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 PEX-AL-PEX pipe to protect fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but utilisation of the material for water to drink systems remains to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in certain places.
In Michigan, La-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 only a study of three kinds 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 located in Fort Worth, Texas, said within a telephone interview that his presentation went on the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; they had a great deal 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 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 over the last year due to a 40 % drop popular in the oil and gas gathering industry, in accordance with the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association situated in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as Usa cities look to find the lead from their systems making some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next 25 years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting with the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a few others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work for Flint until June 30 – the city wants to engage a staff engineer now – nevertheless the firm will be solicited for future work, the town said in a statement.
The presentation dedicated to high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main experience with HDPE so far is utilizing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes as he discussed the installation approach to pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had heard of the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was initially found in the 1970s in england. The procedure involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through the house and street, where 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 leading end from the bursting head is mounted on a pulling cable and the back end is linked to HDPE pipe fittings. As the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of the cavity for your new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace three to four service lines each day at 75 percent of the price of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 percent off of the price,” he added. “You don’t have to dig up people’s lawns or obtain people’s driveways. You save cash on being forced to replace those things and you’re not disturbing the city. In civil engineering, there’s a new aspect that’s rarely included and that’s social interference. We always discuss 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. Lots of 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 annually.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone compared to ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to setup it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues regarding the social and environmental features of PE pipe.
“One from 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 in a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, which is based in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the application of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems within 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 by using a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches from polyethylene pipe. If you examine all of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the great most of that is certainly PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent of your municipal water market, as outlined by estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation methods for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention with the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an incredible story for our plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – with regards to trenchless installation,” he stated in the telephone interview. “What it could do regarding saving money is an important deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe may be used to replace existing pipes with a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst that old pipe; you employ it as 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 for a distance. It appears support using an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the only largest niche for HDD having 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 season, in line with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE continues to be the No. 1 pipe materials 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 switch an estimated 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode and then leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The existing pipes were damaged when lead leached in the system after the way to obtain drinking water was switched from Lake Huron to the caustic Flint River without adding 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 plus 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 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 ahead with just work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids came in a minimum of fifty percent 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 simply is copper pipe for service lines 4x the fee for polyethylene pipe, but you have very extreme ways to get 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 can cost $1 trillion within the next 25 years to fix existing water to drink systems which are reaching the ends of the useful lives and also to serve growing populations, in line with the American Water Works Association.
The specific 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 from the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe marketplace is forecast to improve at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, based on a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a consumer research firm located in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in America possessed a sales importance of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, as outlined by Acute Market Reports. As well as 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. 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 is still making inroads in the United States. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent of dexqpkyy02 municipal marketplace for both water and sewer applications. PVC has a lot of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you visit states like California we’re one half because HDPE pipe is 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 along with the pipelines won’t yield. It stays intact.”
Freeze-thaw cycles in northern states like Michigan and drought conditions in Texas also make the ground to go, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your geographical area in the nation, you’re likely to have ground movement,” he added. “When you gaze at pipe failures, the key reason for that is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But if you have a fused, welded system, including polyethylene, the pipe just moves together with the ground. There are actually no problems.”
Florida is yet another big marketplace for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as an alternative material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can appear like a slog. You will find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to buy in the change to PE.
“We are constantly going across the country speaking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing however the change process is slow.”