Green Mountain Pipeline Services Inc.
The majority of the nation’s drinking and waste water infrastructure began nearing the end of its useable life at the dawn of the 21st century. Today, communities rely on systems that were installed hundreds of years ago, designed for significantly less development and population. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), there is an estimated 240,000 water main breaks annually in the U.S.
While the country’s underground infrastructure deteriorates almost faster than it can be repaired, one New England-based company is doing its part to keep up with the demand. “The design life on any engineered product is only about 50 years,” reveals Tim Vivian, president of Green Mountain Pipeline Services Inc. (GMPS). “Some sewers in New England – the oldest part of the country – were installed over 150 years ago. While some materials and clay piping remains strong, the pipes continue to leak more and more. These systems were installed before we realized the severe consequences to public health when dirty water ends up in our waterways.”
A Small Niche Preventing Big Problems
Since 2003, GMPS has been doing its part to tackle the infrastructure problem, providing pipeline rehabilitation throughout New England and New York. “We fill a small niche that helps prevent big problems,” explains Tim. “We’re the only company in New England that offers a full range of trenchless techniques from cleaning and TV inspection to relining pipes and rehabilitating manholes. The guys who dig aren’t our competition, because that’s not what we do.”
Tim first realized the opportunity for trenchless rehabilitation in the early 1990s while working for a utility contractor in New York City. “I was working for another contractor, doing dig work, utility installations and repairs,” he recalls. “With that background, the company began to develop its own process for trenchless repair work and we’ve kept at it for years.”
Partnering with Brent Ketner, vice president of GMPS, as well as Cory Sterns, corporate secretary for GMPS, the trio runs GMP from the company’s single location in Royalton, Vt. “We work all over New England and New York state,” adds Tim.
GMPS currently employs approximately 32 employees, which according to Tim, are some of the best in the business. While sharing an email from a Vermont-based engineer regarding a tour of the process his employees willingly performed, Tim says there’s nothing that gives him more pride than the spirit of his crew. “Sometimes construction guys get a bad rap, but not our guys,” he claims. “They go above and beyond for the customer. Some days it’s not all rosy but most days we do pretty well.”
Out of Sight but Not Out of Mind
Tim says what drives GMPS’ industry is prevention. “Most people think we are keeping sewer water from leaking out of the system, but we keep untreated ground water from leaking in,” he explains. “For example; if a waste water treatment plant is designed to handle 1 million gallons of water per day and 2 million gallons come in and the systems overflow that water ends up in the watershed the plant is tied to.”
Tim recalls one of GMPS’ more challenging pipe relining jobs in Falmouth, Mass. “This site was situated right on the Nantucket Sound,” he shares. “We were dealing with a force main, which was a challenge but we did everything without digging up the area. Digging would have caused a big portion of the scenic walking and biking trail to be closed down. Relining of 4,000 feet of pipe also saved what would have been an astronomical cost of complete replacement.”
GMPS also works on large-scale culverts. “We recently relined two 72-inch culverts,” notes Tim. “Anything that size always presents challenges, but it’s good to see such a big pipe finally relined.”
Additionally, the company performs manhole rehabilitation and other trenchless solutions, including the testing and sealing of pipelines. This is done by setting up over a manhole where equipment is pulled into the pipeline, where each joint and crack can be pressure tested and grouted if the test fails. GMPS performs all of this cost effectively on pipelines ranging from 6 inches to 48 inches without disruption to the mainline or lateral and small footprint of on-street equipment.
While other companies have struggled to pull through the economic downturn, Tim says GMPS’ small niche has allowed the company to remain constantly busy. “Ninety-nine percent of the work we do is for municipalities,” he notes. “We work under direct regulations of the Clean Water Act of 1973, which is funded through federal government and state bonds. There’s constantly work in this market, because there’s always something that needs to be fixed.”
Tim has only positive things to say. “There’s more work now than there has ever been,” he continues. “We have a lot work to do and big projects to complete.” Even with an abundance of work on the horizon, Tim says GMPS is comfortable in its current position. “We could possibly add another crew or expand our footprint into New Jersey, but we don’t want to get too big,” he adds.
As more and more underground infrastructure deteriorates, Green Mountain Pipeline Services Inc. remains the go-to company above ground to get the job done quickly and safely.
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