Articles & Case Studies

UltraGrip Helps Tsunami Hit Japan

Posted: Tuesday 5th July 2011

Viking Johnson UltraGrip has been supplied, via Kutotec, its distributor in Japan, to repair water mains damaged in the recent catastrophe. Earlier this month, the Japanese pipework system was crippled by a huge earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, followed by the subsequent tsunami that swept much of the infrastructure away in NE Japan. UltraGrip, in sizes varying from DN50 to DN300, has been specified for repair work, including the critically important reconnection of water supplies needed to irrigate the rice fields.

UltraGrip couplings are the preferred method in Japan for joining plain ended pipes of differing pipe materials, especially for existing cast iron, ductile iron, asbestos cement, steel, PVC and PE to new pipes. They are a wide tolerance product and can accommodate pipe outside diameters up to 44mm in variation. Importantly, they are very easy to install, requiring only a single spanner for tightening.

The rice growing season begins in earnest in April and although Japan is prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis, this eruption was on an unprecedented scale. Many locations have been affected. In flat areas, like the coast of Sendai city, 70% of the tsunami salt water still remains on farmland and consequently cannot be planted. Associated Press has estimated that 8% of Japan's 4 million acres of rice farms have been hit, affecting about 4% of total production.

Mr Suzuki, General Manager for Kubotec said -

“Many places have been devastated by the tsunami - the coastal prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaragi and Chiba have been swept away. Even the 1 million populated city centre of Sendai in Miyagi, which was so badly ravaged, is still now without gas and water. The areas covered by tsunami sea water will take many years to totally recover.

The disaster has very serious implications for our agriculture. In Japan, rice pads are dry in winter and have to be watered again in spring. The fields require water continuously from planting until harvest time. For example, Ibaragi and Chiba prefectures are mostly flat agricultural areas, located in the lower reach of the Tone river, they need to be irrigated and watered in mid-April to be available for rice planting by the of end-April through to mid-May. In these areas many asbestos pipelines are used which have been badly damaged by the earthquake- UltraGrip has been the ideal solution to repair these broken pipes".

Viking Johnson, a leading water utility brand of Crane Building Services & Utilities, whose parent Company, Crane Co., through the Crane Fund for Widows and Children, has donated $35,000 to The American Red Cross National Headquarters/Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami Disaster Relief. This donation will be used to provide immediate relief and long-term aid through supplies and technical assistance.

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