You are in charge of a lot of things as a municipal decision maker. Manholes might not seem like the highest priority when Mrs. Jenson is demanding the lawn at the park needs mowed before the ladies glee club has their annual picnic, and Dr. Strickland is asking why his street hasn’t been repaved in ten years. But, manholes need attention to head off bigger issues down the road.
Here is a list of things to watch out for that will clue you in on upcoming maintenance issues and allow you to get ahead of the curve.
Brick and Mortar Deterioration
This one is easy. Open the manhole lid and look for any signs that indicate the brick and mortar, or precast rings are shifting and deteriorating. Once this deterioration process starts it’s a vicious cycle. A depression starts around the outside of the manhole in the road surface. This depression allows groundwater to pool and penetrate to the manhole, washing more material away and worsening the depression. Traffic impacts add to the problem and soon you have a manhole frame severely out of level.
If you see any telltale signs at the road surface near the manhole, you have an issue under the lid that needs immediate attention.
Over the years we realized most of our sewer main blockages were from deteriorated chimney bricks falling into manholes and then pushed through the mains. We made an inventory list deeming which manholes were in the worst condition and began repairing them first. Since we first purchased the Mr. Manhole system nearly eight years ago we repaired hundreds of manholes drastically reducing the number of blockages while providing a better road surface for drivers.
Director of Streets and Roads – City of Thompson, NY
Sunken or Uneven Manhole Lids
Manhole lids that are not level with the road are more than an aesthetic issue or a “bump in the road”. There is a much more serious issue here. That “bump” is causing repeated impact loading from traffic. Imagine heavy vehicles repeatedly banging away at the manhole structure which is already falling apart. It doesn’t take long until the entire manhole structure crumbles and collapses. Getting on these sunken manholes early and repairing them properly can save countless dollars and repair time later.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Importance of Timely Manhole Repairs
The leading cause of sunken manholes is a poorly designed repair method, and inferior material selection. This is why you need to select a manhole repair method that is carefully engineered to use the very best materials. The method must be designed to distribute the traffic impact loading over a wide area and away from the manhole structure. Preventing leakage into the manhole structure is important to prevent the collapse of the surrounding road base as well as preventing unnecessary sewage treatment cost.
Once you select a proven and well-engineered repair system like the Mr. Manhole system you can be confident that your manholes are being maintained in the very best fashion. You will be preventing breakdowns in the future, preventing bumps in the roads, preventing excess sewage treatment costs, and taking a huge amount of work off of your crews.
This type of manhole maintenance costs you and your city absolutely nothing! It actually makes your city money in the form of labor savings, prevention of snow plow damage, sewage treatment costs, and the fact that you rarely have to rebuild a manhole if it is constructed correctly.