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Redesign and Manufacturing of Hazardous Material Resistant Waste Drain

Case StudyCase StudyHazardous Material Resistant Bridge Drain

The river passing under a major bridge - a critical source of water to the region - was in danger of being contaminated by trucks carrying hazardous waste. The bridge provides a major transportation artery, and could not be redesigned or closed for any significant period of time. A catchment area for runoff already existed; all that was required was a system of pipes, hooked into the existing grates that would redirect runoff and prevent contamination even after a major accident.

The project required a configuration of drainpipes that did not exist in the marketplace. We were hired to design and produce a PVC drain that would meet the unique demands of the location and would eliminate the threat posed by a hazardous waste spill on an economically important utility. Our solution needed to be installed without altering the bridge itself.

We evaluated the design for manufacturability and realized that one end of the drain would need a standard circular end, but the other side would have to be elongated into a more capsule-like shape, ending in a rectangle that fit the available space on the side of the bridge, including a standard grate.

  1. We realized that a single mold would not be able to accommodate both ends of the pipe, so we designed a two-part process that would allow us to mold the two ends separately and then affix them permanently in a single fixture.
  2. UV-stabilized PVC was the only material that met our customer’s needs; it can handle a wide range of hazardous materials while surviving long-term exposure to weather and traffic.
  3. We designed and built a low-use plastic injection tool with no moving parts to produce the few finished pieces the job required, and to keep costs down.

Our client received a completely custom PVC solution that protects an important river, and is completely integrated into the existing roadway. Our simple design enabled the piece to be installed easily while minimizing costs and traffic disruption.


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