A leaking water supply pipe in Brega, Libya having undergone a live leak pipe repair using a SylWrap Universal Pipe Repair Kit

Libya Above & Below Ground Water Supply Network Pipes Live Leak Repair

Cracks in one above-ground and one below-ground section of water supply pipe in a network servicing a town in Libya undergo live leak repair to prevent precious freshwater from being lost in one of the most arid regions on Earth.

Case Study Overview

Site Water supply network
Location Brega, Libya
Pipe Type 100mm steel water pipe
Pressure 5 bar
Repair Type Live leak repair
Products Wrap & Seal Pipe Burst Tape, SylWrap HD Pipe Repair Bandage


Pipe Defect

80 percent of the population of Libya live on the north coast alongside the Mediterranean. Freshwater sources in these areas are scarce, with the rare sources of groundwater that exist salty and often contaminated by sewage.

Libya however have resources of ancient water stored in vast underground aquifers located in the south of the country. A huge project known as the Great Man Made River of Libya was conceived to extract this water and transport it via 4,000 kilometres of pipes to the most populous areas.

The town of Brega in the north-east is serviced by a network of 100mm steel water pipes running both above and below ground. These pipes connect to the Great Man Made River and supply precious water to homes and businesses at around 5 bar pressure.

An underground leak was known about, visible through signs in the earth surrounding the pipe. Despite the scarcity of water in Libya, attending to the problem had never been a priority.

A live leak repair was not considered possible and replacing the leaking section would have been costly. The problem was therefore ignored, out of sight and out of mind.

When a longitudinal split then developed in above-ground pipe and significant levels of water could be very clearly seen escaping and flooding the area beneath the line, a blind eye could not be turned.

The importance of this section to Brega’s water network meant shutting down the pipe for repair or replacement. Those responsible for the maintenance of the network had their hands forced into finding a live leak repair method.

Water escaping the longitudinal split in the above-ground water pipe

SylWrap Solution

It was decided to use a SylWrap Universal Pipe Repair Kit to fix the above-ground section. All the products in the Kit have WRAS approval, meaning that they are safe to British standards to use on pipes and fittings which carry drinking water.

Wrap & Seal Pipe Burst Tape was wrapped along the length of the longitudinal split. The tape was stretched by its maximum 300 percent, fusing to form a solid rubber band.

Once the split had been covered, multiple Wrap & Seals were applied over each other until no more water was leaking from the pipe. This indicated that a repair had been built capable of withstanding the 5 bar pressure.

To reinforce the line, a SylWrap HD Pipe Repair Bandage was then applied. After activating the resin with water, SylWrap HD was wrapped and smoothed around the pipe. Within 10 minutes, it had cured to form a rock hard, impact resistant protective sleeve.

Having seen how straightforward a SylWrap Pipe Repair Kit was to use, the decision was taken to excavate and repair the leaking underground section of water supply pipe. A trench was dug with another clearance beneath the pipe so that it could be effectively wrapped with Wrap & Seal and SylWrap HD.

The defect was discovered to be a small crack. This was easily arrested using the same repair method as with the earlier above-ground repair, after which the line was reburied.

Repair of a steel pipe in a water supply network in Libya
The above-ground pipe successfully repaired
Repair of an underground water supply pipe in Libya which serviced the town of Brega as part of a vast network
The underground pipe suffering from a smaller crack was excavated and repaired

Outcome

Each repair took under 30 minutes to complete with no disruption to water supplies in Brega. Had the above-ground pipe not burst and force the hands of the company into seeking a live leak repair method, then the underground pipe may have been allowed to continue leaking for many years, wasting precious freshwater.


Follow Up

The ease and speed with which both applications were carried out created an awareness of how quick and straightforward pipe repair can be. Future leaks on the water supply network are now set to be tackled with SylWrap Pipe Repair Kits as soon as they identified, something which can make a huge difference in an arid country like Libya.


Products Used

Wrap & Seal Pipe Burst Tape
Silicone tape which fuses into a solid rubber band to seal pressurised live leaks

SylWrap HD Bandage
Water-activated wrap sets rock hard to create a protective sleeve over repairs

Universal Pipe Repair Kit
Wrap & Seal and SylWrap HD were supplied together in a Universal Pipe Repair Kit

Pipe Repair Contractor Case
Easy-to-store Case containing enough products to make up to six live leak repairs


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