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October 10, 2017

PENETRON Helps Ensure a Hurricane-Proof Solution in Texas

Weathering harsh weather is often a key factor in the specification of PENETRON crystalline projects for construction in marine environments. However, the possibility of hurricane-level weather hitting the just-opened 59th Street Pump Station on Galveston Island in Texas would make any general contractor think twice. Concrete treated with PENETRON ADMIX weathered the recent hurricane weather on the Gulf without a problem.

This bird’s-eye view of the new 59th Street Pump Station shows the exposed location. PENETRON ADMIX was used to treat all concrete below the specified 25-feet elevation.

Extreme weather ready: This bird’s-eye view of the new 59th Street Pump Station shows the exposed location. PENETRON ADMIX was used to treat all concrete below the specified 25-feet elevation.
 

The 59th Street Pump Station has no doors, windows, or minor pipe penetrations below a 25-foot elevation; PENETRON ADMIX treated all concrete below that level.

Withstands Category 5 hurricane: The 59th Street Pump Station has no doors, windows, or minor pipe penetrations below a 25-foot elevation; PENETRON ADMIX treated all concrete below that level.

The 59th Street Pump Station on Galveston Island is the city's primary source of fresh water – and was knocked out of service in 2008 because of the exceptional storm surge caused by Hurricane Ike. The complete lack of water severely compromised recovery efforts in the wake of the storm and subsequent flooding. Construction of the new facility focused on the ability to withstand a Category 5 hurricane wind. 

“This project was built to stand up to current 500-year storm criteria,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The PENETRON Group. “The entire construction was waterproofed up to a sea level elevation of 25 feet; there are no doors, windows, or minor pipe penetrations below that elevation.”

The interior of the new pump station features a break room, a restroom, and disinfection rooms for the storage and distribution of chlorine and liquid ammonia sulfate (LAS), which are both used as disinfectants in the drinking water treatment process. There are also analysis systems to test and monitor concentration levels in the water, an electrical room and a mechanical/control room. 

“The new, upgraded facility ensures that the entire island will have continued access to potable water during and after a hurricane event,” adds Mr. Chen.

During the design stage of the project, the local PENETRON team carried out concrete repair demonstrations for the project managers at Primoris Services Corporation and Cardinal Contractors, the general contractor and a subsidiary of Primoris Services. The demonstrations showed convincing proof that concrete admixture treatment and surface applications of crystalline materials could seal and eliminate shrinkage cracks in the concrete, and PENETRON ADMIX SB – in pre-measured, soluble bags – was specified to treat over 1,500 yds3 (1,150 m3) of concrete. All concrete elements within the pump station below the 25-foot elevation were treated with PENETRON ADMIX. In addition, PENECRETE MORTAR was used to permanently seal the resulting tie holes in the new concrete structure.

Added to the concrete mix at the time of batching, PENETRON ADMIX SB reacts with the water to form an insoluble network of crystalsthat fill in cracks, pores and voids normally found in concrete. This process takes place throughout the concrete structure, making it impermeable to moisture and chemical attack (such as the chloride ions found in the seawater surrounding Galveston Island). 

“Construction of the new pump station was not complete when Hurricane Harvey hit the area in August, but the new facility weathered the unbelievable winds, rain, and storm surges quite well,” concludes Mr. Chen. “While the official opening was delayed by two months when CenterPoint, the electric and natural gas utility serving Galveston Island, was unable to get power to run the pumps at the construction site, the concrete structures were completely intact.”

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