The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in The United States.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used HDPE pipe fittings to protect fiber optic cables and deliver gas, but utilization of the material for drinking water systems remains to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few places.
In Michigan, L . A .-based JM Eagle’s offer to switch all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic levels of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not simply a study of three types 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., that is operating out of Fort Worth, Texas, said in a telephone interview that his presentation went across the allotted hour without any objections.
“The information was taken well; they had a lot of great questions. It was a very 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 America, in accordance with Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year due to a forty percent drop sought after from your oil and gas gathering industry, based on the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association situated in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as Usa cities look to get the lead out of their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next twenty-five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting at the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a number of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering help Flint until June 30 – the city offers to employ a staff engineer now – but the firm will probably be solicited for future work, the city said inside a statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge about HDPE currently is utilizing 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 method of pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had read about the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was basically utilized in the 1970s in england. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits from the house and street, where the service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head using a slightly larger diameter compared to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front end of your bursting head is linked to a pulling cable and the back end is associated with HDPE pipe fittings. As being the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the current pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity for that new pipe.
The previous pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace 3 or 4 service lines a day at 75 percent of the fee for cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 percent away from the price,” he added. “You don’t need to dig up people’s lawns or remove people’s driveways. You save money on needing to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the community. In civil engineering, there’s a fresh aspect that’s rarely made up and that’s social interference. We always discuss cost but what isn’t measurable cost wise are definitely the calls and complaints to city offices about construction, noise, debris and dug-up yards. Several things are suddenly avoided using trenchless technologies.”
Livonia, Mich., used HDPE pipe from Charter Plastics Inc., 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 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 about the social and environmental advantages of PE pipe.
“One in the greatest great things about high density polyethylene pipe is it’s very easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and it also saves trees,” Zilincik said within a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, which happens to be situated in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the usage of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems from the Usa and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially creates a single pipeline free from leaks that can be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable having a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches away from polyethylene pipe. When you take a look at each of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the truly amazing most of that may be PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % of the municipal water market, as outlined by estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone methods for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention with the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an excellent story for the plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – with regards to trenchless installation,” he said in the telephone interview. “What it may do when it comes to saving money is an important deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe could be used to replace existing pipes by using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the previous pipe; you use it 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 with an angle and leveled out to get a distance. It appears backup through an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single largest industry for HDD with a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are increasing, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to your projected 19.9 percent this year, according to the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE is still the No. 1 pipe material used for HDD having 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 approximately 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode by leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached into the system following the way to obtain water was switched from Lake Huron on the caustic Flint River without adding any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to correct Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe cover anything from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and much more by others. Bids to change LSLs at 500 homes that are considered the highest risk for lead exposure started in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The town was expecting the cost to be about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded because round and after follow-up meetings the area offers to proceed with just work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived a minimum of 50 percent 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 simply is copper pipe for service lines 4x the price of polyethylene pipe, nevertheless, you have very extreme techniques for getting that copper pipe in the ground and that’s cut and bury, which entails digging up yards and streets.”
At least one Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it will cost $1 trillion within the next twenty-five years to repair existing drinking water systems which can be reaching the ends in their useful lives and also to serve growing populations, in line with the American Water Works Association.
The exact makeup of the buried water pipes isn’t known. Going back 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 market is forecast to increase with a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, according to a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a researching the market firm based in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in North America experienced a sales price of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, as outlined by Acute Market Reports. In addition to 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. The firms rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE may be the No. 1 pipe material 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 the majority 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 is definitely the only material that is 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 as well as the pipelines won’t yield. It stays intact.”
Freeze-thaw cycles in northern states like Michigan and drought conditions in Texas also result in the ground to maneuver, making PE pipe a great choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you reside in the nation, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you look at pipe failures, the primary reason for your is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But for those who have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves together with the ground. There are actually no problems.”
Florida is another big market for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as an alternative material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can feel like a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that want to purchase in the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going nationwide speaking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing however the change process is slow.”