Comparative Assessment of Environmental Impacts from Open-Cut Pipeline Replacement and Trenchless Cured-in-Place Pipe Renewal Method for Sanitary Sewers
An environmental impact assessment (EIA) involves the evaluation of information about pipe raw materials, processes, and product manufacturing to obtain the associated emissions and ecological impacts. Open-cut (OC) pipeline replacement involves digging a trench along the length of the proposed pipeline, placing the
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An environmental impact assessment (EIA) involves the evaluation of information about pipe raw materials, processes, and product manufacturing to obtain the associated emissions and ecological impacts. Open-cut (OC) pipeline replacement involves digging a trench along the length of the proposed pipeline, placing the pipe in the trench on suitable bedding materials, and then embedding and backfilling. The trenchless cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) method involves a liquid thermoset resin saturated material that is inserted into the existing pipeline by hydrostatic or air inversion or by mechanically pulling-in and inflating. The liner material is cured-in-place using hot water or steam or light cured using ultraviolet light, resulting in the CIPP product. The objectives of this paper are: (1) to present a literature review on the progress acquired over the years in understanding the environmental impacts from the OC and CIPP methods, (2) to analyze and compare the environmental impacts for small diameter sanitary sewers (SDSS) using USEPA’s tool for the reduction and assessment of chemical and other environmental impacts (TRACI) methodology from the SimaPro software, and (3) to identify the factors that influence the environment for the OC and CIPP methods. Published papers were identified that reported the environmental impacts from the OC and CIPP methods over a period from 1989 through to 2020. An actual case study based on the City of Pasadena, California, river basin was used to carry out an environmental analysis for small diameter OC and CIPP methods. The literature review suggests that the material production phase consumes a large amount of energy and is a major contributor of environmental impacts. Higher environmental impacts from the OC method are a result of longer project durations and more equipment requirements compared to the CIPP. The assessment results show that, on average, CIPP renewal caused 68% less environmental impact, 75% less impact on human health, and 62% less resource depletion as compared to the OC replacement for SDSS. The liner, felt, and resin influenced the environment the most for CIPP as compared to the OC method, where the power consumption of construction equipment and the pipe material had the greatest environmental impacts. It can be concluded that the comparison of the environmental impacts from pipeline renewal and replacement is an important element when considering a sustainable underground infrastructure development. The pipe material and outside diameter should be considered during the installation phase by OC and CIPP methods to allow a detailed evaluation and comparison of their sustainability impacts. This study can be further developed for analyzing the environmental impacts and associated costs of the OC and CIPP methods for sanitary sewers with different project and site conditions.