Hamilton Kent Blog

HK gaskets handle high pressures in a new microtunneling project

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The South Surrey Interceptor project, a microtunneling effort undertaken by the Metro Vancouver Regional District, just keeps getting bigger.

Some say it’s the largest microtunneling project in North America based on diameter. As Phase 2 of a larger project, the Interceptor will collect sewage from three B.C. cities and send it to a wastewater treatment plant.

The tunnel will pass several utilities and beneath business parks, city streets and boulder ground, making it an ideal candidate for microtunneling.

“You use microtunneling in situations where you don’t want to disrupt everything above ground,” says Jason Clowater, Business Development Manager at Hamilton Kent. In the case of Metro Vancouver’s project, the practice also helped reduce headaches with the levels of iron in soil, because it meant displacing less soil overall.

With pipe manufactured by Langley Concrete Group, contractors Ward & Burke Microtunneling Ltd. are handling the microtunneling in Phase 2. Hamilton Kent supplied a wedge-style gasket optimized for microtunneling, having worked with Ward & Burke previously on similar projects in the U.S.

The contractors switched to Hamilton Kent last year as a more cost-effective alternative to their last supplier.

“The feedback has been great,” says Clowater. “We haven’t had any issues and we’ve been able to meet the pressure [requirements for the project.]”

The wedge-style gasket has been tested to withstand pressures up to 60 PSI. Clowater says high pressure resistance and watertightness are essential in new underground infrastructure projects.

“Everything is buried underground. If you have leaks, it’s going to be a very expensive repair job,” he explains. “You want to make sure your product works the first time, otherwise you’re going to end up with some serious issues.”

Once the pipe is buried underground, a leaky or defective joint will weaken the soil over time and cause issues like sinkholes.

“It’s a matter of having a high-quality product in the ground that’s going to work,” Clowater says. “That’s what we do. We put our products through quality processes to make sure they are consistent and meet all the project specifications.”

Beyond the wedge gasket, Hamilton Kent has a suite of different gasket profiles for different jobs. They are working on extending their range with joint seal, block seal and intermediate jacking station gaskets.

“We have the capabilities to make gaskets in a variety of materials,” says Clowater, adding that their available compounds and compound supplier help them meet whatever specifications are outlined in a given job. “If someone is looking for a gasket supplier or someone who can design something for them — that’s what we’re here for.”

You can read more details about the South Surrey Interceptor microtunneling project, due to wrap up in 2022, in Trenchless Technology.