The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest more civil engineers of potable water systems in North America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used HDPE pipe fittings to guard 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 many places.
In Michigan, La-based JM Eagle’s offer to exchange all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic levels 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 situated in Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went within the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; that they had a great deal of great questions. It absolutely was a really 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 The United States, as outlined by Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year due to a 40 % drop popular through the oil and gas gathering industry, in line with the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association operating out of 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 over the next twenty-five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting on the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and some others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work for Flint until June 30 – the town wants to engage a staff engineer now – although the firm will likely be solicited for future work, the metropolis said inside a statement.
The presentation centered on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge about HDPE to date is employing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got lots of wide eyes when he discussed the installation approach to pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had heard about the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was first used in the 1970s in the uk. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits from 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 compared to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front end of your bursting head is connected to a pulling cable and the back end is connected to HDPE pipe fittings. As being 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 previous pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace 3 or 4 service lines a day at 75 percent of the expense of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % off of the price,” he added. “You don’t must dig up people’s lawns or take out people’s driveways. You save on needing to replace those ideas 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 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. 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 per year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone when compared with ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues regarding the social and environmental features of PE pipe.
“One of your greatest benefits associated with high density polyethylene pipe is it’s very easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and yes it saves trees,” Zilincik said in a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, that is operating out of Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the use 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 results in a single pipeline free from leaks that may 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 away from polyethylene pipe. In the event you examine all of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the great most of that may be PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % in the municipal water market, in accordance with estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation techniques for HDPE pipe got a lot of attention with the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a fantastic story for our plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – when it comes to trenchless installation,” he said in the telephone interview. “What it may do when it comes to cost savings is a huge deal.”
As well as 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 utilize 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 at an angle and leveled out for a distance. It will come backup with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the one largest industry for HDD having a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are increasing, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to a projected 19.9 percent this current year, in line with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is yet another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE continues to be the No. 1 pipe materials used for HDD by using 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 replace an estimated 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 following the supply of h2o was switched from Lake Huron for the caustic Flint River without incorporating any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to fix Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe range between the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and a lot more by others. Bids to change LSLs at 500 homes that are considered the highest risk for lead exposure came in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The city was expecting the cost being about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in this round and after follow-up meetings the metropolis plans to go ahead with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived in at least 50 percent higher at $6,000 a house,” Langston said. “Copper is definitely 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 tips 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 will cost $1 trillion across the next twenty five years to mend existing h2o systems which can be reaching the ends of the useful lives and also to serve growing populations, according to the American Water Works Association.
The precise makeup from the 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 within the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe marketplace is forecast to increase with a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, according to a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a consumer research firm operating out of Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in North America enjoyed a sales value of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, according to Acute Market Reports. Together with water to drink, 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 businesses 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 really is still making inroads in the states. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 % of dexqpkyy02 municipal industry for both water and sewer applications. PVC has a lot 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 which is 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 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 maneuver, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your location in america, you’re likely to have ground movement,” he added. “When you appear at pipe failures, the biggest reason for this is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But if you have a fused, welded system, such as polyethylene, the pipe just moves with all the ground. You will find 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 feel like a slog. You can find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that need to acquire in to the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going nationwide discussing PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing however the change process is slow.”