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 use of the material for drinking water systems continues to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in many places.
In Michigan, L . A .-based JM Eagle’s offer to exchange all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic quantities of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not simply 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 can be based in Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went within the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; they had plenty of great questions. It absolutely was a very productive meeting,” he said.
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, in accordance with Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down over the last year due to a forty percent drop needed through 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 Usa cities look to have 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 in the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and some others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering help Flint until June 30 – the town intends to employ a staff engineer now – however the firm is going to be solicited for future work, the city said in a statement.
The presentation centered on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE currently is utilizing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes when he mentioned the installation way of pipe bursting. Several attendees had been aware of the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was utilized in the 1970s in the uk. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits by the house and street, in which the service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head using a slightly larger diameter than the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end of your bursting head is attached to a pulling cable as well as the back end is attached to HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter in the cavity to the new pipe.
The old pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace 3 to 4 service lines each day at 75 percent of the price of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % off of the price,” he added. “You don’t ought to dig up people’s lawns or remove people’s driveways. You save cash on having to replace those things and you’re not disturbing the community. In civil engineering, there’s a whole new aspect that’s rarely made up and that’s social interference. We always speak about 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. Several things are suddenly avoided using trenchless technologies.”
Livonia, Mich., used HDPE pipe from Charter Plastics Inc., the No. 77 ranked PPT extruder, to change 27,000 feet of cracking, leaking iron pipes from April through October 2008. The Titusville, Pa.-based company has estimated sales of $35 million a year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison with ductile iron then 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 from the greatest benefits associated with high density polyethylene pipe is it’s easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and yes it saves trees,” Zilincik said inside a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, which can be operating out of Tulsa, Okla., and promotes using HDPE pipe for municipal water systems from 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 using a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out from polyethylene pipe. If you have a look at all of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent most of which is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent in the municipal water market, based on estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation methods for HDPE pipe got lots of attention in the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an excellent story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – in terms of trenchless installation,” he explained within a telephone interview. “What it could do when it comes to cost savings is a huge deal.”
In addition to pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe can be used to replace existing pipes by using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the old pipe; you make use of it as a 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 to get a distance. It comes down back with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the only largest marketplace for HDD by using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are going up, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 into a projected 19.9 percent this season, based on 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 materials for HDD 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 looks to replace approximately 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The existing pipes were damaged when lead leached to the system right after the source of h2o was switched from Lake Huron on the caustic Flint River without incorporating any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to repair 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 exchange LSLs at 500 homes that are seen as the highest risk for lead exposure arrived in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The town was expecting the cost to get about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in this round and after follow-up meetings the area intends to just do it with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in a minimum of one half higher at $6,000 a house,” Langston said. “Copper may be 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 four 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 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 across the next twenty five years to fix existing h2o systems which can be reaching the ends of their useful lives as well as to serve growing populations, based on the American Water Works Association.
The precise makeup from the buried water pipes isn’t known. Returning to the 1870s, the rollout of diverse pipe materials has changed from cast iron, to cement-lined cast iron to asbestos cement then within the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe industry is forecast to improve at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, as outlined by a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a researching the market firm situated in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in America had 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. In addition to 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 material used in water systems in Europe, it is actually still making inroads in the United States. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 % of dexqpky02 municipal niche for both water and sewer applications. PVC has most of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 percent nationwide but when you visit states like California we’re 50 % because HDPE pipe is definitely 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 can 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 increase the risk for ground to advance, 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 appear at pipe failures, the key reason for that is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But when you have a fused, welded system, including polyethylene, the pipe just moves using the ground. You will find no problems.”
Florida is yet another big marketplace for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a substitute material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem just like a slog. You can find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to purchase in to the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going throughout the country discussing PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is incredibly amazing however the change process is slow.”