You must log in or register to comment.

303elliott t1_ircj3ow wrote

I've never thought about that, pretty interesting stuff. If I had to guess, I would say the overall pollution of pipe repair with this method is still less than the pollution of dredging up an entire city block to replace the sewer pipes, not to mention the added cost of the latter. However, more data is almost never a bad thing, and I'm glad someone is doing this research.


kazyllis t1_ird01zq wrote

Ya, this seems like a pretty good solution and I’m wondering why they don’t just capture the emissions with a device of some sort.


303elliott t1_ird112w wrote

My guess would be prohibitive costs. Nano plastics are tiiiinnnnyyyy, as such they are incredibly difficult to capture. Additionally, there's probably very little incentive to even try.


SandDuner509 t1_irdf3eu wrote

Air filter might do the trick


SpecialOops t1_irdfc1g wrote

Water capture.


SmarkieMark t1_irdnukz wrote



SeeMarkFly t1_irdh41q wrote

While trying to filter tiny particles, you also catch all the bigger particles, clogging your filter up really fast.


Bones_and_Tomes t1_irdj4p9 wrote

Water filtration might help. Bubbler?


SeeMarkFly t1_irdjqzc wrote

A water curtain wouldn't clog up but then what? Now you have to store the contaminated water or filter particles out of the water in real-time (same problem as before but now wet).

Flushing it down the drain was the original problem.


EmperorGeek t1_ire8dwb wrote

Saw a technique where they add something like a flocking agent to the water to cause clumping of micro plastics into manageable blobs. Don’t remember if the article discussed the super-fine particles.


SeeMarkFly t1_iretf8c wrote

I've seen that used in filtering deep-fat fryers. A binding agent is added to the oil that clumps the small particles together. A larger mesh filter can then be used to get most of the small particle contamination.

And because the process we are talking about is NOT continuous but a short process, that would be a good solution.

Would you like some fries with that?


EmperorGeek t1_irf31ld wrote

Mmmm … Mom says I ate enough plastic fries as a kid!


Bones_and_Tomes t1_irdxoi6 wrote

Sure, but keeping them in the sewer is preferable to floating about in the air. Microplastics are probably better dealt with at water processing plants.


FishinWabigoon t1_irecw8a wrote

But then we need nano filters that run the entire city's waste through them to capture these sewer repair nanoplastics. The filters would clog.


Bones_and_Tomes t1_irer5i9 wrote

So how do we fix this problem. Obviously in an ideal world the microplastics wouldnt get into the water in the first place, so are they more destructive floating about in the air or in water?


EmperorGeek t1_ire8hjd wrote

From the sewer they get into the ocean don’t they? (Or are at least released to the local aquifer at some point?)


Bones_and_Tomes t1_ire9coz wrote

They should run through a water treatment plant first.


EmperorGeek t1_ireae3w wrote

“Should” but there are a lot of storm drains that lead straight to bodies of water.


Dry-Conference4530 t1_irdwx8d wrote

Could use a chemical to cause the particles to bind together in a holding tank.


knselektor t1_ire2ovu wrote

congeal the particles with a gel, like clearing a consomme


pipnina t1_ireel9c wrote

Can either boil the water off or centrifuge it perhaps?


cheezemeister_x t1_iref9ms wrote

Multilayer filters solve this problem.


SeeMarkFly t1_irf6fts wrote

Yea, that would work.

I have always worked on large continuous air flow systems and multiple filters are even more expensive than single filters for my applications. Hence I shy away from them.


Lizasmuffmuncher t1_ireazmy wrote

If micro-plastics are that small just imagine these nano-plastics!


303elliott t1_irenst6 wrote

If you think that's bad, wait until you hear about Planck plastics!


jpr64 t1_irdt5kw wrote

> I’m wondering why they don’t just capture the emissions with a device of some sort.

I do drain replacements in an earthquake damaged city in New Zealand. Show me the device and we’ll use it.


Skud_NZ t1_irdv4a3 wrote

Do you know what the common repair technique is they're talking about? I'm guessing it involves heat and is done while water is still in the pipe.


jpr64 t1_irdvwpu wrote

Cast in place lining. There’s a few methodologies about using plastics, fibreglass etc. Typically you would put in a bung upstream to stop water/waste flowing down in the process.


Skud_NZ t1_irdy6b7 wrote

Thanks. I make polyethylene pipe as a job but have no idea about installation/repair really


jffrybt t1_irdk2up wrote

That’s likely hopefully the should-be-takeaway from this study.


No-Comparison8472 t1_ircygm5 wrote

Don't under estimate nanoplastic pollution severity though, it is really bad. But you are right that total emissions should be accounted for


303elliott t1_ird02la wrote

I didn't mean to come across as underestimating the severity of that issue, however I don't see this as being anywhere near a major contributor. If we are going to start taking micro plastic pollution seriously, there are hundreds of worse offenders to tackle before we reach this industry


Nonanonymousnow t1_ird3eea wrote

God I wish the world would adopt and abide by paretos for things like global warming, water usage, etc ...


Travianer t1_irdfb6k wrote

What do you mean by this?


mauxfaux t1_irdfre9 wrote

I think (?) he means that by identifying and actually addressing the 20% of the known worst offenders in each category, we would likely eliminate 80% of the problems associated with each category.


round-earth-theory t1_irdfw2e wrote

Everyone's favorite fabric is a major source of these fibers.


Illustrious_Crab1060 t1_irjdcjq wrote

Good for temperature regulation and not freezing to death after sweeting but bad for the environment and us eventually


manfre t1_ire3ivj wrote

There may be worse industries, but we shouldn't ignore/defer smaller contributors. We can work on improving any we identify in parallel.


Due-Enthusiasm5656 t1_ird5x2c wrote

Couldn't they just add something at the end to help absorb the nanoplastics?


303elliott t1_ird7wty wrote

Possibly, but I doubt they have incentive to do it. Not that I agree with it, but construction projects are focused on being as cheap and simple as possible.


[deleted] t1_ire1caz wrote

Too bad "not spewing nano plastic into the atmosphere" doesn't count as incentive


tilfes t1_iredevv wrote

I can't see it, it's not there :)


Miguel-odon t1_irdmdy7 wrote

Slip-lining is far less expensive than digging up the streets to repair and replace old utilities (for situations it is even applicable).

Probably time to reconsider the compounds we use in lots of things, now that we know more about them though.


jpr64 t1_irdtbm2 wrote

In the US it is, in other countries, not so much. My city was devastated by earthquakes in 2010-11 and we are still repairing damaged drains. For us it is generally cheaper to dig up and lay new drains. Part of the problem is that the existing drains have lost their fall so relining them is fairly pointless.


FirstBankofAngmar t1_irclkum wrote

On a more existential bend, there will never be another time in our world's history when their wasn't plastic in everything. We're in a post-plastic world. It's everywhere and in everything. Hard to wrap your head around, but hopefully, HOPEFULLY, it will not be too much of an issue with a slow change toward developments of its breakdown. Honestly, there's something so 20th century about using a material that lasts for thousands of years but use it for everything disposable.


berandomnes t1_irdapxl wrote

Like all steel made post nuclear, it's "contaminated" just by how humanity has changed the global environment. We are beavers on a planetary scale, in the worst way possible. we are flooding the "valley" our planet, with excess pollutants while taking far to many resources to build our dams and feed our lodges. Its just not sustainable, like the cycle between predator and prey, a good year for the lynx is a bad year for the rabbit, we are gonna burn out like lynx and mother nature rabbit is going to eat our lunch, dinner and house.


MartinSensmeier t1_ire3yge wrote

Microplastics in the air though, that seems on a whole nother scale.


pipnina t1_ireew37 wrote

How does steel freshly made from hematite (for example) and put through an electric arc furnace get contaminated with nuclear waste? Or is it just that the atmosphere is contaminated?


berandomnes t1_irem1kr wrote

The increased background radiation in the atmosphere is the source of contamination


Empirical_Spirit t1_ircnhbk wrote

Hopefully we don’t wrap it around our heads with plastic.


Self-rescuingQueen t1_ircwuhr wrote

Doesn't matter. Microplastic has already been found in human blood.


Legitimate_Bat3240 t1_irdo7p3 wrote

Apparently donating plasma reduces forever chemicals from the blood


Bleux33 t1_irdtkpf wrote

I’m guessing due to the generation of ‘new’ blood to stabilize blood volume, post donation. The entire process dilutes foreign substance concentration overall, by natural recovery processes in response to blood lose.

In simpler terms, bad blood goes out, bad stuff goes out. The blood is replaced, the bad stuff isn’t….at least, not as quickly. Like flushing a radiator…kinda…maybe…


Empirical_Spirit t1_ircx9cl wrote

Despite slowing breath considerably in this lifetime, I cling to it yet and prefer the plastic naught to be wrapped too tightly.


KnotSoSalty t1_irdmgj5 wrote

Your assuming that biological organisms won’t adapt to consume plastics eventually? In a long enough time scale doesn’t it seem likely that everything man made will disappear?


wolffinZlayer3 t1_irdswee wrote

Already is in some rare cases. Also kinda one of those things that siunds good on the outside but u look into it and it starts to get scary quick. Food packaging home siding and medical equipment for example losing significant lifespan/shelf life.

And its not an if, its a when there is ALOT of energy stored in plastics.


BobThePillager t1_irexwfs wrote

Ya whichever organism that can spread and reproduce while living off of processed petrochemicals first is gonna have a field day. What are the implications of this? Can’t be good


tabac-en-paris t1_irdo5yh wrote

We see a lot of discussion about how they find nano plastics in lots of places. I’ve not seen much discussion of what the consequences are of that. What are the Consequences?


HappiestIguana t1_irds8ee wrote

Basically, we don't know. The problem is we haven't found any population of humans without blood microplastics, so we can't compare a population with them to one without.

If there are ill effects, they seem to be small, considering life expentancy has continued to rise across the globe despite the increase in microplastics (with a hiccup due to Covid). Possibly a study could be made that compares a population of animals raised on a very specific, filtered diet free of microplastics to one that receives the same diet but unfiltered (and perhaps even a third population with a diet that is deliberately laced with higher doses of microplastics). No guarantees that this will translate to humans, but it would be a start. In any case research is ongoing.


Spaceork3001 t1_irduq2x wrote

Couldn't large scale studies pry apart some correlation between the amount of microplastics and the incidence of different diseases? If controlled sufficiently for similar lifestyles, this could potentially point us in the right direction, without needing to find a subpopulation with zero microplastics in their blood.


HappiestIguana t1_irfirjb wrote

The problem there is confounding factors. Microplastic exposure is largely based on geography and socioeconomic class, which are both heavily correlated with health outcomes and have been since before microplastics.


Spaceork3001 t1_irg3mz3 wrote

That's what I meant with being controlled for similar lifestyles. If factors like wealth, education, BMI, drug use, medical history and so on are held constant, and microplastics amount in blood scales with some type of disease, it could point us in the right direction, no? Without having to necessarily study populations without microplastics exposure.


bakinpants t1_irdihnx wrote

Naive. Look up how long wood was a blight on the planet before it became consumable to something. Life...ah.. yea.


TheGreat_War_Machine t1_ired6fo wrote

>Honestly, there's something so 20th century about using a material that lasts for thousands of years but use it for everything disposable.

That sounds more like the current century. Weren't a lot of appliances built to last decades ago?


cultureicon t1_ircmro3 wrote

This also happens billions of times a day when we run a load of laundry with our plastic clothes. I mean we're literally wearing and breathing in microplastics from our clothes, what difference does sewer pipe repair make?


ReignDelay t1_ircpisk wrote

“What’s so bad about it? We already do it” is a pretty pessimistic take — it’s a matter of “We want less microplastics in the most precious resource on this planet because we’re only starting to see the side effects of these practices before doing the research required to send it to production and implementing said practices.”


1imeanwhatisay1 t1_ircyoxt wrote

> What’s so bad about it? We already do it” is a pretty pessimistic take

Not pessimistic at all. It's realistic. We have a finite amount of money and time to make plastic problems better. To make up numbers for an example, if the total amount of microplastics put in the air each year is 1 trillion bits, and if cutting sewer pipes adds 47 bits per year, then saying "What's so bad about it" is actually saying "We have far greater issues to spend our money and time on." and it protects you from wasting that time and money.


Banshu t1_ircr13u wrote

Where do you think the water goes once youre done washing your clothes in it? It doesnt dissapear. They are saying there are more likely much more dangerous polutant sources that should be considered before we stop repairing water line.


cultureicon t1_ircs1ew wrote

I'll admit I didn't read the study because its paywalled and the preview gives absolutely zero useful information.

If the goal is to reduce microplastics in the environment all of these researchers should immediately pivot to researching alternatives to plastic tires, and find a way to convince the world to move away from synthetic fibers.

In other words if they managed to stop this sewer practice they would reduce microplastics by .001% (or whatever the study claims it is)


AngryT-Rex t1_irctt8q wrote

It's a question of scale - there might be one sewer pipe repair per person per... decade, I'd guess? Actually probably way less, but let's stick with per decade.

Whereas there is one load of laundry per person per... I'm guessing per week-ish? And this probably pales in comparison to tires and brake pads.

So laundry is done something like 500x more often. Sure it's great to study everything, but it's also important to keep in mind what is significant and widespread, and what is relatively minor.


etds3 t1_irek6s6 wrote

I agree, but I also think there are much bigger pollution sources with much easier solutions than this.


Bad_Muh_fuuuuuucka t1_ircofxg wrote

There’s plastic in my clothes?


photar12 t1_ircoxyk wrote

Polyester is the most common textile used for clothes. It is a type of plastic created from petroleum.


AbsolutGuacaholic t1_ircpwz8 wrote

I hang dry anything with synthetics. It dries fast and doesn't get as crispy as hang dried cotton.


cornylifedetermined t1_ircs22h wrote

But you still washed it. That water has to go somewhere.


AbsolutGuacaholic t1_ird74xc wrote

Oh ya, forgot about that. I wonder which removes the most material, washing or drying?


xmnstr t1_irea6wu wrote

Washing. It can also be easily avoided with filters, but for some reason they're not used.


Jealous-Pop-8997 t1_ircogex wrote

I always think about when people cut Azek and vinyl how they’re making tons of microplastics and how much that stuff is cut

I assume a lot of the particles are big enough to be heavy enough and fall to the soil I am sure the person who cuts Azek with a chop saw breathes in his share of microplastics though


yacht_boy t1_ircpplb wrote

We had our deck redone with azek and the house re-sided with cementboard and plastic trim. It killed me to see the guys just making huge piles of plastic "sawdust" and having it run off everywhere. I have a shop dust collector and dragged it out for them to use and they just looked at me like I had 3 heads. I was out there after they were done trying to vacuum the driveway.


[deleted] t1_irdm8hj wrote



yacht_boy t1_ire8liq wrote

I looked long and hard for other decking. It comes down to pressure treated, which has its own environmental issues and looks absolutely awful no matter what you do to it, or exotic hardwoods ripped from the rainforest. And all the wood decking requires regular maintenance with things like poly, which is just another kind of plastic.

Outside of the small amount of construction dust, which contractors could mitigate if we pushed it, the plastic deck systems aren't shedding plastic at any appreciable quantity, last a really long time, don't contribute to tropical rain forest degredation, and don't require frequent applications of chemicals that just wash off the deck every year or two.

And don't forget that you have to actually work with a contractor, and if you get into exotic, hard to use materials many contractors will turn down the job. I looked at black locust decking and it was impossible to source, didn't come in the historic porch flooring style I wanted, cost about 3x as much, and my contractor wouldn't even consider using it.


HeadmasterPrimeMnstr t1_ireb5gg wrote

Your problem with environmental degradation of the materials can be very easily solved without poly or pressure treating by adding a roof to your deck so it's covered. In addition, it's fine if your standard wood begins to degrade in the environment because it's just a matter of replacing a decaying plank with a new one.

I don't know how long you were looking for your deck to last without maintainence, but I'll be honest, I think you're really underestimating the life cycle of untreated wood (when sanded & varnished as needed).


yacht_boy t1_irecv42 wrote

You have no idea what you're talking about if you think adding a roof over an existing deck is "easy" or that high VOC, toxic varnishes are environmentally friendly.

Get out of here with your holier than thou sanctimony.


RON-THE-DON-0529 t1_irdlbfs wrote

As a person who works in the liner field, and replaces tons of sewer pipes, there is no exhaust of fumes, and most companies now use led lights and hot water to cure thier liners.


JackAndy t1_irdu2ds wrote

Does it work on 6" clay tile sewer pipes?


RON-THE-DON-0529 t1_iregcj1 wrote

It sure does, works on almost any pipe over 2in. As long as it's not too damaged, or doesn't have too sharp of turns


slow_connection t1_irenr6a wrote

Yep. Had my sewer line done this way but it was cured with steam. I think most residential applications are still on steam


VolkspanzerIsME t1_irczd4w wrote

Wouldn't that mean that all plastic extrusion creates nanoplastics? I realize this kind of repair usually happens in the open air, but the method used isn't much different than normal plastic manufacturing, right?


blewsyboy t1_irckcur wrote

Great, they've just done this in a lot of pipes in Montreal...


b4ttlepoops t1_irczcrv wrote

Technology continues to morph. And Municipalities get hit by APCD fines if things aren’t done right, they don’t want anything going into storm drains. If this is correct start looking for a filtration tool on the other end of the line. I work for a PUD and it’s entirely plausible to make a filtration system to catch particular matter HEPPA or whatever during a Lining process.


sigmatrophic t1_irddl43 wrote

Former chemist here... I'm amazed they are allowed to this. The smell of solvent and vinyl chloride is very high when I've driven or walked past one of these.


Zanzikahn t1_ire9zqf wrote

I love how construction companies focus more on cheaper costs than what they do to the environment. I love how people only use their heads after fines start being charged.


OldApartment9295 t1_irf0rf0 wrote

I’m so proud of whoever said, “lets test this discharge.” Thank you.


AutoModerator t1_ircf8kp wrote

Welcome to r/science! This is a heavily moderated subreddit in order to keep the discussion on science. However, we recognize that many people want to discuss how they feel the research relates to their own personal lives, so to give people a space to do that, personal anecdotes are now allowed as responses to this comment. Any anecdotal comments elsewhere in the discussion will continue to be removed and our normal comment rules still apply to other comments.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.


hey-there-yall t1_ird0ped wrote

People just spent the past 3 years breathing through plastic masks.


Sargo8 t1_irdo3zv wrote

Filter the steam exhaust?


Informal_Drawing t1_irdr1we wrote

Surely mechanical removal with vacuum capture would be a better solution than throwing the contents of the sewer into the air we breathe.


Soulflyfree41 t1_irdzl9g wrote

So we are breathing poopy nanoplastics? Gross.


BillSixty9 t1_ire769d wrote

This just introduced a new term to me which I really should have been aware of, but I guess ignorance is a shield to fear. Nano plastics sound terrible and make the whole micro plastic conversation much more relevant.


Zanzikahn t1_ire7t3t wrote

Sounds like we need meal worm saliva.


stillyj t1_irekehs wrote

Sweet..always an upside


feckentool t1_irevupw wrote

We're down to nano now? Next you'll tell me you can detect individual molecules. Oh wait.


torukmakto4 t1_irh060a wrote

Once upon a time worked for a WW utility... The CIPP I have seen uses fiberglass liners saturated with ordinary "polyester"-type resin and inverted into the pipe by filling them with water, then cured by heating the water inside the lined pipe (not steam). The water doesn't directly contact resin, there is an impermeable bag/film which is what allows the liner to be wet with resin and then pressed into the pipe with water pressure inside. I suppose I am not quite clear what would be emitting airborne particulate polymers in this type of system in the first place or where from. I have heard of systems that inflate liners with steam, but how is steam even directly in contact with resin?

There are fumes, but that's mostly just styrene solvent/monomer evaporating from the resin while handling it. It's the same situation as any fiberglass work or composite that uses that type of resin system. If fumes from this resin are polymerizing into nanoparticles, then wouldn't this have bad ramifications for ALL fiberglass/polyester composite works, bondo, and tons of other products used all over the world doing the same during curing?


New_Parsley6211 t1_ird09wy wrote

Better do something about it before we pollute the planet in that stuff.


theoneronin t1_ird1kdq wrote

The whole world is poisoned, it seems.


HavanaWoody t1_ircr9fs wrote

And Ill just bet they have the patent on a solution.
Sometimes alternatives have a bigger macro impact. reducing population density would be a greater relief to whole.
But sometimes it sure seems like stomping mole hills and ignoring the inconvenient sinkholes that are swallowing our clean air.


Angus_Ripper t1_ird5d1b wrote

In on the updated table for normal healthy male testosterone levels of 75 ng/dL


Beepboop_Addition t1_irdp42p wrote

So just capture the exhaust discharge rather than let it escape freely.

Just because it's nano doesn't mean it isn't a company effectively littering into the world. Where's the bloody accountability and why does everyone lack so much of it?!


Eric1969 t1_irdxuk1 wrote

Would it be a lesser evil to burn plastic trash?


surfzz318 t1_irco35o wrote

Wait until they learn that everything is basically made out of plastics and those plastics come from oil.


plumppshady t1_ircq2ol wrote

It doesn't even matter anymore. Microplastic is everywhere. It's in your brain and it's at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. It's in all the food you eat, it's in all the water you drink, and it causes no harm. Nanoplastic will probably not damage anything either.