The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest more civil engineers of potable water systems in America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used HDPE pipe fittings to shield fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but use of the material for water to drink systems remains trickling slowly toward acceptance in certain places.
In Michigan, Los Angeles-based JM Eagle’s offer to replace all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic amounts 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 can be situated in Fort Worth, Texas, said within a telephone interview that his presentation went within the allotted hour with no objections.
“The information was taken well; they had a great deal of great questions. It had been 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 first- 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 in the last year because of 40 percent drop sought after from the oil and gas gathering industry, in line with the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association based 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 twenty five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting in the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a handful of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work with Flint until June 30 – the city plans to engage a staff engineer now – although the firm will probably be solicited for future work, the metropolis said in the statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge about HDPE to date is utilizing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a lot of wide eyes when he discussed cellular phone way of pipe bursting. Several attendees had been aware of the technology before.
A trenchless means for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was first found in the 1970s in england. The process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits by the house and street, 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 leading end of your bursting head is connected to a pulling cable and the back end is connected to HDPE pipe fittings. Because the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity for the new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace 3 to 4 service lines every day at 75 percent of the fee for cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % away from the price,” he added. “You don’t have to dig up people’s lawns or sign up for people’s driveways. You save cash on being forced to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the neighborhood. In civil engineering, there’s a brand new aspect that’s rarely included and that’s social interference. We always talk about 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 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 annually.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison to ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to install it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues in regards to the social and environmental benefits of PE pipe.
“One of the greatest advantages of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s simple to install, it’s less disruptive … and it saves trees,” Zilincik said within a May 2016 testimonial to the Alliance for PE Pipe, which can be operating out of Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the application of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems inside the United states and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially results in a single pipeline clear 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 with a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches from polyethylene pipe. In the event you examine every one of the food packaging, whether it is milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent most of that may be PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % of your municipal water market, according to estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone techniques for HDPE pipe got lots of attention in the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a fantastic story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – regarding trenchless installation,” he said within a telephone interview. “What it could do in terms of financial savings is a major deal.”
Together 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 employ it as a a host pipe,” Radoszewski said.
Then, there’s HDD for installing new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit at an angle and leveled out for a distance. It comes back up through an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the one largest marketplace for HDD with a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are going up, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to some projected 19.9 percent this year, based on the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is an additional strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE is still the No. 1 pipe materials for HDD having 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 looks to change an estimated 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode and then leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The current pipes were damaged when lead leached in the system following the way to obtain water was switched from Lake Huron for the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to correct 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 exchange LSLs at 500 homes that are seen as the highest risk for lead exposure arrived “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The area 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 town intends to go ahead with just work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived no less than one half higher at $6,000 a home,” Langston said. “Copper is the only material they’re allowing to spec now for service lines and ductile iron for distribution lines. Not merely is copper pipe for service lines 4x the cost of polyethylene pipe, nevertheless, you have very extreme ways to get that copper pipe in the earth 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 can cost $1 trillion over the next twenty-five years to repair existing water to drink systems which are reaching the ends of the useful lives and to serve growing populations, according to the American Water Works Association.
The specific makeup of your buried water pipes isn’t known. Going back to the 1870s, the rollout of varied 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 industry is forecast to boost at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, as outlined by a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a consumer research firm operating out of Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in Canada And America possessed a sales importance of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, according to 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 companies rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE will be the No. 1 pipe materials in water systems in Europe, it can be still making inroads in the states. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 % 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 50 % because HDPE pipe is definitely the only material which is earthquake and ground-movement resistant,” Langston said. “A study by Cornell University performed on 16-inch pipe showed you could have 4 feet of lateral shift and 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 advance, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you reside in america, you’re gonna have ground movement,” he added. “When you appear at pipe failures, the biggest reason for the is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But if you have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves with the ground. There are no problems.”
Florida is an additional big marketplace for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can feel like a slog. There are actually mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that want to buy to the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going all over the country talking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing nevertheless the change process is slow.”