The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to safeguard fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but utilisation of the material for h2o systems is still trickling slowly toward acceptance in some places.
In Michigan, Los Angeles-based JM Eagle’s offer to replace 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., that is based in Fort Worth, Texas, said within a telephone interview that his presentation went on the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; that they had plenty of great questions. It had been an extremely 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, according to Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year as a result of 40 % drop sought after through the oil and gas gathering industry, according to the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association based in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as Usa cities look to obtain the lead from their systems to make some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next twenty-five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting with the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a number of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work with Flint until June 30 – the area plans to work with a staff engineer now – although the firm will probably be solicited for future work, the city said within a statement.
The presentation centered on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE so far is employing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a great deal of wide eyes as he described cellular phone method of pipe bursting. Several attendees had read about the technology before.
A trenchless way of replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was initially employed in the 1970s in england. The procedure 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 with a slightly larger diameter in comparison to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front end of your bursting head is connected to a pulling cable and also the back end is associated with HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the current pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter in the cavity for your new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace 3 or 4 service lines every 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 ought to dig up people’s lawns or sign up for people’s driveways. You save cash on having to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the neighborhood. In civil engineering, there’s a whole new aspect that’s rarely taken into account and that’s social interference. We always discuss 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. Many things are suddenly avoided using trenchless technologies.”
Livonia, Mich., used HDPE pipe from Charter Plastics Inc., the No. 77 ranked PPT extruder, to exchange 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 put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues in regards to the social and environmental benefits of PE pipe.
“One from the greatest benefits associated with high density polyethylene pipe is it’s very easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and 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 within the Usa and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially generates a single pipeline free of 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 of polyethylene pipe. Should you have a look at every one of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the fantastic majority of that is certainly PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent of your municipal water market, based on estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone procedures for HDPE pipe got a lot of attention on the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an excellent story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – in terms of trenchless installation,” he was quoted saying within a telephone interview. “What it may do in terms of cost savings is a big deal.”
In addition to pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe could be used to replace existing pipes with a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst that old pipe; you employ it a host pipe,” Radoszewski said.
Then, there’s HDD for installing completely new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit with an angle and leveled out to get a distance. It appears back via an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the one largest niche for HDD with 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, in accordance with 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 material 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 exchange approximately 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand galvanized steel lines, which corrode and leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached into the system after the way to obtain drinking water was switched from Lake Huron to the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to repair Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe range between the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and much more by others. Bids to switch 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 charge being about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in that round and after follow-up meetings the area offers to proceed with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in a minimum of one half higher at $6,000 a home,” Langston said. “Copper is definitely the only material they’re allowing to spec now for service lines and ductile iron for distribution lines. Not just is copper pipe for service lines 4 times the cost of polyethylene pipe, but you have very extreme methods for getting 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 is going to cost $1 trillion within the next twenty five years to correct existing water systems which are reaching the ends of their useful lives and also to serve growing populations, according to the American Water Works Association.
The exact makeup from 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 inside the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe industry is forecast to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, based on a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a researching the market firm situated in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in North America had a sales importance of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, in accordance with Acute Market Reports. As well as 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 is the No. 1 pipe materials used in water systems in Europe, it can be still making inroads in the usa. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent of dexqpkyy02 municipal marketplace 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 fifty percent 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 might have 4 feet of lateral shift and also 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 an excellent choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your geographical area in america, you’re going to have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the main reason for this is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But for those who have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves with the ground. You will find no problems.”
Florida can be another big industry for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a substitute material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can appear similar to a slog. There are actually mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require to purchase in the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going across the country discussing PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing but the change process is slow.”