Sewer Repair Process FAQs

How are sewer mains being repaired?
Sewer mains are being repaired using a process called Cured-In-Place-Pipe (CIPP), a process used to repair about 50 percent of all water pipes in the United States and also used extensively to repair sanitary sewer and storm water pipes. Lee’s Summit has used this process for several years to rehabilitate more than 30 miles of sewer lines throughout the City to ensure residents have safe and reliable sanitary sewer services.

What is the CIPP process?
The CIPP process is a cost-effective and non-invasive process that involves inserting a soft plastic liner inside a host pipe and then curing (hardening) the liner with pressurized steam. There will be no digging or trenching through this process and once your sewer is lined, the process should never need to be repeated. 

Are the chemicals used in the CIPP process safe?
The CIPP process uses a styrene monomer resin to rehabilitate the pipes. Styrene is widely used and can be found in items such as consumer electronics, medical supplies, packaging, etc. In addition, foods such as coffee, strawberries and cinnamon naturally contain styrene. Styrene has a very distinct odor that is noticeable at a threshold of 0.1 parts per million (ppm). The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a safe exposure standard for styrene of 50 parts per million (ppm) over an eight hour day. Exposure levels from the CIPP process are significantly below this.

How long will my service be interrupted when a sewer main is being repaired?
The process only takes a few hours. During this time residents are asked not to run appliances and to limit water use. Once crews are complete, residents can resume using water and the process should never need to be repeated. Can the steam enter my home or business? No, but it is possible that odors from the process may enter your home. If odor is entering your home, it is likely through private plumbing defects such as cracks in pipe, dry floor drains and sinks.

What should I do if odors enter my home during the sewer rehabilitation process? 
Generally, odors entering homes are minor and subside quickly. Pouring water down dry floor drains and sinks, as well as opening a window should quickly eliminate the odor. In some very rare instances, the odor can be more severe. This may be more prevalent in older homes or homes with defects in the private sanitary sewer service lateral or home plumbing system. If you feel the odors are severe or if you think you may be experiencing adverse effects from the odor, consider evacuating or calling 911 to ensure your safety. Additionally, call Lee’s Summit Water Utilities at 816.969.1900 to schedule private sewer investigations to identify the defects that are allowing odors to penetrate the home.

If you have any additional concerns, please call Lee’s Summit Water Utilities Operations at 816.969.1940.