The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in Canada And America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used HDPE pipe fittings to shield fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but utilisation of the material for water to drink systems continues to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in many places.
In Michigan, La-based JM Eagle’s offer to exchange all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic degrees of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not only a study of three kinds 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 operating out of Fort Worth, Texas, said in a telephone interview that his presentation went over the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; they had a great deal of great questions. It had been an incredibly productive meeting,” he explained.
With estimated annual sales of $2.45 billion and yearly pipe sales of $340 million, respectively, JM Eagle and WL Plastics are the initial- and 11th-ranked manufacturers of plastic pipe, profiles and tubing in The United States, based on Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down in the last year due to a 40 percent drop sought after through the oil and gas gathering industry, based on the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association based in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as United states cities look to obtain the lead from their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next 25 years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting with the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a number of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering benefit Flint until June 30 – the area wants to employ a staff engineer now – although the firm will likely be solicited for future work, the metropolis said inside a statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge about HDPE so far is employing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a great deal of wide eyes as he talked about the installation means of pipe bursting. Some of the attendees had heard about the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was first found in the 1970s in the uk. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits with the house and street, the location where the service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head having a slightly larger diameter compared to old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end from the bursting head is attached to a pulling cable along with the back end is attached to HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the current pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of the cavity for your new pipe.
That old pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace 3 to 4 service lines per 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 have to dig up people’s lawns or obtain people’s driveways. You spend less on having to replace those things and you’re not disturbing the city. In civil engineering, there’s a whole new aspect that’s rarely accounted for and that’s social interference. We always discuss cost but what isn’t measurable cost wise will 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 exchange 27,000 feet of cracking, leaking iron pipes from April through October 2008. The Titusville, Pa.-based company has estimated sales of $35 million annually.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison with ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues about the social and environmental advantages of PE pipe.
“One of your greatest great things about high density polyethylene pipe is it’s very easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and it saves trees,” Zilincik said inside a May 2016 testimonial for that Alliance for PE Pipe, which can be operating out of 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 creates a single pipeline free of 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 each of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the truly amazing greater part of that is certainly PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent in the municipal water market, according to estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation procedures for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a great story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – in terms of trenchless installation,” he stated within a telephone interview. “What it may do when it comes to cost savings is a big deal.”
In addition to pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe can be used to replace existing pipes having a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the existing pipe; you utilize it as a host pipe,” Radoszewski said.
Then, there’s HDD for installing brand new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit in an angle and leveled out for the distance. It will come backup with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the only largest market for HDD having a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are rising, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 into a projected 19.9 percent this season, in accordance with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is an additional strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE continues to be the No. 1 pipe materials for HDD by using a whopping 49.9 percent market share in comparison with 22.3 percent for PVC, 14.2 percent for steel pipe and 9.1 percent for ductile iron, the survey also says.
Flint looks to switch an estimated 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode by leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The present pipes were damaged when lead leached in to the system after the method to obtain water was switched from Lake Huron for the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to mend Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe range between the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and a lot more by others. Bids to exchange LSLs at 500 homes that are considered the highest risk for lead exposure arrived “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The town was expecting the fee to be about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded for the reason that round and after follow-up meetings the city offers to go on with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in at the very least 50 % higher at $6,000 a home,” Langston said. “Copper is definitely the only material they’re allowing to spec now for service lines and ductile iron for distribution lines. Not only is copper pipe for service lines four times the expense of polyethylene pipe, however, you have very extreme ways to get that copper pipe in the ground and that’s cut and bury, which entails digging up yards and streets.”
A minimum of one Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it will cost $1 trillion over the next twenty-five years to correct existing water to drink systems which can be reaching the ends of the useful lives and to serve growing populations, based on the American Water Works Association.
The precise makeup of the buried water pipes isn’t known. Returning to the 1870s, the rollout of numerous pipe materials has evolved from cast iron, to cement-lined cast iron to asbestos cement then from the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe marketplace is forecast to enhance in a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, as outlined by a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a market research firm operating out of Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in The United States possessed a sales worth of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, based on Acute Market Reports. Together with drinking water, 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 may be the No. 1 pipe materials used in water systems in Europe, it can be still making inroads in the United States. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 % of dexqpkyy02 municipal industry for both water and sewer applications. PVC has a lot of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you go to states like California we’re 50 percent because HDPE pipe may 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 might 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 make the ground to move, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your geographical area in the united states, you’re gonna have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the primary reason for that is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But when you have a fused, welded system, for example polyethylene, the pipe just moves together with the ground. There are no problems.”
Florida is yet another big niche for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem such as a slog. You can find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that want to get into the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going nationwide talking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing however the change process is slow.”