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Improved joints eliminate leakage and extend service life of concrete box drainage system

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By Bob Folser, P.E., J&G Concrete

Sealing leaking joints of precast concrete boxes at the Falcon Point Golf Course in Katy, Texas has extended the service life of three of nine concrete box culverts in the storm water drainage system. Thirty-year-old precast concrete box drainage structures, installed in 1984, connect the lakes of the facility. Lake levels are controlled by a weir at the upstream end of each culvert.

 

A problem with the joints was suspected about 20 years after the installation when the grade on the culvert alignments began to settle noticeably. An investigation confirmed that backfill was infiltrating the drainage system through joints where the original joint material had failed. By incorporating a rubber gasketed joint (ASTM C1677 Standard Specification for Joints for Concrete Box, Using Rubber Gaskets), this problem would have been avoided. At the time of their installation, however, the use of mastic material for a “leak resistant” joint was considered modern and common industry practice.

 

A project was awarded to Van De Wiele & Vogler, Inc. for project management, and C.E. Barker, contractor, in January, 2014 to seal the joints for $228,304.32 and thereby mitigate the infiltration of fines and settlement of the surface grade. The job of the contractor was to dry the three culverts and clean the lines so that a subcontractor could enter and seal the joints. The rehabilitation project at Falcon Point was not the first of its kind. In June, 2013 the Municipal Utility District contracted directly with a contractor to repair joints in box culverts upstream from this project.

 

With the adoption of ASTM C1677 by TxDOT and other municipalities, it is clear that taxpayers will not have to incur this type of rehabilitation expense. These joints can be tested in the plant to 10 psi with specifying engineers witnessing the testing. Use of rubber gasketed joints (ASTM C1677) can prevent leaking joints. Gasketed reinforced concrete pipe and boxes are the responsible product and material for constructing resilient infrastructure that lasts for generations.

 

As inventors of Tylox® SuperSeal™ box culvert gaskets, we here at Hamilton Kent have helped many of our customers improve their box culvert joints.