Pipeline Safety: Filling an Unused Underground Pipe To Prevent Collapse

pipeline safety

THE PROJECT: Using a grout pump to fill an abandoned pipe in an oil field

In an oil field, large underground pipelines are often used to route groups of smaller pipelines throughout the facility. When a oil pipeline or a storm drain for a sewer line is abandoned, it’s important to fill the pipeline for safety purposes. If unused pipes are allowed to corrode and remain empty, there’s a risk of the pipe collapsing and the ground above collapsing with it. Obviously that’s a danger to workers and anyone who might be on the property.

For this project, the contractor needed a high-volume grout pump that could fill a 48-inch pipeline quickly, so the pour could be completed before the grout mix began to set.

pipeline safety

Pipeline safety: Filling an old underground pipe using a trailer-mounted grout pump.


Fill with grout mix for pipeline safety and practicality

While filling old pipes is essential for worker and pipeline safety, it’s important to do so in a way that would not preclude the possibility of digging up with pipeline at a future date. That’s one reason why this contractor chose to fill with a grout mixture rather than concrete.

Grout mix sets up with a lower strength than concrete. That means the pipe fill weighs less, and is easier to dig out later if it becomes necessary to excavate the pipe. It’s also self-priming for easier application.

Best of all, grout mix is less expensive than concrete, keeping down the cost of the project.

The equipment: Putzmeister BSA 1408D trailer pump

For this job, we recommended using a high-volume Putzmeister trailer pump. The 1408D model can pump 100 yards of material per hour, giving the contractor the ability to quickly fill the pipe in a single pour before the grout began to set.

In this case, there was no need for a more expensive boom pump, or any need for outriggers that are found on boom pump trucks. In fact, having the more compact trailer pump comes in handy when setting up in a confined space where it might be difficult to fit a larger boom truck. That’s important to remember when you’re selecting equipment where space is tight or you might have obstacles such as overhead wires.


Here at Alexander Wagner Company, we have been providing concrete pumping equipment, supplies and service to contractors in the New York metro area for decades. We’re happy to answer your questions and share our expertise. Feel free to reach out to us anytime!