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CORE & MAIN CASE STUDY: CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIRS
At Core & Main®, we are not just industry leaders. We also are community members committed to preserving safe and sustainable infrastructure. When a potential waterworks disaster strikes, we are right there in the heart of the storm, partnering with municipal leaders and local workers helping to set it all right again. With our national reach and local expertise, our network of experts provides innovative solutions with a wide range of water, sewer and storm drainage products.
Reaching the Breaking Point
Nearly five million gallons of sewage.
To many, the phrase alone sounds like a statistic or a gross exaggeration. For the residents of Ventnor Heights, New Jersey, though, it was all too real. For four excruciating days, sewage poured into the streets and across their yards.
Within just two days, the specialized equipment was in the hands of the contractor, and the repairs were underway.
“[Core & Main] had the ability to locate materials that would match up with our custom-size materials in a fashion that was expeditious and would provide us with a strong, long-lasting repair.”
Atlantic County Utilities Authority Senior Engineer
“This was one of the most severe emergencies I’ve been to, and I’ve been to a lot of them,” reflects Rusty Miller, outside sales representative at Core & Main.
Miller works at Core & Main’s branch in Berlin, New Jersey, located about 45 minutes from the site of the spill. With more than two decades of experience in the waterworks business, Miller’s perspective on the severity of the situation speaks volumes.
It was Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, when Miller got the call about a major leak in the area between Ventnor and Atlantic City, N.J.
The leak was wreaking havoc on land and also was spreading contamination in the nearby Atlantic City Bay. The owner of Lafayette Utility Construction (LUC) told Miller to standby while workers bypassed the line to stop the leak. When LUC finally got the leak under control four days later, they invited Miller out to determine exactly what went wrong. On Thursday, he set foot on site for the first time.
“When I saw it, it was not a pretty sight. But Core & Main does this every day. We’re prepared to do it,” Miller adds.
He got to work right away piecing together the cause of the break. Miller and other personnel onsite were able to surmise that a coupling fail had occurred, likely as a result of older infrastructure, but that discovery was only the first piece of the puzzle.
John Conover, a senior engineer with the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) since 2018, has been a project manager for several emergencies. None of those, he says, have been as major or as unique to solve as the situation in Ventnor Heights, N.J.
The failure was eventually traced to an old connection piece between two 27-inch HDPE pipes.
“27 inches is an odd size. So that meant we were not able to use off-the-shelf type parts for this repair,” Conover explains.
Noting the need for a specialized solution, Miller tapped into Core & Main’s nationwide reach and local expertise – and called up HDPE expert Jack Stowers out of Poca, West Virginia.
“We kicked in the entire team to start thinking of ways to make this repair,” Stowers recalls.
With the clock ticking, Miller and Stowers were able to source products from across the country, with Stower’s team trimming down 30-inch flanged adapters to match the source of the leak perfectly. Within just two days, the specialized equipment was in the hands of the contractor, and repairs were underway. That speed and efficiency did not go unnoticed.
“This is really where Core & Main’s expertise came in. They had the ability to locate materials that would match up with our custom-size materials in a fashion that was expeditious and would provide us with a strong, long-lasting repair” Conover adds.
What started as a potentially months-long road closure and near-disastrous leak was contained within a few weeks. It is outcomes like this that remind Miller and Stowers why they chose this line of work.
“Core & Main has allowed me to do what I love to do every day and that's take care of my customers, continue to grow, continue to learn and work together as a team to get the job done,” Miller reflects.
“We’re not looking for a ’thank you‘ or any praise for the job we do. We’re just here to support our communities,” Stowers says matter-of-factly.
Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: our people and our communities.