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Garney and James River Crossing team set world record

June 2024


Newport News, Virginia – In early May, Garney and the rest of the James River Crossing (JRX) team achieved a groundbreaking milestone by completing the longest pullback of a 42-inch HDPE pipe. In a remarkable feat of teamwork and craftsmanship, crews successfully pulled a 5,700-foot pipeline with the assistance of a pipe pusher under the Newport News shipping channel—the sixth busiest port in the U.S.—in roughly 24 hours.

This monumental task was a critical component in the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s (HRSD) Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) program, an innovative water treatment initiative, aimed at ensuring groundwater sustainability and enhancing water quality for the Chesapeake Bay region. The newly installed pipeline will connect the new Boat House Pump Station with the Nansemond Treatment Plant on the opposite bank of the James River.

The operation began with the fully fused pipeline being towed across the James River, escorted by marine police for safety. Once across, the pipeline was positioned for the land-to-water pullback. Crews used a pipe pusher on a platform in the water to thread the pipe and engage it throughout the pullback process. This novel technology was instrumental in reducing the pull forces on the million-pound landside drill rig, ensuring a smooth and efficient operation without overstressing the pipe.

The force main pipeline is essential to the SWIFT program’s goals of replenishing the Potomac Aquifer and improving water treatment processes to meet new nutrient targets for drinking water. Previously, treated wastewater was discharged into the James River. With the new pipeline, this water will now be transported to the Nansemond Treatment Plant for additional processing, increasing HRSD’s drinking water capacity. This process will enable HRSD to dispense 120 million gallons per day (MGD) of purified water into the Potomac Aquifer, ensuring the sustainability of groundwater resources for current and future use in Eastern Virginia.

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