Peter Sczepanski, Head of the association MAWV, discusses the advantages of trenchless technology
Mr. Sczepanski, what does the MAWV stand for and what are the targets of your association?

We as an association stand for safe and reliable supplies and disposals with comparatively low fees. Of course, this does not come automatically. The association is constantly investing in the infrastructure. 17,4 Mio. € alone in 2020. Through monitoring, we try to identify weak points and remedy them preventively. 

In future, we would not only like to maintain this reliability, but to extend it even further. Environmental protection is also of particular importance to us. Our claim is “Water is our nature”. Thus it is a special target for us to be completely climate neutral in the future. In the field of drinking water we have already achieved this as one of the first associations in Germany. In the field of wastewater, we aim to achieve this target by 2021.

What are the most important achievements of the MAWV, together with its member communities on the water and wastewater route? 

The association has a very good relationship with its member communities. Therefore, many agreements between the communities and our association are made quickly and smoothly.

The early co-ordination and reconciliation between our construction sites and the communities’ road construction sites should be mentioned here. But also the confidence of the local communities in our association, for example, when we only make traffic space restrictions where they are absolutely necessary. It is also surely a success that outset decisions are always made together in consideration of the pros and cons for the citizens and the association. This ultimately led to the fact that the association always had a financial basis to be able to carry out its tasks and invest.

How many of the construction projects are executed using trenchless rehabilitation or installation methods?

Basically, we plan and execute almost every construction project without trenchless methods. We invest in the pipeline and not in roadworks and excavations. Furthermore, it is natural for our association to keep traffic space restrictions to a minimum. Of course, every construction project also includes areas with open construction pits etc. However, these must be reduced and limited to what is necessary
For this reason, we almost exclusively apply the HDD method for new pipeline installations. A more than established method, which is also applied by almost all regional civil engineering companies. 
In addition to the construction of new pipelines, the focus in the future will increasingly be on pipe rehabilitation. Here too, we are striving for trenchless technologies. Just this year we have successfully renovated a number of our sewer canals using various trenchless technologies. The residents have hardly noticed any of this, a complete success.

Is Trenchless Technology already a daily routine for you? 

Yes, you can say so. For our association this is not a future topic, it is the here and now. It is only natural for us, for example to be a member of the GSTT, the German Society of Trenchless Technologies.

I look at it this way: Today there is really no reason, not to install trenchlessly. There is a relevant trenchless technology for almost every application case. The manufacturers of materials, such as pipes, have also developed solutions for Trenchless Technologies.

There is also a set of rules for trenchless technologies for both the sewer and pressure pipe sectors. Complying with these standards can allow an expected service life of 50 years. That’s all we need to say about sustainability. Apropos: The environmental aspect is of general importance. With each trenchless construction, as opposed to a conventional, open trench task, we are saving CO2. In addition to this, noise, jobsite traffic, traffic jams, time and much more.

In concrete terms: In the town of Weißenfels, a combined sewer in one of the town’s most important streets has been renewed without trenches and was simultaneously upsized using pipe bursting. What were the advantages of the trenchless technology in terms of infrastructure protection, traffic and the residents, in this case?

The advantages of the trenchless method came into full play in this construction project. I’m pretty sure that this construction project was also more advantageous than an open trench method from a cost perspective. 500 m of canal means a lot of earthmoving, road demolition and road restoration work, when applying the open trench method. All of this was not necessary or only to an extremely minimal extent. The environment, residents and motorists were relieved.

Of course we have similar examples in our own association area. This year, for example, we rehabilitated almost one kilometre of a ND 600 drinking water pipeline using a trenchless method. 6 excavation pits were required in places and the traffic was not interrupted at any time. I have been wondering a few times, whether we would have even been able to get this construction project approved today using the open trench method. It would have meant cutting down trees, diverting traffic, finding solutions for the numerous residents etc. No, I will stick with my opinion, open trench was yesterday, trenchless is today. 

Many thanks Mr. Sczepanski. 

MAWV (Märkischer Abwasser- und Wasserzweckverband)
The area covered by the MAWV (Märkischer Sewage and Water Management Association) today has a population of around 120,000. The task of the association is to provide people with good quality drinking water in a reliable manner - and at the same time dipose of the resulting wastewater in an environmentally friendly way.
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