Watertown company and commissioners discuss relining courthouse plumbing

A possible solution to the Haakon County Courthouse's plumbing woes was presented by a Watertown company that uses trenchless technology to reline old pipes.

Drainman, owned by Travis Stadheim, refurbishes old pipes by cleaning out the buildup then relining them with a new system that uses epoxy to coat a felt liner. The liner then hardens and coats the inside of the pipe.

Stadheim and Matt Brewster met with the Haakon County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, September 2 to discuss the procedure. Stadheim noted his company can refurbish lines that are as small as one-half inch in diameter. The product has an 80-year lifespan, he said

This technology has been used in the last several years to reline city sewer lines. It is now making its way into residential and commercial applications.

Stadheim and Brewster had toured the courthouse and reviewed the plumbing a week prior to this visit. He noted that the vent lines were so clogged he could not get his camera through them. He said he would have to bring air powered equipment to try to blow out the lines somewhat to get a camera through them.

Stadheim said he was able to get a good look at the drain pipes in the basement and out to the city's sewer lines. He stated he would be able to repair those lines in one week to 10 days time.

Some rerouting of current illegal drain pipes from the roof would have to be completed as part of the project, said Stadheim. This would be done by Lurz Plumbing. Dustin Lurz would also be in charge of other plumbing issues such as new bathroom fixtures.

Commissioner Don Eymer questioned Stadheim as to problems such as inaccessible pipes that may have holes and if the sand blasting of the lines would create new holes. Stadheim stated that in some cases a pipe would have to be wrapped on the outside prior to the liner being installed. If this is the case he makes as little of a hole as possible. "You do have to be careful with the amount of air pressure and sand. It is not impossible, but it can be tough," said Stadheim. "We are very good at being successful at what we do." Stadheim said he does not repair any holes. Another contractor would need to be brought in to do this. He stated he did not feel qualified to make the repairs in a professional enough manner.

Stadheim added he was not concerned with holes in the cold water supply lines. He noted that those lines are running now and there are no leaks. The hot water supply lines are what concerns him. The courthouse bathrooms have been without hot water for more than 20 years A new hot water heater and recirculation pump would have to be purchased and installed.

Lurz questioned Stadheim as to using a rotorooter on the liners as he had heard that was not advisable because the lines would scratch. Stadheim stated that yes the tool could be used and that the rotorooter scratches PVC pipe as well and does not harm them.

Lurz said, "If he thinks he can do this, then it would be good. If he can't then we can still redo the lines."

Stadheim stated he would start with the drain lines this fall if given the go ahead. At that time he would bring in more equipment and review the other lines to get a more accurate assessment of their status.

Stadheim's bid broke the basement project into five sections, running in cost between $5,300 to $7,700. The total cost would be $30,201.24. Just under half of that would be for installing the epoxy lining. The other half of the cost includes descaling the pipes, reconnecting pipes and installation of a few new items. The