions.