Reline Unknown Transcription


Paul Snyder & Jude Kolb of American West Construction

Speaker 1 (00:04):

Looking to expand his own knowledge of pipe reline and infrastructure rehabilitation, Brett Ekart embarks on the journey, into the no-dig construction world, while interviewing experts in all facets of the industry. Hoping to find answers, here is Brett Ekart with Reline Unknown.

Brett Ekart (00:23):

I made my way over to sunny Denver, Colorado and sat down with two super knowledgeable industry experts from American West Construction, Paul Snyder and Jude Kolb. I know I've learned a lot from these guys and I hope you guys do as well.

Brett Ekart (00:39):

All right, guys, sitting here with the guys from American West Construction. Thanks for taking the time.

Paul Snyder (00:46):

You bet.

Brett Ekart (00:46):

We've already had a pretty good time BS-ing, but I figure it's time to put the cameras on and put the mics on and try and get to the bottom of some of the stuff we were talking about earlier. So I did a little research on American West Construction. Founded in 2002, correct?

Paul Snyder (01:03):


Brett Ekart (01:04):

And on your website, you guys kind of talk about how you kind of got into the reline industry and that's what we're here to talk about, so either of you?

Paul Snyder (01:16):

Well it was before-

Brett Ekart (01:17):

[inaudible 00:01:17] It's was before me.

Paul Snyder (01:18):

... Jude's time, but we were on a Colorado DOT CDOT project up on Vail Pass when a flood came... or a heavy rain came and collapsed a culvert that was underneath I-70 and shut down the Interstate. We were there and helped fixed the culvert. It was a three month job. That precipitated CDOT looking at all their culverts across the entire state and the result was that they found many culverts that were in really bad shape and so CDOT started on a reline project, a rehabilitation of many of the CMPs, corrugated metal pipes, to prevent another collapse. We got into that business kind of by default. The first contract that CDOT put out to bid was in 2004 and we happened to be the low bidder on the job and went and started relining pipe, at the time with some HDPE liners. That's really how we got into it. Since then, we've probably done $25 million worth of lining on, I don't know, three or four dozen different projects throughout Colorado and a couple other states as well.

Brett Ekart (02:42):

Idaho being one of them. We talked about the project in Idaho.

Paul Snyder (02:45):

Idaho as being one of them, yeah. That was-

Brett Ekart (02:46):

That's right in our home base, so I'd kind of like to hear that one.

Paul Snyder (02:49):

Yeah, sure. That was a little bit different than a culvert lining, but that was a siphon that runs underneath Siphon Road in Pocatello or Chubbuck, Idaho. It was the siphon in the waters owned by the Indians on the reservation just north of there. The project was for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and that particular project was to line a cast in place concrete pipe. The pipe was built in, I think, 1902, was lined in steel in 1940 and here it was 2014 and they needed it relined so we actually... our contract was to line the middle section of a... gee, it must have been a roughly mile long pipe, Jude?

Brett Ekart (03:38):

Yeah, it was close.

Paul Snyder (03:41):

So we did a couple thousand feet in the middle. The first section had been lined a few years earlier. We lined the middle section, and I understand from you that the next phase, the last phase-

Brett Ekart (03:53):

Coming out.

Paul Snyder (03:53):

... is coming out.

Brett Ekart (03:54):

So what product did you guys line the one... so you said there was a section lined, it was lined with steel in the '40's and there's a section lined before you guys did the middle section under the railroad, if I recall.

Paul Snyder (04:05):

Correct. Yeah.

Brett Ekart (04:06):

What was the product that you guys used to line that middle section with?

Paul Snyder (04:10):

That was with HOBAS-

Jude Kolb (04:14):

HOBAS polymer.

Paul Snyder (04:14):

... which is a fiberglass.

Jude Kolb (04:14):

Polymer pipe.

Paul Snyder (04:14):


Brett Ekart (04:15):

So HOBAS is a polymer...

Paul Snyder (04:18):

It's a fiberglass reinforced pipe.

Brett Ekart (04:20):


Jude Kolb (04:20):

They had to use that pipe because there was five PSI pressure, seven PSI. The pipe had to be able to take a little bit of pressure.

Brett Ekart (04:27):

So that when you doing a full on fusion weld, you didn't need that much that pressure. It just had to have... so HOBAS would do the job.

Paul Snyder (04:36):


Jude Kolb (04:36):


Brett Ekart (04:36):


Paul Snyder (04:37):

Yeah, it was a bell and spigot. Low PSI, but still it was a pressurated pipe.

Brett Ekart (04:44):

Okay. Okay. So real quick just to give everybody kind of a rundown, so what is your roles at American West?

Paul Snyder (04:54):

So I'm the president.

Brett Ekart (04:55):


Jude Kolb (04:55):

I'm the estimator. One of the estimators.

Paul Snyder (04:59):


Brett Ekart (05:00):

So in order to be the president, at some point you had to be the estimator?

Paul Snyder (05:03):

Yes, I was the estimator until I found Jude. [crosstalk 00:05:09]. But Jude has done most of our estimating for culvert lining and is very familiar with all of the processes and his background has been pipe as well as concrete. He's been a public work estimator, heavy civil estimator, for a long time, Jude.

Jude Kolb (05:30):

Yeah. 35 years.

Paul Snyder (05:31):

35 years. So he's not only-

Jude Kolb (05:33):

Superintendent, project manager, estimator.

Paul Snyder (05:34):

... Yeah, he's done kind of all those different...

Brett Ekart (05:38):

From Louisville.

Jude Kolb (05:41):

Louisville, Kentucky.

Brett Ekart (05:41):

And how long you've been living in Denver?

Jude Kolb (05:45):

Altogether, about 10 years.

Brett Ekart (05:47):

Okay. I like it. So obviously if you started in 2002, but you got into the reline business with American West in 2003 with the big CDOT jobs. Had you been involved in any of the reline industry, doing any reline previous to that? I know you have. You have some history in that.

Jude Kolb (06:09):

Not prior to American West. I don't ever recall doing any [inaudible 00:06:13].

Brett Ekart (06:13):


Jude Kolb (06:14):

Different things in my career, but not any reline.

Paul Snyder (06:17):

I would tell you that I don't think there was much of a reline business prior to 2004 in Colorado. I could be wrong. Somebody could say that, that's not the case, but CDOT, I don't think they had done... and I'm not aware of any other lining projects they've done prior to their 2004 job. Since then, I don't know, they've done several projects a year, maybe two to three projects a year since 2004. So maybe 30 projects all in total and those projects typically have been multiple sites, multiple locations.

Brett Ekart (06:54):

Probably some of our... you guys run into a lot of similar stuff we do in the Idaho areas. Your construction's still fairly new compared to mid west, east that the reline just hasn't caught on or hasn't been as much of a necessity as it has been in those areas, I would assume, and that's why it hasn't really started taking hold or people just started realizing, "Hey, we're going to have something about some of these existing culverts that need fixed."

Paul Snyder (07:24):

Yeah, many of the...go ahead Jude.

Jude Kolb (07:27):

Some of the things that have come along in Colorado that are unique is the amount of covering over existing pipe. The chance of trying to dig up the pipe and replace it would be, even if it wasn't under 85-70 if it was just under some state road or still 40 feet of dirt on top of the pipe, it's just digging it up would be a monumental task.

Paul Snyder (07:52):

Well, that's on your website, the main picture you can see where that pipe's coming out right under Highway, is it 70 here? The one that first did?

Jude Kolb (08:02):


Brett Ekart (08:03):

I-70 and you can see there's some pretty good cover on that pipe, right? You have to line it, essentially. I mean that road's...

Paul Snyder (08:10):

Yeah, and many of the roads, the first culverts we lined, were typically mountain roads. That you find in the mountain, as Jude has said, steep canyons, mountainous terrains, so these roads sometimes have, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 feet of fill on top of these culverts, plus, most of these culverts in the mountains, many of them have very steep grades. So what has happened over the years, they've probably accelerated the decay of some of these CMPs, because when the snow melts, it carries bed load or rocks and the rocks tumble down the corrugations and they beat the corrugations to flat, they beat the galvanization off which then the stream dries up in the fall, now you've got rust and it just accelerates the decay, and so most of the culvert lining we've done early in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, all those were mountain projects.

Brett Ekart (09:15):


Paul Snyder (09:16):

So those were typically some of the worst culverts that we saw.

Brett Ekart (09:20):

That sounds like how the municipalities go, like the start with the very worst and then they start working backwards-

Paul Snyder (09:26):

Chipping away.

Brett Ekart (09:27):

... You got to kind of start with what needs addressed right now, essentially.

Paul Snyder (09:31):

And, in fact CDOT the Colorado DOT has a critical culvert list, and they have way more culverts to fix then they have money to spend.

Brett Ekart (09:40):

Another common theme.

Paul Snyder (09:42):

Yes, another common theme, so they chip away the worst culverts, and try to get as much done as they possibly can with a finite budget.

Brett Ekart (09:53):

Okay. So, was there a learning curve as you guys got deeper into the reline industry and looking at more pipes and more potential projects was there anything that you kind of drew you for a loop of something that you of guard at all or was it...anything specific?

Jude Kolb (10:12):

The amount of water that flows under the pipe, can get to be as big of a problem as about anything else, the existing stream bed when they put the pipe in, it'll be where the stream was, that's where you put the pipe, and then the water continues to run underneath there, and if there's holes in the pipe, it's coming up into the-

Brett Ekart (10:32):

So when you reline a deal like that, does it fix it, I mean because you've already obviously created the issue now, underneath the do you fix that because you're not going to dig out underneath the pipe where there's been wash or whatever?

Jude Kolb (10:48):

Well, any degradation in the full-lined pipe's repaired before the liner's put in. In fact, any kind of liner, we've done some kind of repairs. The water that flows under the pipes is going to be flowing a lot slower, because of all the friction going through, all the rocks and everything, and if it was going there before, it's still going there now, it just can't get back into the pipe.

Brett Ekart (11:11):


Jude Kolb (11:11):

Once the liner's complete, so there'll still be some water running underneath there.

Paul Snyder (11:16):

Yeah, I think in the engineering world, they call it piping and especially underneath the dam, it's a big issue. You don't want the fines, the small particles leaving with the water, so that's a big concern with dams, is when the CMP... let's say the invert gets rusted out, and now water's flowing around the pipe and it's starting to take fines out that'll create a void and potentially collapse. And then ultimately that's what happened on the first job we fixed on Vail Pass, was the invert was mostly gone, and then it started taking some of the fines and the gully washer came, a storm came with some really high flows through the pipe and that was enough to create a sinkhole and eventually collapse the pipe and the sinkhole shut down the interstate so, to fix it, yeah you might not fix that piping problem underneath the highway.

Paul Snyder (12:16):

We have had instances where we're lining the pipe, with an HDPE liner and then we fill the space between the liner and the existing pipe, that's called the anular space, we fill that with a cellular grout, what I would consider a high mobility grout that is lightweight. We've had instances before where we've... the theoretical volume we've blown by factors of what the quantity is then because, maybe there's a break in the pipe and the gravel actually will flow out of the host pipe and start filling the voids outside the pipe. So those scenarios, the owner usually most of the engineers we've talked to, they have said "well there's a void there, if it's getting filled with grout well then great."

Paul Snyder (13:11):

Unfortunately, in that scenario, that may cost more money because of course they're paying for more grout so-

Jude Kolb (13:16):

More grout.

Paul Snyder (13:18):

... that is an issue from an owner's perspective of well how do I make sure that I'm not spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on extra grout that if there's a big void.

Brett Ekart (13:32):

In the west, and this is something I've never really thought that much about, but it makes sense, is in the west they have a lot of dams. I would assume... I mean some of these dams have been in place for a considerable amount of time, so I'd assume that the dam work alone, let alone the culverts and existing pipes underground, there's got to be a lot of work in dams out there, even just the North West, I mean we were talking about Wyoming and over here, is that something that you guys specialize in or is it just part of the nature of the beast is that... is there more dam work, less dam work coming up or you guys see in the future or is it just kind of take it as it comes?

Paul Snyder (14:19):

We'll take all the dam work we can get.

Brett Ekart (14:25):

I set it up, not even on purpose but I did it.

Paul Snyder (14:33):

We've seen more dam rehab projects and we've done several of them here in Colorado, and to your point I think a lot of the dams that were built in '40's in '50's and '60's they have culvert pipes in their outlet works and those culvert pipes are designed for a 50-ish year design life, and so now we're starting to see some failures there so yes, that's something we specialize in, we've done several of them over the last few years, I think it's... if you talk to engineers that are in the dam safety or dam industry, there a lot more work that going to... we're going to start to see more and more of that work is the bottom line.

Brett Ekart (15:21):

When I was with Interflow, we looked at a lot of levee stuff, because the levees are big in that area, not as much-

Jude Kolb (15:31):

In Nebraska.

Brett Ekart (15:32):

Yeah. There's a lot of levee stuff which being from Boise Idaho, I'd never really seen a levee, I didn't even know what a levee did so, I kind of had a whole, new learning curve on okay, how does a levee work? What's the purpose of a levee and how does that... so now they're going through and systematically, with army corps going through and looking at all the levees, which, to me is kind of similar to a dam, but just different capacity. So-

Paul Snyder (16:04):

That was Jude's first job, here at American West, we did a job in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to so some lining of... I don't remember what kind of pipe but-

Jude Kolb (16:16):

There were different kinds of pipe, they'd been put in when the levee was done, but somehow the cord didn't have... the strength wasn't right they were supposed to use Class 5 pipe and they used Class 3 they needed to put the liner there for additional strength. It wasn't as much a failure deal as it was to increase a loading on the pipe.

Brett Ekart (16:36):


Paul Snyder (16:37):

Yeah, that was Jude's first job here.

Brett Ekart (16:40):

You threw Jude right in the fire.

Paul Snyder (16:41):

Yeah, right? We put him right in [crosstalk 00:16:44].

Brett Ekart (16:44):

There's only one way to start and that's right in the fire. So, is there a certain type of products that you guys prefer to use, like to use or do you guys pretty much Swiss army knife, every reline a little bit of everything or is there something that you guys more heavily focus on or not, here at American West?

Paul Snyder (17:07):

Well I would tell you, I think maybe we are a jack-of-all-trades, we are maybe the Swiss army knife, our experience had been... we started in 2004 with an HTPE liner and most of these jobs that we're doing, its projects have multiple sites, multiple pipes and we've done many jobs that have all kinds of different processes to line, whether its cured-placed pipe or slip-lining with HTPE or using centrifugally cast concrete pipe which is called spin-casting ultimately, we've done all kinds of pipes with all different products so I think the takeaway from our 15 years of experience in culvert lining is that not every project lends itself well to every different lining technique so, in other words, usually there's one or two constraints on a site or a location that kind of drives the decision on which kind of liner to use.

Paul Snyder (18:12):

Obviously, cost being probably the primary factor right? You could use any kind of liner on any kind of pipe but if you're trying to be cost-conscious there's usually the optimal solution so I think that's the biggest thing that we've learned and so we have our hand in a lot of different techniques in how to line a pipe.

Brett Ekart (18:35):

It seems like the more people I talk to, the more I realize it just seems like there's a certain type of product for every type of job and there's really no one size fits all, so if you're trying to grow your business on the reline side, you kind of want to be able to handle a little bit of everything. I mean, that's kind of how you're going to grow without trying to shove one type of product at every single job, and do it the right way, that's the approach you're taking?

Paul Snyder (19:02):

Yeah. It is. I think that's the approach... I think for any owner out there, the one thing that I've learned, we've done a lot of value engineering after we've been awarded a project. So the project has been designed for one type of lining and invariably we'll be able to come to the table and bring maybe a better solution or cheaper or faster solution to lining because of course we've seen all the different processes and techniques to line pipe, whereas maybe a government agency isn't familiar with centrifugally cast concrete pipe or spin-casting as its kind of common name or cured-place pipe or whatever. There's thing's that we've done and projects that we've had different types of techniques used on that likely we can bring to the table so we're big proponents of design building projects.

Brett Ekart (20:03):

Have you guys ever been brought in to a job that wasn't done correctly the first time, by somebody else and you had to kind of come in and fix it because it wasn't the right application wasn't used? You don't have to name the specific job or country, I don't really care about that because I think it's important for people to understand that there is a right type of product for the specific job and you can think you're saving money on the front end, because you're going a little cheaper or whatever the case may be, but the reality is of you got to do it twice, it doesn't matter how much it cost the first time you kind of have to come back and do it again. So, I don't know, have you guys ever had any of that? Or has it always been have you been able to be lucky enough?

Paul Snyder (20:51):

I don't think, I haven't [crosstalk 00:20:51].

Jude Kolb (20:54):

Come in after anybody that's done the work right to begin with.

Brett Ekart (20:59):

Okay, which is good because, that's a good day.

Paul Snyder (21:02):

Well, we've done quite a few so I hope the answer's no to anybody you speak to.

Brett Ekart (21:06):

Yeah, especially the ones that you have done.

Paul Snyder (21:09):

No, there's not a single one that I can think of that was done that way, I would tell you that most of the culvert lining that we've done, so the process is to clean the pipe, maybe fix any... maybe there's an invert that's missing on the pipe, so maybe you have to fill that somehow with grout or concrete or something.

Jude Kolb (21:29):

We could say that the Pocatello job that we went back in.

Paul Snyder (21:32):

Yeah, after a 110 years we had to fix the Pocatello job.

Brett Ekart (21:37):

I saw the steel on that, the guy in Chubback City he showed me the... I can't remember what the thickness was of the steel that they lined that pipe with but it was a stout. It was stout line of [inaudible 00:21:51] because it wasn't galvanized if I recall.

Jude Kolb (21:53):

No, I don't-

Paul Snyder (21:54):

No it was not.

Jude Kolb (21:54):

... I think it was a tar coated, maybe.

Brett Ekart (21:56):

Yeah, so that thing, for it to last they relined it in the '40s till here, what five years ago I think you said?

Paul Snyder (22:04):


Jude Kolb (22:07):

The low part of it is set full of water every year when they stop using the siphon, the bottom of it sits full of water as it evaporates out so it's got all that oxidation to go on.

Brett Ekart (22:15):


Paul Snyder (22:16):

The concrete, when we actually... we had to burst through the concrete. The rebar on the concrete was twisted, square bar-

Brett Ekart (22:28):

Oh, wow.

Paul Snyder (22:28):

... which is from 1902 or '5 or whenever it was the early 1900's so it wasn't like rebar we have today, it was a square bar that was twisted.

Brett Ekart (22:38):

That's crazy to think about. Just think about it, and you said that was a cast in place.

Paul Snyder (22:43):

Cast in place.

Jude Kolb (22:45):

Cast in place, yeah.

Brett Ekart (22:46):

You don't see that anymore.

Paul Snyder (22:47):

We had to do quite a bit of chipping to make... because the pipe was cast out of rounds so we had to do quite a bit of manually chipping the concrete to make sure the round HOBAS pipe would fit inside the host pipe. So what I was going to tell you is the lining process is typically clean the pipe, divert flow if there are, line the pipe... I mean clean the pipe, fix the invert if it needs to be fixed and then you put in a liner. If it's going to be an HDPE liner if that's the process or if it's a spin-cast then you spin it, but with HDPE.

Paul Snyder (23:28):

After the HDPE is in place we'll fill the anular void, again the space between the liner pipe and the host pipe with a cellular grout and that process it's not as complicated as a bridge deck pour, but it's somewhat like a bridge deck pour in that when you're building a bridge, you got the form work, you got the rebar and once you start pouring a bridge deck, you got to finish pouring the bridge deck you kind of get one chance at it and if you mess it up, that a whole lot of cost to get to that point. That's why usually when there's a bridge deck pour for the contractors that are bridge contractors, they know what I'm talking about it's pretty stressful to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

Paul Snyder (24:10):

You've got a pump truck that can't fail, a bride deck finish that can't fail, concrete needs to be right, the weather's got to be right so there's a lot of outside influences that are impacting the project and that similar to culvert lining when you get to the anular space gravity you got to make sure it's done right, because if you don't do it right, I don't know the cost to repair or fix would be potentially astronomical.

Paul Snyder (24:42):

So you got to make sure the grout is right and that it completely fills the anular space, and then I think the two things that if you're new to the culvert lining business, pipes have a collapse pressure and anular space grout. It's hydraulic so imagine taking an empty gallon milk jug and pushing it down in a swimming pool at some point in time, that pressure on that pipe may collapse.

Brett Ekart (25:14):

Depends on the depth you go.

Paul Snyder (25:15):

Yeah it's a depth issue and what the density of the grout is. In addition to that, on larger diameter pipes, there's an issue with flotation. So you can get a pipe collapse because when you start to fill the pipe up it acts like a boat, so there's a pressure on the outside of the pipe when it starts pressing up against the rails that we install in between the liner and the host pipe.

Paul Snyder (25:44):

The anular space grouting can be somewhat tricky, you got to make sure the density's right, and you typically don't... in larger diameter culverts, you don't grout in one day it takes multiple days to grout. So it's not just dump the grout in and turn your head and go, you have to think about what all's going on, there's a little bit of engineering that's involved in it.

Brett Ekart (26:08):

So the advantage of say a sod wall type of reline is you do get the advantage of getting more structure by filling the anular space if there was a degradation on the top or bottom or whatever, you get a little more structure but the disadvantage is all the things that have to go right when you're actually filling the anular space with the grout, so it's kind of a catch 22, it could be advantageous because you get the structure but the disadvantage is you better get a home run almost, on large diameter stuff anyways, right?

Paul Snyder (26:45):

Yeah, for sure.

Brett Ekart (26:46):

Is that why you should communicate [crosstalk 00:26:47].

Jude Kolb (26:49):

If the pipe floats it will collapse the top of it in.

Brett Ekart (26:51):

You can deform the top of the pipe and collapse the top.

Jude Kolb (26:53):

You can deform the pipe if it's inside [crosstalk 00:26:54].

Brett Ekart (26:54):

Yeah, I've seen a couple, I've got a couple pictures on my phone of some that I've seen in the Midwest over in Kentucky/Louisville area and you can see where it's buckled the joint on a mechanical joint sod wall, where it's just pushed and you can see the grout seeping out of the top of it. So I've seen what you're talking about firsthand.

Jude Kolb (27:16):

That's why you got the different levels in well like pipe the 160, the different rates-

Paul Snyder (27:22):


Jude Kolb (27:24):

... 253 ratings in the pipe.

Brett Ekart (27:30):

The other thing that I think and you guys can touch on this you guys are going to have a better idea than I am but on the grout, it's not just any kind of grout, there's a special formula that you have to have as far as for that grout, because it can't be a super heavy grout right? I mean, from a mixed stand point, you guys have any info on that part of forming?

Jude Kolb (27:51):

We've done mixed designs on it so it's something that you know-

Brett Ekart (27:55):

What determines the mixed design, or what determines the...

Jude Kolb (27:59):

The specifications call for a certain density, so many pounds per cubic foot generally.

Brett Ekart (28:04):


Paul Snyder (28:05):

And a PSI rating, they want to-

Jude Kolb (28:07):

So much strength.

Paul Snyder (28:09):

... The challenge we've run into sometimes is an engineer will specify a 2000 PSI grout and a 2000 PSI grout does not flow. Really, my perspective is you want a grout that flows, its relatively weak, but the challenge is to get really higher strength grout now you have to add more cement, and potentially sand and maybe P gravel when you're doing that it's not an anular space grout it's got to be something that has low viscosity that's going to move and-

Brett Ekart (28:49):

Flowable [crosstalk 00:28:49].

Paul Snyder (28:49):

... Flowable exactly, so again there's a science to it, as Jude had said we'll do a mixed design and then some engineers want just grout. We use cellular grout which has little foam bubbles in it and it's density's a lot lighter so there ability to put more grout in and get the grouting done. Ultimately, the grout really serves as a low transfer between the host pipe and the liner pipe.

Brett Ekart (29:21):


Paul Snyder (29:21):

Most of the jobs we've been on, the owner wants a pipe that can handle the loading as if the pipe was by itself. Having gone through the infancy here in Colorado, what CDOT wanted... it's a pretty complex calculation to figure out what's the capacity of a CMP that may be partially degraded that has anular space grout around an existing pipe. That is a complex engineering question, and I'm an engi-

Brett Ekart (30:01):

Over my head, that's for damn sure.

Paul Snyder (30:02):

... and I'm an engineer, but not a very good one and what I know is that it's a horribly complex calculation, if you can even... if it's even possible. Ultimately where we land on it is, we size pipe and require pipe to carry the load as if there's no other existing pipe or anular space grout in there. So if the liner pipe can withstand the loading, then you know it's good, but in between the host pipe and the liner pipe you need something to transfer the loads so, that's what that anular space grout does, it's a void filler so it doesn't need to be horribly strong or-

Jude Kolb (30:43):

It doesn't need to be stronger than dirt that's back filled the original pipe.

Paul Snyder (30:47):


Brett Ekart (30:47):

It just needs to fill the space-

Paul Snyder (30:48):

Fill the space.

Brett Ekart (30:49):

... potentially right?

Paul Snyder (30:50):

And ultimately, the number here in Colorado is they typically require 300 PSI anular space grout and then leave it to the contractor to design that.

Brett Ekart (31:00):

And that seems, it's very State to State. Right?

Paul Snyder (31:04):

It does.

Brett Ekart (31:04):

Spec to spec. If there's one thing I've learned about the reline industry so far is that it varies State to State the specs are vastly different, what one state expects or what another state expects it seems like its... and you'd think that the states that have been doing reline for years and years and years have it all figured out but I don't think that's the case either, I think it just depends on the engineering firm as much as anything, that's my two cents on it.

Paul Snyder (31:36):

Even in Colorado, there's five regions and the regions are decentralized so each region kind of has its own processes and of course there's a State standard specification that governs it but I don't believe there's a CDOT standard specification across the entire state. There is not standard for culvert lining, so that means each region is meant to design it themselves and across the State, region to region, for the same entity there's variation.

Brett Ekart (32:12):

Varies, yeah.

Paul Snyder (32:16):

It can pose a little bit of a challenge.

Brett Ekart (32:18):

So if it varies from just region inside of one State, it can really vary across the country. So real quick, I talked to you guys earlier about, the one thing I appreciate about American West is that you guys are... start to finish and you guys are doing the grout yourselves and you guys are certified-

Paul Snyder (32:41):


Brett Ekart (32:41):

... certified applicators so you guys are spraying it yourselves-

Jude Kolb (32:46):

Extremely [inaudible 00:32:47].

Brett Ekart (32:46):

... you strooging, welling it yourselves. I mean, a lot of people farm a lot of that stuff out or whatever, but you guys are doing it start to finish so I can appreciate that about you guys. So is there one project in mind that you've done that's kind of your... I don't know your trophy on the mantle like you guys kind of hang your hat on that you're proud of. Has anybody ever said hey give us the one that... and it could be one that was a challenge that you guys overcame, or is there one out there that you're...

Paul Snyder (33:18):

We did one recently up at Hamilton Gulch, there was a CDOT job, call it a DOT job west, of the Eisenhower tunnel about an hour west of Denver. The original pipe was a 60 inch pipe, I don't know, 40 foot fill on top of it as Jude had mentioned.

Jude Kolb (33:41):

More like 75 feet of fill.

Paul Snyder (33:43):

Yeah, so 75 feet of fill, it was a 60 inch pipe, and then at some point in time, I don't know when, maybe the '70's CDOT built a runaway truck ramp right at Hamilton Gulch. So during that construction they had a 48 inch pipe, I believe it was 48 inch and about a 6% slope that tied into this 60 inch pipe so we have a significant run of 60 inch, per 48 inch pipe at a 6% slope tying into a 60 inch at a 2% slope underneath feet of fill and it was always running water. There were some under drains that tied into that point in the pipe so there was groundwater coming at us through under drains.

Jude Kolb (34:35):

Flow all year in the channel.

Paul Snyder (34:36):

All year long.

Jude Kolb (34:38):

And in the channel, not just the ground water but-

Paul Snyder (34:39):

And in the channel, so there was [crosstalk 00:34:41]... a lot of water. The outlet pipe was about 100 feet below I-70 on a one and a half slope to one slope so there was no access on the outlet.

Jude Kolb (34:53):

Way down at the bottom. When you came out the end of the pipe, it stuck out the end of the embarkment.

Paul Snyder (34:58):


Jude Kolb (34:58):

And It dropped down 30 feet?

Paul Snyder (35:00):

Yeah, so we had to line the pipe from the uphill side. But to do it we had to have... we had to bypass the stream that was flowing. So we fuse welded a couple-

Jude Kolb (35:16):

Quite a whole bunch.

Paul Snyder (35:17):

... I think, 36 inch HDPE liners to... not liners but pipes to bypass the flow and then the biggest question was what length of pipe can you get and what's the bending radius of that pipe to be able to make that sweep from a 48 inch pipe that's a 6% that meets a 16 inch pipe a 2%? So we had to figure that out and the engineer requiring minimum I.D pipe of... I can't remember 30 inch or 36 inch whatever it was.

Jude Kolb (35:52):

So was it a corrugated steel pipe?

Paul Snyder (35:53):

It was a corrugated metal pipe that-

Jude Kolb (35:54):

Two different installations [crosstalk 00:35:56].

Paul Snyder (35:56):

Two different installations... and so the biggest challenge was can we get the pipe through that radius and again we only have an access from the uphill side, and then the second biggest challenge was what do you do with the water that's coming at you in the middle of the pipe, these are two under drains stuck into host pipe, what do you do with them during the grouting process, so it was a pretty challenging project and as I recall we were the low bidder, and there was one other bidder and when the engineer called us and we said well how are you going to do that, I think my answer was, "Well I'm not exactly sure, I think we have a plan."

Brett Ekart (36:42):

So what was the liner? What did you put in?

Paul Snyder (36:47):

We used a solid wall HDPE, but fuse welded it...

Jude Kolb (36:51):

Was it [inaudible 00:36:53]?

Paul Snyder (36:53):

No [crosstalk 00:36:54] Yeah. It was a solid wall pipe.

Brett Ekart (36:56):

But fused it from the uphill side-

Paul Snyder (36:59):

I believe.

Brett Ekart (37:00):

... and slid it.

Paul Snyder (37:00):

And slid it down and we had done a bunch of surveying, well surveying might be a term, we did a bunch of measuring-

Jude Kolb (37:08):

Internal measurements.

Paul Snyder (37:09):

Internal measurements and then we put in the [autocad 00:37:12] and then figured out what the bending radius of a certain DR rating on a soluble pipe would be to make sure that it would actually bend through that, so that's how we lined it and when we were at the bend of the existing host pipe before we... I think we lined it in two different sections, we lined the 60 inch and then we came and attached some pipes to the under drains so that we wouldn't have to fight groundwater during the annular space grouting, so if that makes any sense, its kind of hard to explain [crosstalk 00:37:58].

Brett Ekart (37:57):

No I understand it, I mean.

Jude Kolb (37:57):

We had to catch that water.

Paul Snyder (38:01):

We had to catch that water, we just couldn't let it run so, it was-

Brett Ekart (38:05):

That's a project.

Paul Snyder (38:07):

It was quite a project. It was [inaudible 00:38:08] we had to put our thinking cap on to make sure that we got it don.

Brett Ekart (38:12):

Well those are the fun ones, those are the ones that you know, then when you run to the easier ones and you go and you tell somebody hey, we're in the reline industry, we can tackle this project because we've tackled this project, and it gives you a little bit of...

Paul Snyder (38:29):

Yeah, it's not until you get into some of those projects that are challenging like that, and again the Pocatello job or the Chubback job was another case, where how do you marry up liner pipe in the middle of a pipe so that the upper end is lined, the downstream end isn't, you put the liner pipe in.

Brett Ekart (38:42):

Hence a perfect circle. But it's not-

Paul Snyder (38:42):

It's not a perfect circle so we had to create insertion pits and that was another one that was really challenging, the concept of... Well, how do you prevent the HOBAS pipe from floating when we use water inside the pipe to balance that. That's balanced. That prevented the pipe from floating.

Brett Ekart (39:16):

That makes it, yeah.

Paul Snyder (39:17):

What kind of plug do you need to put in a... What size was that 84 inch or?

Jude Kolb (39:23):


Paul Snyder (39:23):

84 inch HOBAS pipe that's holding 200 000 gallons of water, what kind of plug do you need to have in that pipe to hold that water, and then think about well how do you get the plug out because now you've got a uphill land and the uphill access, you can't get to the downhill plug, you could get to the downhill plug because there's a siphon, so how do you actually deflate the plug, to let the water out. I mean either-

Jude Kolb (39:53):

You can't be on the downstream into the plug when you let the water out because it would-

Paul Snyder (39:57):

There's 200 000 gallons of water coming at you.

Brett Ekart (39:59):

So how did you do it?

Paul Snyder (40:01):

Well very carefully.

Brett Ekart (40:09):

Is that a trade secret? I'm okay with it.

Paul Snyder (40:09):

We were able to do it, again one of those things where our project manager came up with a plan to to do it from up but we cord through the existing line and we were able to do it that way to deflate the plug, but had that not worked, the backup plan I'm not exactly sure the backup plan would have been. So it was one of those things you got to plan, you cross your fingers and way you go. So-

Brett Ekart (40:31):

All the works.

Paul Snyder (40:31):


Brett Ekart (40:32):

So it seems like-

Paul Snyder (40:32):

Those are the fun jobs.

Brett Ekart (40:33):

It seems like on the reline side, because it is fairly new and when I say new, the last say 30 years it's something we have to address as a country, you hear people talk about the infrastructure this and infrastructure that, we haven't been relining pipes for a hundred years I mean, relatively speaking, at least not with the products that we have today with central pipe and the solid walls and whether its snap tied or wale [inaudible 00:41:05] or whatever, you just... There's new products coming out, is there anything out there, you guys went to [inaudible 00:41:12] show in Chicago that sound like, is there anything you saw at the show that kind of peaked your interest a little bit you like, maybe I got to do a little more research into that product or is there anything, or is it just trying to go there to learn, go to the classes trying to get some knowledge off or?

Paul Snyder (41:32):

Yeah, I don't remember any epiphanies of anything new, I think we talked a little before, there are new products out there, there's a spiral-wound product that is more for a sanitary sewer application. I think the spin-casting is relatively new, it's only been in Colorado, maybe five years so that's maybe the newest product that I've seen now. Everybody's looking at new products and techniques because ultimately most trench less technologies are cheaper than the alternative, digging it up, so I think the older our infrastructure gets, the tighter the budgets are, the more engineers and cities or municipalities or government agencies are or owners for that matter are looking to maximize their dollar, so why dig it up if you have an alternative to line it and I think the trench less technology is going to continue to grow because of that reason.

Brett Ekart (42:43):

Okay. It seems to me like a good spot to end on, one last thing and this has nothing to do with reline but I got on your Facebook and looked at your website and you guys have a couple charities that you're involved in and I love it. I mean that's one of the reasons, one of the best thing about owning a small business is you can kind of direct some funds to something that means something to you. Whether you're the president or there's somebody in your company that's got something that means something to them and they want you to get involved. Our thing is breast cancer awareness in the State of Idaho, my dad is the big driver of that, can you touch on what works for you guys?

Paul Snyder (43:30):

Sure, we'd happy to. Yeah, you bet.

Brett Ekart (43:32):

I'm glad to hear about.

Paul Snyder (43:33):

The two charities that we support actively are Hope House in Colorado which is an organization to help out unwed teen moms, try to break the cycle of dependency, and ultimately they take girls in that had maybe had to drop out of high school before graduation, because they were pregnant and had a child so they provide parenting classes and GED and eventually, we've had great success in a lot of these young women with children or a child have gone on to great things, maybe they've gone on to college and graduated and been able to sustain themselves and their child, so it's a really great organization, again helping trying to break that cycle-

Brett Ekart (44:15):

That's great.

Paul Snyder (44:16):

... of dependency, and then the other one is, and again that Hope House of Colorado. They've got a website you can go, I think they're a great organization going on-

Brett Ekart (44:26):

We'll post it we'll post it on the website for everyone to see.

Paul Snyder (44:28):

Great, and the other one is Tennyson Center for Children which is a charity, and organization that they take in abused kids through... They have both a resident program and they also do a lot of other training with non-residents. The stories from some of these kids is tragic of what their home lives are, it's an abusive situation possibly, or who knows again the stories are pretty dramatic, pretty tragic and they take in these kids and help get them on a path to a better life, so they're yet again another great organization, those are the two charities that we support actively, so...

Brett Ekart (45:14):

Well I commend you guys for doing it, and like I said, that's one of the beauties of being able to kind of direct some funds at people that could use it, so thank you guys for the time.

Paul Snyder (45:22):

Great. Thank you.

Brett Ekart (45:22):

I appreciate the-

Jude Kolb (45:23):


Brett Ekart (45:23):

... opportunity.

Brett Ekart (45:25):

America's aging underground infrastructure will need to be dealt with in the upcoming years, our mission with Reline Unknown is to help individuals and organizations gain insight into the pipe, reline and infrastructure world, and help process the key decision, reline or replace, thank you for listening.