The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in North America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used HDPE pipe fittings to protect fiber optic cables and deliver gas, but utilisation of the material for water to drink systems remains trickling slowly toward acceptance in certain places.
In Michigan, L . A .-based JM Eagle’s offer to exchange all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic quantities of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not simply a study of three sorts of pipe materials – PE, cross-linked PE (PEX) and copper – but a lunch-and-learn session about PE pipe with engineers.
Dustin Langston, an engineer at WL Plastics Corp., which can be located in Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went across the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; they had plenty of great questions. It absolutely was an extremely productive meeting,” he stated.
With estimated annual sales of $2.45 billion and yearly pipe sales of $340 million, respectively, JM Eagle and WL Plastics are the first- and 11th-ranked manufacturers of plastic pipe, profiles and tubing in America, as outlined by Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down within the last year as a result of forty percent drop sought after from the oil and gas gathering industry, in accordance with the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association situated in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as U.S. cities look to obtain the lead out of their systems making some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next 25 years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting with the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and some others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work for Flint until June 30 – the metropolis wants to engage a staff engineer now – although the firm will likely be solicited for future work, the area said inside a statement.
The presentation focused entirely on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge about HDPE to date is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a lot of wide eyes when he discussed the installation means of pipe bursting. Some of the attendees had been aware of the technology before.
A trenchless method for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was initially used in the 1970s in britain. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through the house and street, where service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head by using a slightly larger diameter compared to old pipe is inserted into an opening. The leading end of your bursting head is connected to a pulling cable and the back end is attached to HDPE pipe fittings. As the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of the cavity for that new pipe.
The previous pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace three or four service lines a day at 75 percent of the price of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 percent off of the price,” he added. “You don’t ought to dig up people’s lawns or remove people’s driveways. You spend less on being forced to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the city. In civil engineering, there’s a whole new aspect that’s rarely taken into account and that’s social interference. We always focus on cost but what isn’t measurable cost wise would be the calls and complaints to city offices about construction, noise, debris and dug-up yards. Lots of things are suddenly avoided using trenchless technologies.”
Livonia, Mich., used HDPE pipe from Charter Plastics Inc., which is the No. 77 ranked PPT extruder, to replace 27,000 feet of cracking, leaking iron pipes from April through October 2008. The Titusville, Pa.-based company has estimated sales of $35 million each year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone compared to ductile iron and then used pipe bursting to put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues regarding the social and environmental advantages of PE pipe.
“One of your greatest great things about high density polyethylene pipe is it’s easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and yes it saves trees,” Zilincik said within a May 2016 testimonial to the Alliance for PE Pipe, that is based in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the application of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems from the U.S. and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially produces a single pipeline without any leaks that may be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable using a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out of polyethylene pipe. Should you take a look at every one of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the fantastic most of that is certainly PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % from the municipal water market, based on estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone methods for HDPE pipe got a lot of attention in the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a fantastic story for our own plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – when it comes to trenchless installation,” he stated within a telephone interview. “What it might do with regards to cost savings is an important deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe enables you to replace existing pipes with a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst that old pipe; you utilize it a host pipe,” Radoszewski said.
Then, there’s HDD for installing completely new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit in an angle and leveled out for any distance. It will come support through an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the one largest niche for HDD by using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are increasing, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to some projected 19.9 percent this season, in accordance with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution can be another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE remains the No. 1 pipe material used for HDD having a whopping 49.9 percent market share compared to 22.3 percent for PVC, 14.2 percent for steel pipe and 9.1 percent for ductile iron, the survey also says.
Flint is looking to replace approximately 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached into the system after the method to obtain water to drink was switched from Lake Huron to the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to fix Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe vary from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million plus more by others. Bids to switch LSLs at 500 homes that are considered the highest risk for lead exposure started in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The area was expecting the charge to become about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded for the reason that round and after follow-up meetings the metropolis offers to go ahead with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in a minimum of 50 % higher at $6,000 a house,” Langston said. “Copper will be the only material they’re allowing to spec now for service lines and ductile iron for distribution lines. Not simply is copper pipe for service lines four times the expense of polyethylene pipe, but you have very extreme tips to get that copper pipe in the earth and that’s cut and bury, which entails digging up yards and streets.”
A minumum of one Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it will cost $1 trillion on the next twenty-five years to repair existing h2o systems that happen to be reaching the ends with their useful lives as well as serve growing populations, in accordance with the American Water Works Association.
The precise makeup of the buried water pipes isn’t known. Returning to the 1870s, the rollout of varied pipe materials has changed from cast iron, to cement-lined cast iron to asbestos cement then within the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe market is forecast to improve with a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, in accordance with a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a market research firm based in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in America experienced a sales importance of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, as outlined by Acute Market Reports. As well as water to drink, HDPE pipes carry wastewater, slurries, chemicals, hazardous waste and compressed gases.
Other PE pipe potable players include Performance Pipe of Plano, Texas; Dura-Line Corp. of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Pipeline Plastics LLC of Westlake, Texas. Companies rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE will be the No. 1 pipe material used in water systems in Europe, it is still making inroads in the usa. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent of dexqpkyy02 municipal niche for both water and sewer applications. PVC has many of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 percent nationwide but when you visit states like California we’re fifty percent because HDPE pipe will be the only material that is certainly earthquake and ground-movement resistant,” Langston said. “A study by Cornell University performed on 16-inch pipe showed you can have 4 feet of lateral shift along with the pipelines won’t yield. It stays intact.”
Freeze-thaw cycles in northern states like Michigan and drought conditions in Texas also cause the ground to go, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your geographical area in the country, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you look at pipe failures, the key reason for this is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But if you have a fused, welded system, including polyethylene, the pipe just moves with the ground. There are actually no problems.”
Florida is yet another big industry for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a substitute material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can appear like a slog. You will find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require to acquire in the change to PE.
“We are constantly going throughout the country discussing PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is incredibly amazing however the change process is slow.”