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 utilization of the material for water systems remains trickling slowly toward acceptance in some places.
In Michigan, La-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 only a study of three forms 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 is operating out of Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went across the allotted hour without any objections.
“The information was taken well; they had a great deal of great questions. It absolutely was a really 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 initial- and 11th-ranked manufacturers of plastic pipe, profiles and tubing in North America, as outlined by Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down in the last year because of a 40 percent drop popular in the 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 U.S. cities look to get the lead out of their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next twenty five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting on the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a handful of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering benefit Flint until June 30 – the area offers to engage a staff engineer now – nevertheless the firm will probably be solicited for future work, the area said in the statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main exposure to HDPE currently is utilizing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got lots of wide eyes when he mentioned the installation way of pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had heard about the technology before.
A trenchless means for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was found in the 1970s in britain. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through 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 than the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end of the bursting head is connected to a pulling cable and the back end is associated with HDPE pipe fittings. Because the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter in the cavity for the new pipe.
The previous pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace 3 to 4 service lines each day at 75 percent of the cost of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % away from the price,” he added. “You don’t need to dig up people’s lawns or take out people’s driveways. You save money on the need to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the neighborhood. In civil engineering, there’s a fresh aspect that’s rarely included and that’s social interference. We always focus on 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 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 per year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison to 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 advantages of PE pipe.
“One in the greatest benefits associated with high density polyethylene pipe is it’s an easy task to install, it’s less disruptive … plus it saves trees,” Zilincik said within a May 2016 testimonial for that Alliance for PE Pipe, which happens to be operating out of Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the use of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems in the United states 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 could 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 examine all of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent majority of that may be PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent in the municipal water market, in accordance with estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone approaches for HDPE pipe got lots of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a fantastic story for our plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – with regards to trenchless installation,” he stated within a telephone interview. “What it may do when it comes to cost benefits is a big 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 utilize 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 at an angle and leveled out to get a distance. It will come support through an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single largest industry for HDD by using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are rising, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to a projected 19.9 percent this coming year, according to the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is an additional strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE has become the No. 1 pipe material used for HDD with 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 looks to exchange approximately 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand galvanized steel lines, which corrode and leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The existing pipes were damaged when lead leached into the system right after the method to obtain drinking water was switched from Lake Huron towards the caustic Flint River without the addition of 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 much more by others. Bids to change LSLs at 500 homes that are seen as the highest risk for lead exposure arrived “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The metropolis was expecting the cost to get about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded because round and after follow-up meetings the town wants to go ahead with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived in at least fifty percent higher at $6,000 a property,” Langston said. “Copper is 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 4 times the fee for polyethylene pipe, but you have very extreme techniques for getting 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 can cost $1 trillion across the next 25 years to correct existing drinking water systems that are reaching the ends of their useful lives as well as serve growing populations, in accordance with the American Water Works Association.
The specific makeup in the buried water pipes isn’t known. Going back to the 1870s, the rollout of various 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 at the compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, as outlined by a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a market research firm based in 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, in accordance with Acute Market Reports. Along 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. 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 market for both water and sewer applications. PVC has many of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 percent nationwide but when you go to states like California we’re one half because HDPE pipe will be the only material that may be 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 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 cause the ground to advance, making PE pipe a great choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your location in the nation, you’re likely to have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the main reason for the is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But when you have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves using the ground. There are no problems.”
Florida can be another big industry for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem to be just like a slog. You will find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to get in to the alteration to PE.
“We are constantly going nationwide referring to PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is incredibly amazing but the change process is slow.”