Diversified Service Offerings Help Company Tackle Challenging Jobs

Hawaii's Pipe Masters prides itself on being able to handle especially difficult work, as shown by one job that required the company to take a hybrid approach using both old and new techniques

Diversified Service Offerings Help Company Tackle Challenging Jobs

Jason Koran, owner of Pipe Masters in Honolulu, Hawaii

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The value of Honolulu, Hawaii-based Pipe Masters’ diversified services was graphically illustrated several years ago during an emergency job that owner Jason Koran — who thoroughly enjoys a good challenge — still recalls like it happened yesterday.

In Pearlridge Center, Hawaii’s largest enclosed mall, located in Aiea, just northwest of Honolulu, an approximately 300-foot-long run of cast-iron sewer line had cracks and small holes in one section and a rotted-out bottom in another.

The job was challenging because the sewer line was 6 feet deep and ran down the middle of a wing of the mall. Businesses couldn’t be disrupted, so crews worked at night. Furthermore, in the middle of the run of pipe, it transitioned from 6-inch to 4-inch pipe — and the transition point was inaccessible, explains Koran.

After assessing the situation, Koran and his crew opted for a unique hybrid solution that involved both old-school and new techniques.

Technicians started the project by using old-fashioned excavation to bust out the floor in a vacant store and replace a 20-foot section of corroded pipe — a poor candidate for pipe coating or pipe lining — with ABS plastic pipe, he says.

Next, the crew used a RODDIE R8 pipe bursting machine to replace one section of the pipe from one end of the new ABS pipe to a connection with a city mainline sewer about 140 feet downstream.

“Pipe bursting made sense because there was only one 45-degree bend and no branch connections to reinstate,” he says.

At the other end of the new pipe, the crew used a Maxliner system to line the remaining 140 feet or so of damaged pipe.

“We had to get creative because there aren’t any liners that can handle transitions in pipe sizes,” Koran says. “And there wasn’t any upstream access point, either. So we used a 5-inch-diameter liner that would wind up being a little thicker on the 4-inch part of the pipe and a little thinner on the 6-inch section of the pipe.”

A Maxliner rep who was overseeing the job said the approach probably wouldn’t work. So Koran and his crew stopped, thought it over for a day and then decided to roll the dice the next night and finished the job. Technicians then used a MediCutter from Maxliner to perform three or four line reinstatements.

The job took two weeks and Koran says it still ranks among the most difficult projects the company has ever attempted.

“But we don’t leave jobs until we find a way to fix the problem,” he says.

Pipe Masters still does scheduled maintenance at the mall, and Koran says the repaired section of pipe remains in great shape, and no longer causes sewer backups at businesses in that part of the mall.

“We recently inspected the line and it’s still in great shape after more than five years in service.”


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