The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest more civil engineers of potable water systems in The United States.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to safeguard fiber optic cables and deliver gas, but using the material for water systems remains to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few places.
In Michigan, Los Angeles-based JM Eagle’s offer to replace all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic degrees of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not just 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 happens to be operating out of Fort Worth, Texas, said in a telephone interview that his presentation went on the allotted hour without having objections.
“The information was taken well; they had lots of great questions. It was actually an extremely 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 first- and 11th-ranked manufacturers of plastic pipe, profiles and tubing in Canada And America, according to Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year as a result of forty percent drop in demand from the oil and gas gathering industry, according to the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association located in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as United states cities look to have the lead out of their systems making some $1 trillion of upgrades on the next twenty-five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting on the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a number of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work with Flint until June 30 – the city intends to hire a staff engineer now – but the firm will likely be solicited for future work, the metropolis said in the statement.
The presentation dedicated to high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main exposure to HDPE so far is using it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got lots of wide eyes as he described the installation approach to pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had read about the technology before.
A trenchless way of replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was employed in the 1970s in the United Kingdom. The process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through the house and street, in which the service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head having a slightly larger diameter than the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end of your bursting head is mounted on a pulling cable and also the back end is connected 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 existing pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace 3 to 4 service lines per day at 75 percent of the fee for cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 percent from the price,” he added. “You don’t ought to dig up people’s lawns or remove people’s driveways. You save money on being forced to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the city. In civil engineering, there’s a 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. Many 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 switch 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 when compared with ductile iron after which used pipe bursting to setup it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues about the social and environmental features of PE pipe.
“One of your greatest advantages of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s simple to install, it’s less disruptive … and yes it saves trees,” Zilincik said in a May 2016 testimonial to the Alliance for PE Pipe, which happens to be located 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 without any leaks that can be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable with a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out of polyethylene pipe. When you have a look at all of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent largest part of that may be PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent from the municipal water market, as outlined by estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation methods for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention on the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an incredible story for the plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – regarding trenchless installation,” he said inside a telephone interview. “What it can do in terms of cost savings is a huge deal.”
Along with pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe can be used to replace existing pipes with a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the existing pipe; you make use of it as 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 with an angle and leveled out for a distance. It appears backup with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single largest marketplace for HDD having a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are on the rise, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to your projected 19.9 percent this season, in accordance with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE has become the No. 1 pipe material used for HDD by using a whopping 49.9 percent market share when compared with 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 and leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached to the system right after the method to obtain h2o was switched from Lake Huron on the caustic Flint River without incorporating any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to mend Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe vary from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and a lot more by others. Bids to replace LSLs at 500 homes that are seen as the highest risk for lead exposure came in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The metropolis 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 area plans to go on with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids came in at least one half 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 only is copper pipe for service lines four times the price of polyethylene pipe, however, you have very extreme methods for getting 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 mend existing water systems which can be reaching the ends of the useful lives as well as serve growing populations, in accordance with the American Water Works Association.
The exact makeup of your buried water pipes isn’t known. Going back to the 1870s, the rollout of diverse pipe materials has evolved from cast iron, to cement-lined cast iron to asbestos cement then in the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe industry is forecast to improve in a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, in accordance with a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a consumer research firm situated in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in The United States enjoyed a sales worth of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, in accordance with Acute Market Reports. Together with h2o, 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 is the No. 1 pipe materials in water systems in Europe, it can be still making inroads in the United States. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent of dexqpky02 municipal industry for both water and sewer applications. PVC has the majority of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 percent nationwide but when you go to 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 may have 4 feet of lateral shift and also the pipelines won’t yield. It stays intact.”
Freeze-thaw cycles in northern states like Michigan and drought conditions in Texas also increase the risk for ground to go, making PE pipe an excellent choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in the united states, you’re going to have ground movement,” he added. “When you gaze at pipe failures, the main 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 using the ground. You can find no problems.”
Florida is another big market for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem just like a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that want to get into the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going throughout the country talking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing however the change process is slow.”