YORK, Maine — Practicing environmental stewardship — and saving money — the York Sewer District is utilizing European technology to replace aging pipes in York Beach without tearing up the ground.

More than $1 million in combined work has begun on projects on Church Street and Shore Road, as both sewer and water districts lay lines and the town repaves the roads and replaces and adds sidewalks. The work will continue throughout April and May.

The Church Street project will be significant for both districts as it involves replacing existing lines with bigger mains at a cost of $255,000 for the water district and $200,000 for the sewer district. The town will be putting in a gravel sub base and then paving the road. The districts and town are sharing the $54,000 cost. The town is also replacing the sidewalk.

“The piping in this section is old piping, and it has structural defects and leaks in the joints that cause water to come into the sewer system,” said Matt Timberlake, vice president of Livermore-based Ted Berry Co. “And, essentially, as clean groundwater comes into the sewer system it has to be pumped through the waste water treatment plant and treated, which adds expense to the waste water treatment plant.”

Much of the pipeline will be traditionally replaced. However, the sewer district has hired Ted Berry Co. to use European technology to line portions of the existing mains from the Railroad Avenue/Ridge Road/Church Street intersection that goes through the York Beach ball field with fiberglass piping that is installed through a manhole cover and negates the need to open a trench.

“If everything goes according to plan, you won’t even know we’ve been here,” Timberlake said.

On Tuesday, workers were lining a 12-inch diameter section of pipe between two manholes spaced 45 feet from one another at the Railroad Avenue/Ridge Road/Church Street intersection. “What we are installing is a CIPP, which is a ‘cured-in-place pipe.’ And what that gives us is the ability to install a structural liner inside an existing pipe without the need to excavate,” Timberlake said.

In other words, Ted Berry Co. workers are installing a new pipe inside the existing underground pipe. Timberlake explained that the new pipe is manufactured by a “reinforced fiberglass-and-resin system” and manufactured so that it can be installed through a manhole opening. It is then inflated, and an ultraviolet light is used to activate and cure the new pipe, which will take fewer than 20 minutes.

“As long as there is a conduit in the ground, you can use this technology,” Timberlake said. Developed in Europe over the last 20 years as a way to maximize the benefits of CIPP technology, the technology offers a more environmentally friendly curing process. “So, by using the ultraviolet light process, other curing mechanisms such as steam and hot water don’t need to be used,” he said.

Thirty yards down Church Street, and in plain view of Ted Berry Co. workers crowding around the two manholes, a typical excavation project is also taking place. On Tuesday, Tim Haskell, the York Sewer District superintendent pointed to a 10-foot deep, 70-foot long trench created by two excavators and several men using what Haskell called the “open trench technique.” The trench ran through the middle of the road and had two large piles of dirt on either side. He said Timberlake’s trenchless technique is not feasible in this section.

Crews will replace a 1,100-foot section of deteriorating old, clay pipes that have a “failure mechanism” in the pipe joints and the seating of the joints, Timberlake said. On Wednesday, his crews worked on a 325-foot section of pipe under the ball field. Using the European technique, 500 feet of leaking pipes will be reclaimed.

During the open-trench Church Street construction, daytime traffic will be rerouted down Beacon Street from Ridge Road heading north, and down Railroad Avenue and out Ridge Road from Main Street. The road will be open at night.