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Strengthening infrastructure integrity: The benefits of precast concrete vaults in backflow, metering and pipeline systems

Valve and pipeline systems are integral to many sectors, including municipal utilities, oil and gas, and industrial processes. The incorporation of precast concrete vaults into buried infrastructure systems offers numerous benefits that contribute to the optimal operation of these systems:

  • Ease of Construction: The crews of installation teams and the installation contractor benefit from pre-assembled vaults because the speed of installation results in fewer hours of crews on site thereby reducing the possibility of onsight injury, labor hours and cost. Before systems are delivered to the sight, they are tested to meet specifications and standards. Pre-assembed systems contribute significantly to the completion of buried infrastructure contracts according to plan, schedule and budget.
  • Protection and Security: Precast concrete vaults provide a secure and protective housing for valves and pipeline components. They shield these components from external factors such as weather, vandalism, and accidental damage, preserving their functionality and integrity.
  • Durability in Harsh Environments: Valves and pipelines often operate in challenging environments, including corrosive atmospheres and extreme temperatures. Precast concrete’s inherent durability ensures that these vaults can withstand such conditions, reducing the risk of degradation and ensuring a longer service life.
  • Accessibility and Maintenance: Vault designs often incorporate features such as hinged or removable covers, allowing easy access to valves and pipeline components for maintenance and repairs. This accessibility minimizes downtime and contributes to system reliability.
  • Customization: Precast concrete vaults can be customized to accommodate different valve and pipeline configurations. This flexibility ensures that the vaults fit specific requirements, regardless of the industry or system size.
  • Reduced Footprint: The compact design of precast vaults optimizes space usage, making them suitable for congested urban areas or sites with limited available space.

In water supply and wastewater management, precast concrete vaults protect critical valves that control the flow of water and manage distribution. These vaults play a pivotal role in maintaining the stability of municipal water systems.

Precast concrete vaults house valves and pipeline components that regulate the flow of hydrocarbons in the oil and gas industry. These vaults ensure safe operations and prevent leaks that could have environmental and economic consequences.

Industries relying on controlled fluid or gas transport, such as chemical manufacturing, benefit from precast concrete vaults that protect valves integral to production processes.

The integration of precast concrete vaults in valve and pipeline systems highlights their significant contribution to infrastructure resilience and reliability. By providing protection, durability, and accessibility, precasty concrete vaults safeguard critical components that enable the smooth flow of liquids and gases across various industries. As industries evolve and demand sustainable solutions, precast concrete vaults are poised to remain a cornerstone in enhancing the efficiency and longevity of these essential systems.

Turner Storm Shelter
TurnerCo Concrete underground storm shelters are commonly used in Texas and other tornado-prone areas

Texas experiences a high frequency of tornadoes due to its geographical location and weather patterns. Tornadoes can cause significant damage and pose a threat to human life. Concrete underground storm shelters provide a reliable and durable structure that can protect individuals from the powerful winds and flying debris associated with tornadoes.

Structural Integrity: Precast concrete structures are strong and sturdy, and can withstand extreme weather conditions. Underground storm shelters made of concrete with steel rebar reinforcing are designed to withstand the impact forces exerted by high velocity wind carrying all sorts of debris. They offer a high level of structural integrity, reducing the risk of collapse and providing a safe haven for families and workers during severe storms.

Durability: Concrete is a long-lasting material that can withstand the test of time. By constructing storm shelters with precast concrete structures, they can resist deterioration and remain functional for decades without requiring frequent maintenance or repairs.

Accessibility and Convenience: Underground concrete storm shelters can be conveniently located on residential properties, in public places like schools, community centers, or parks, and industrial/commercial properties. Precast concrete structures allow for customization and can be built to accommodate various sizes and capacities, providing accessibility to a larger number of people during emergencies. If there is no space for an outdoor shelter, above ground indoor storm shelters are available from TurnerCo.

Multi-Purpose Use: Precast concrete storm shelters can serve multiple purposes. They can be designed to double as storage areas, wine cellars, basements, and safe rooms. This flexibility allows homeowners to maximize the utility of space while still ensuring safety during storms.

Protection from Other Hazards: Apart from tornadoes, concrete storm shelters can provide protection from hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, and even acts of violence or home invasions. They offer a secure and fortified space that can be used in various emergency situations.

TurnerCo produces the TornadoShield storm shelter designed, built, tested, and installed properly to meet any of the US FEMA-320,[4] FEMA-361[8], ICC-500[9], NPCTS (National Performance Criteria for Tornado Shelters), or ICC/NSSA Standards.

TurnerCo Aerobic septic tank installation
On-site sewage facilities / Septic Systems are the choice for approximately 20% of new houses in Texas

Anaerobic septic systems involve the use of bacteria that don’t require oxygen to live. An aerobic septic system involves a single tank with 3 separate compartments. Waste enters the first compartment and settles, then moves to the next compartment where an aerator moves oxygen bubbles through the waste. This allows aerobic bacteria to consume the waste before discharge.

On-site sewage facilities, or OSSFs are the system of choice for approximately 20% of new houses built in Texas. The increase of new housing in suburban and rural areas means that more Texas households depend on an OSSF for treatment and disposal of domestic sewage. In recent years many new systems have been permitted, most in high growth areas of the state. New approaches to design and overseeing OSSFs ensure systems do their job properly and protect the environment. Source:

In most areas of the state, local authorities have taken on the responsibility for ensuring that OSSFs in their area comply with state requirements. Many local governments are “authorized agents” (AA) of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for administering the OSSF Program. Often, the AA has a “designated representative” (DR) to assist with reviewing plans for constructing, altering, extending or repairing each OSSF; issuing permits; and inspecting system installation. Source:

Precast concrete boxes have applications other than culverts

Critical infrastructure such as culverts and small bridges comprised of multiple precast concrete box sections are specified because the service life of the boxes match the design life of the project. Single and multi-barrelled culverts and small bridges are most common under roads, but they are also used under railways. Specifiers looking for material and products that have a 100-year service life tend to include precast boxes. Contractors prefer precast because it arrives on site in standard sizes and is easy and fast to install. Installation crews spend less time exposed to health and safety issues compared to crews engaged in poured-in-place projects. There are, however, many applications for precast boxes other than culverts and small bridges that fit the need for a 100-year plus design life. 

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Commentary on Concrete

Cementitious materials have been used by civilizations over the past 5,000 years. The Egyptians used mud mixed with straw to bind dried bricks, and gypsum mortars and mortars of lime are evident in the pyramids. In the same period, 5,000 years ago, the Chinese used cementitious materials to bind bamboo in their boats and later rocks in portions of the Great Wall. These cementitious materials evolved with the advancement of science and technology to the concrete mixes of today. In the modern era, as in past civilizations, concrete is the single most widely used material in the world.

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