Sewer systems are a mysterious and ubiquitous world. Some dare to traverse down into the tunnels of the smelly unknown, but for the most part, we are largely separated from the world below the streets.
This is due in part to manhole covers. Typical manhole covers weigh as much as 200 pounds, and while these manhole covers have been relied upon for years, their scrap value and dangerous nature make them an unreliable means of covering manholes. Consequently, manhole theft is more common around the world than one would suspect. In fact, over the course of two months, more than 10,000 manhole covers were stolen out of the city of Calcutta in India. Even the replacement concrete covers were stolen and sold for scrap! Additionally, tragic incidents of manhole explosions that occur across the country destroy property, cause injuries, and even kill people.
An Innovative Solution
In response to all of these manhole-related issues, innovative technology was employed to come up with a sustainable, durable, and strong alternative to traditional manhole covers. Thus, composite manhole covers were born.
Composite manholes are unique in design. Unlike traditional manhole covers, they are made with a composite material. This material has zero scrap value; therefore, it is not a commodity that one would steal and sell. Composite covers are also lightweight. Compared to typical covers that weigh 100 to 200 pounds, composite covers weigh up to 85% less than traditional covers. This reduces the amount of risk should a manhole event occur. Finally, composite manholes are durable and are able to last for as long as 30 years without maintenance. Meanwhile, cast iron manholes typically require a significant amount of maintenance over the same 30 year period. This regular maintenance costs a significant amount of money and resources to achieve, with negligence resulting in a potential manhole event.
Improvement requires change and innovation over time. These significant contributions to infrastructure have only positively impacted the world, and will continue to do so over time.