Mission Impossible—Kangaroo Valley
Reline a 1-mile-long, 9-foot-diameter water pipeline in Australia’s Kangaroo Valley.
- Blast the pipe’s interior.
- Reline the pipe.
- Before relining the pipe, 190 tons of spent garnet, 27 tons of paint flakes, and miscellaneous other waste material needed to be removed from the pipeline.
- The pipeline is underground and the majority of it rests at a 60° incline.
- The entrance-exit to the pipeline is 1.5 miles from the hydropower station, where the spent abrasive needed to be transported for disposal.
- The hydropower station is located in Australia’s Kangaroo Valley, a protected nature reserve about a 2.5-hour drive south of Sydney. Noise, dust, and other safety and pollution compliance was particularly important in the nature reserve.
- The original plan was for workers to manually remove the abrasive —until Munkebo accepted the mission.
- The contractor erected a Munkebo MB-5000 Vacuum System with a 20-ton storage hopper above ground over the pipeline.
- Munkebo custom-designed a 1,300-foot vacuum hose that ran underground from the vacuum system through an existing 65-foot inspection tunnel that connected to the underground pipeline.
- Workers then dragged the vacuum hose through the pipeline to the section of the pipeline where the spent abrasive and waste were stored.
- Workers vacuumed up the abrasive and waste.
- Once above ground, the abrasive and waste were transported away from the MB-5000 Vacuum System for disposal.
- The Munkebo MB-5000 Vacuum System recovered 4.5 tons of spent abrasive and waste per hour. This rate allowed the contractor to finish the job well ahead of schedule, therefore, avoiding penalties for completing the job past deadline.
The impossible was accomplished. All of the spent abrasive and waste was removed for disposal. The success of the project helped the contractor become one of Australia’s largest coatings contractors, and the contractor has since regularly purchased more Munkebo Vacuum Systems and other Munkebo equipment.
Abrasive blasting (formerly known as sandblasting) also is called grit blasting, bead blasting, media blasting, soda blasting, dry blasting, sponge blasting, shot blasting, and shot peening. However, sand should never be used when abrasive blasting because breathing abrasive containing crystalline (free) silica can lead to serious or fatal lung disease.