Straight Through the Lake: A Different Take on Trenchless Pipe-Laying

28. January 2022 | 4 min read

Lake Stubenberg is an idyllic spot in Styria. It is also Austria’s warmest swimming lake, popular with visitors in the warmer months for recreational activities such as swimming or pedal boating. After the summer of 2021, the lake was partially closed and drained due to upcoming construction works. During winter, a stormwater drainage pipe was laid through the lake to prevent overflow. The project was a special deployment for the AQUALINE RC Robust pipe system from Pipelife Austria, requiring a unique installation solution beyond the conventional trenched methods.

The rainwater pipeline laid through Lake Stubenberg  | Pipelife
In November/December 2021, a rainwater pipeline was laid through Lake Stubenberg to protect the surrounding area against flooding

Flood Protection for a Popular Swimming Lake

Protection against flooding has become an important subject in many regions of Austria, including the Stubenberg region. Therefore, the local municipality commissioned the general contractor Fasching Bau regarding the construction of a flood protection system. The idea was to lay a pipeline through the lake to ensure that no rainwater enters the lake for the next 50 years. This was not an everyday project, even for professionals.

Lake Stubenberg is separated from the Feistritz River by an embankment; for this reason, the pipeline had to be routed through the lake. From a retention basin at Seehof Bay, the pipeline runs through the lake to a riser where the water flow can be regulated.

AQUALINE RC Robust pipes waiting for their deployment at Lake Stubenberg | Pipelife
AQUALINE RC Robust pipes waiting for their deployment at Lake Stubenberg

Seamless Interaction during Planning and Execution

For the professionals from the contractors Fasching Bau, Peer Wasserbau and GP Montagen such a construction project was indeed far from commonplace. Therefore, close cooperation and coordination of all parties involved were even more crucial — not only of the construction companies carrying out the work but also of the suppliers. When Peer Wasserbau and GP Montagen selected the pipe, they opted for the AQUALINE RC Robust, a coated PE 100 RC pipe system from Pipelife Austria. The deciding factors were the outstanding product properties on the one hand and the reliable customer service on the other.

“We value the service we receive from our support staff at Pipelife and know that we can rely on them for expert advice. This simplifies the work immensely. Reliability, both in communication and in the delivery of the products, is the basis for trust and cooperation, and is absolutely crucial for a construction project of this magnitude,” says Gerhard Petritsch, representing GP Montagen.

The ambitious project was supervised from Pipelife’s side by Field Service Representative Karl Tschuchnik and Project Coordinator Helmut Trummer.

Butt welding equipment provided by Pipelife Austria | Pipelife
Butt welding equipment provided by Pipelife Austria

When a Lake Becomes a Pipe Trench

Conventional trenching in this challenging project was not possible, and the trenchless pipe laying involved inventive methods, requiring some preparatory work. In order for the flood drainage pipe to be laid, the lake, normally up to eight meters deep, was partially closed and drained three months in advance. The laying of the DN/OD 355 pipeline, with a total length of 430 meters, began in November 2021.

The PE stormwater pipes were delivered from Pipelife Austria’s central warehouse in Krems and the sales office in Graz. The pipes, each 16 meters long and weighing 400 kilograms, were welded together on the shore of Lake Stubenberg. Pipelife provided stripping tools for removing the protective coating from the pipes, as well as the equipment for butt welding. The welded pipeline was fitted with a 70-kilogram concrete ring every few meters in order to subsequently lower it into the water. With the help of a crane, the pipeline was also additionally weighted with 1500 kilograms of sandbags to keep it submerged.

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