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Public Liberal Arts University, Willimantic, USA

Historic university in the heart of Connecticut replaces heavy, aging ageing steel manhole covers with Fibrelite’s lightweight alternatives

One of the oldest universities in Connecticut has recently begun a replacement program for their existing utilities manhole covers. The university turned to Fibrelite to provide a solution that eliminated the occupational injury risks associated with the removal of heavy, cast iron manhole covers.

With a number of underground utilities all being maintained by staff at the university, Fibrelite needed to provide a range of products that were suitable for use in high-temperature water vaults, sewer lines and electrical pits. These requirements were highlighted as follows:

  • High-Temperature Water – covers need to be thermally insulating to reduce burn risks
  • Sewer – covers must provide odour control and prevent gas leaks without corroding
  • Electrical – covers should be non-conductive to eliminate electrocution risk

Furthermore, Fibrelite’s solution had to ensure that access into the manholes was impossible without the correct equipment. As a trial, the university decided to initially replace one of their high-temperature water covers in a green area. This cover was both extremely heavy and prone to heating up with increases in the vault temperature.

Heavy cast iron covers pose a significant threat of back & shoulder injuries along with the risk of trapped extremities
Here is another example of this

The newly installed Fibrelite 30” steam cover will significantly reduce the heat transfer from the vault to the manhole surface. The lightweight cover can now be removed by a single member of the Facilities team safely and easily using a specially designed lifting handle, thereby avoiding back strain injuries and trapped fingers.

Fibrelite’s composite manhole covers – cool to touch!

The thermal gradient properties of Fibrelite’s composite steam covers significantly reduce the heat transfer from a steam or high temperature water vault to the surface of the cover. Typically, the surface temperature of the cover will be slightly above the ambient temperature at street level even when subjected to extremely hot temperatures on the underside. Fibrelite’s composite access covers have been tested to temperatures up to 400°F while still maintaining their “cool to touch” properties and ability to support vehicular loads.

Fibrelite lightweight composite cover
The Fibrelite B125 (12.5 tonne) load rated lightweight trench and access covers

A comprehensive solution for any utility

Ideal for access to sewage systems, underground pipework, drainage networks, electrical junction boxes and telecommunications hardware, Fibrelite’s standard utilities covers are non-metallic, corrosion-resistant and non-conductive. All Fibrelite manhole covers are fitted with a silicone gasket creating a watertight seal that protects the inside of the vault while also preventing the release of odors and gasses. In addition, suction created by this gasket makes the removal of the cover, without the correct lifting handle, practically impossible. With sizes ranging from 12” to 40”, Fibrelite are able to provide covers for almost any application.

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