Midwest Society of Trenchless Technology Magazine Cover

The Challenges of Replacing a Failing Sanitary Forcemain Through a Former Landfill

As Originally Appeared in Midwest Journal for Trenchless Technology 2013
Midwest Society for Trenchless Technology
By:  Catherine L. Morley, P.E., RJN Group, Inc. | Aaron Cohen, Apollo Trenchless, Inc. | Chris Dufort, City of Elmhurst

The City of Elmhurst had experienced numerous breaks on a 60-year-old, eight-inch-diameter, 6,500-foot sanitary forcemain adjacent to Salt Creek, a major tributary of the Des Plaines River. All the breaks were concentrated in an area of Eldridge Park, a former landfill in the southern part of the City. Owing to the number of breaks, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) issued a violation notice to the City requiring that they construct a replacement within two years.… Read the rest

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Wastewater system improvements – Hot Springs as industry innovator

Hot Springs HeaderHistory

In August 2008, the City of Hot Springs was placed under a Consent Administrative Order (CAO) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to violations primarily related to wastewater overflows in the collection system.

Wastewater system overflows are typically caused by pump station failures, inadequate pipe size, piping degradation, and from insufficient maintenance and repair over time.

The CAO required that the city:

  • Eliminate dry weather overflows by January 2011. Dry weather overflows typically result from pump station mechanical or power failure.
  • Eliminate wet weather overflows by January 2018. Wet weather overflows typically result from inflow and infiltration of stormwater, thereby exceeding system capacity during heavy rainfall events.
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Canstruction Awards

RJN-Epstein Wins Most Cans and Jurors’ Favorite at GCFD aCANemy Awards Gala

On September 5, the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) held the seventh annual aCANemy Awards gala at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to honor the most creative, impressive, popular, and valuable entries in this year’s CANstruction Chicago design-build competition. The gala is not only a chance to reward the participants in the competition, but it is also a fundraiser and a flagship event to kick off GCFD’s Hunger Action Month.

aCANemy AWARDS 2013

 Of the 20 teams to participate in this year’s CANstruction Chicago, the RJN-Epstein structure “Hunger — The Real Monster Lurking Behind the Closet Door” was the only entry to win more than one award.… Read the rest

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Adding Valuable Team Members to RJN’s Central Operations

map of RJN's Central Operations

RJN’s Central Operations are expanding with the addition of seven (7) new employees.  Our
Central Operations consists of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  In the last year there has been a significant rise in workload and the higher number of projects is expected to remain a mainstay for quite awhile for this office. The new positions include a GIS Technician, an Operations Assistant, three Civil Designers, a Project Manager, and a Senior Project Engineer.


In the role of Project Manager and Field Manager, Joe Sullivan will be responsible for business development and project management duties for SSES (Sewer System Evaluation Study) projects, flow monitoring, manhole rehabilitation, sewer cured-in-place pipelining (CIPP), and field services.… Read the rest

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Bringing Our Best to “The Best Show in Public Works”


This summer, Chicago’s McCormick Place Lakeside Center was host to the APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition — the national conference of the American Public Works Association (APWA) and the largest trade show in public works each year. This is a conference that RJN attends and exhibits at annually in locations across the country, but 2013 was the first time it had been in Chicago since 1994.

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As the host chapter, the Chicago Metro Chapter of APWA worked for over three years to help bring the event to fruition, and they relied upon the help of volunteers from the local public works and engineering communities to make the conference a success. … Read the rest

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Keeping the Monster at Bay: The RJN-Epstein 2013 CANstruction Chicago Build

This summer, for the seventh time in the seven years of the event’s existence, the RJN Wheaton, IL office participated in CANstruction Chicago, a friendly competition among Chicago-area engineers and architects benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). If you live in the Chicago area, the 20 entries from this year’s competition remain on display at the Merchandise Mart until September 9, and the aCANemy Awards Gala (tickets available!) will take place this Thursday, September 5.

For those who have never participated in a CANstruction event or seen their often-stunning products first-hand, the objective of CANstruction is pretty simple: participating teams raise a bunch of money to buy tons (literally) of cans that they form into structures, sculptures, murals, concept pieces, or whatever best describes each massive creation.… Read the rest

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RJN Staff Earning New Registrations and Certifications

This summer has not only brought along warm weather (or blazing hot depending on your location) and sunshine, but also new certifications and registrations for RJN engineers, designers, and analysts.


GIS Analyst, Matt Boyle, recently earned his GISP Certification.  A GISP is a certified geographic information system (GIS) Professional who has met the minimum standards for educational achievement, ethical conduct, and professional practice as established by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). As a GISP, Matt had to go through an intense evaluation process where his professional background was reviewed the GISCI.  The GISCI is comprised of leading non-profit associations (AAG, NSGIC, UCGIS, GITA, & URISA). … Read the rest

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Going Down the Manhole – Tulsa Style

How does one descend a manhole when its opening is nine feet above the ground but the tripod is only seven feet tall?


RJN’s Tulsa office recently faced this dilemma while doing manhole inspections for the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Inspections of above-grade structures are always challenging, but when the rim is above the inspector’s head, some specialty equipment and a little creativity are necessary to get the job done. In addition to the height of the manholes, the configuration of the structures created another obstacle. The openings were typically toward the corner of the flat top slab where the tripod legs could not straddle the opening and maintain level footing on the slab, and highly uneven tripod legs make for a very un-sturdy and unsafe setup.… Read the rest

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Seeing Smoke?

As you might have noticed from some of our blog posts, much of our work revolves around the rain.  We indicated in our last update (“A new one for the record books”) that it can help drive communities to invest more in their collection systems, and in another (“Will it Rain?”) that it helps us identify problem areas with flow monitoring. 

Is there, then, a time when, as collection systems engineers, we just don’t want that rain to fall?

Yes; and that time is fast approaching.  We call it smoke testing season.


Returning once again to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center we can see that for most of the country, this is going to be an average to above-average season for smoke testing.… Read the rest

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A new one for the record books

For those of us in the Chicago area who have worked in wastewater, stormwater, public works, and collection systems management for a number of years, there are certain dates that stick in our minds: October 13, 2001; September 13, 2008; July 24, 2010; July 23, 2011. Some of us know them better than our relatives’ birthdays or our biggest personal milestones.

To our friends and companions, these dates probably mean little, but to us, they mean rain. Rain, and lots and lots of it.

We can now add April 18, 2013 to the list.

In some Chicago suburbs, it rained more than six inches Thursday morning, and few places in Cook or DuPage Counties saw less than four inches come down.Read the rest

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RJN’s Cathy Morley “In The Trenches”

NASTT Trenchless Today_CoverCathy Morley, Senior Project Manager at RJN’s Wheaton office, was interviewed for the Winter 2013 issue of NASTT’s Trenchless Today.

The article titled “In The Trenches” by Andrew Farr starts off:

“The trenchless community is buzzing with No-Dig talk this time of year, and it’s easy to see why.  Among the many opportunities the annual No-Dig show offers, getting to know some of the industry’s leading professionals can perhaps be the most beneficial and exciting.  For this issue of NTT, we got in touch with Bo Botteicher, Kaleel Rahaim and Cathy Morley to learn more about their careers in the trenchless industry and their involvement in our organization.”

Click on the image below to read Cathy’s segment of the article:

NASTT Trenchless Today_Cathy M Interview

To read the first page of the article click on the image to the right.… Read the rest

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Wheaton to Begin Fixing Private Sewer Lines

$1.7 million pilot ct-tl-wheaton-sewers1.jpg-20130211program will cover about 250 homes; efforts could expand

In an effort to reduce 40% of excess flow and lower the risk of basement backups, RJN Group in cooperation with the City of Wheaton will embark on a pilot program to fix private sewer lines in the spring of this year.

Read more about this program in the article posted on Trib Local Wheaton.

Photo originally posted on Trib Local Wheaton website.
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Supporting Our Communities

On Valentine’s Day we show our appreciation and love to the people in our lives.  True most of the time it is shown with chocolates, flowers, and cards.  But love can also be shown through charity to our communities, and that can be done all year round. RJN and its employees recently showed their love and found ways to care for communities both in their surrounding areas and around the world.


Over the holidays RJN sponsored a Food Bank Donation Drive, encouraging employees to make donations to local food banks in their area.  For every dollar donated by employees, RJN matched it dollar for dollar with donations to food banks that are teamed up with Canstruction®.  … Read the rest

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Will it Rain?

Well, if you’re one to believe the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, and you live in the upper Midwest, then the answer is YES!  The official quote provided in the discussion is, “There are elevated odds of above median precipitation across North Dakota, the upper Mississippi valley and upper great lakes region, and eastern sections of the corn belt. (source)” Check out the map:


Now, for the rest of us who are cautiously skeptical when it comes to watching the weather, we’ll just have to wait and see.  As we all know, the map isn’t guaranteeing a lack of April showers in Dallas and river flooding in Milwaukee!… Read the rest

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Kick-off Post

For our first blog post, we’ll start with a traditional introduction including a little background information on RJN Group, Inc. (RJN).  In 1975, RJN was born from a marriage of regulations and grants that renewed communities’ investment in the existing wastewater collection system and treatment infrastructure.

Since that time RJN’s work has included:

  • over 1,500 evaluation and design projects
  • over 800 flow monitoring and hydraulic analysis programs
  • evaluation of 250 million linear feet of pipeline
  • rehabilitation and design of 8 million linear feet of pipeline
  • 250 projects involving trenchless design

Taking our knowledge and expertise of underground infrastructure we are starting this blog in order to keep you up-to-date on what new EPA regulations mean, industry updates and standards, and stories from projects we are currently working on.  … Read the rest

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