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Smithfield, Virginia repairs a cracked coupling in under five minutes and without a service disruption

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Mueller Smithfield, Virginia repairs a cracked coupling in under five minutes and without a service disruption

Smithfield, Virginia repairs a cracked coupling in under five minutes and without a service disruption

By: Mueller

The Town of Smithfield, Virginia, known for curing the world famous “Smithfield Ham”, has a population of approximately 10,000 residents in a 10-square mile area. Recognized for excellence by the American Public Works Association, Smithfield Public Works and Utilities department maintains every aspect of the Town’s infrastructure, including water and sanitary sewer systems, stormwater systems and public buildings.

During a routine maintenance and inspection, crews discovered that a crack had formed on a two-inch galvanized steel pipe through to the attached coupling. To repair this damage, the utility would have to shut off the water valve used to distribute water to at least 65 households, cut the pipe, send out boil water notifications, and de-chlorinate the pipe. There could also be the potential of disrupting water service to more households and businesses by having to shut down the next valve further away.

Smithfield was looking for a quick, cost-effective yet resilient solution that would prevent the disruption of water service to the community and environment.

Mueller Smithfield, Virginia repairs a cracked coupling in under five minutes and without a service disruption“Our contractor was familiar with HYMAX repair and installation products and recommended the Versa Encapsulation repair sleeve coupling as the best option to prevent a service disruption,” said Jeff Smith, Maintenance Supervisor for the Town of Smithfield. A quick call to a close neighbor, the City of Franklin DPW-Utilities, allowed them to borrow one.

This stainless-steel repair sleeve coupling is designed for quick and easy repair of coupler leaks, as well as other similar applications. Not only can it be wrapped around leaking sleeves or couplers, but it also connects pipes of two different materials- allowing 3-degree dynamic deflection per end and reducing future damage. This provides a type of shock absorber to minimize damage due to ground shifts or expansion that can occur in the hot Virginia summers.

To install the Versa Encapsulation on the steel pipe, crews had to follow the procedure* below:

Step 1: Prepare installation area by descaling, clean the pipe and coupling as required using water to ensure that it is clear from debris and defects that might interfere with the product’s proper seal.

Step 2: Measure the pipe’s outer diameter and make sure the coupling’s size will fit the pipe properly. Measure the leaking joint’s length and diameter. Make sure that the coupling’s length is sufficient so that both gasket ends are on the pipe itself.

Step 3: Unpack and carefully remove the coupling from its packaging without using any kind of hammer to move it into position.

Step 4: Mark the pipe symmetrically on both sides of the joint according to the length of the coupling.

Step 5: Open the coupling by loosening the nuts so they are leveled with the tops of the bolts. Partially compress the lug assembly. Pull the lug compression beam upwards and unlatch the lug assembly – allowing the coupling to extend to a fully open position.

Step 6: Position the Versa Encapsulation coupling around the joint. Make sure that the gasket ends are on the surface of the pipe on both sides of the joint and not on the joint itself. At the same time, pull on the compression beam with one hand and with the other hand push on the gasket. Once the coupling is around the pipe, engage the compression beam until it clicks. The coupling can now be positioned over the leaking joint so that the two gasket ends are positioned on the outside of the joint on both sides.

Step 7: After the coupling is wrapped around the joint, engage the compression beam until it clicks into the second closing position. Tighten the compression nuts and make sure the lock teeth are aligned with their guiding slots.

Step 8: Tighten all the nuts evenly, working from the center of the lug assembly towards the end of the coupling. Check again that all nuts are closed to the torque.

Step 9: Recharge the line and check for leaks. If any leakage across the seal end is evident, reduce the pressure in the line and increase the labeled torque of the bolts up to 50%.

“As it was the first time for our maintenance team to install a HYMAX Versa Encapsulation coupling and time was of the essence, the crew reviewed a 6-minute installation video on the company’s website, which was helpful,” said Smith.

“It was a one-piece stab-on product with only 2 top-facing bolts to tighten. The entire process took us less than five minutes to complete and with no shut-off service required,” added Smith.

“This has given us peace of mind knowing that such a versatile solution is readily available in the repair market. To other utilities with aging pipes in your water network, this is what you need on your shelves and utility trucks. They will come in very handy,” concluded Smith.

The Versa Encapsulation enabled Smithfield Public Works and Utilities crew to make a quick repair without cutting the pipe and disrupting the flow of water to residents. As the coupling is made of 100% stainless steel and has weld-free construction it is resistant to corrosion since welded areas are where corrosion often starts. Given the flexibility of this product to repair or connect pipes and be used on a variety of different types of pipes, it can significantly reduce repair inventory for utilities that need to have these items on hand.

*Installation procedure varies from one situation to the other.

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