The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in Canada And America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used HDPE pipe fittings to shield fiber optic cables and deliver gas, but utilization of the material for drinking water systems remains trickling slowly toward acceptance in some places.
In Michigan, La-based JM Eagle’s offer to exchange all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic amounts 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 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 an incredibly productive meeting,” he was quoted saying.
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 within the last year as a result of forty percent drop popular 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 United states cities look to find the lead from their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades on the next twenty-five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting in the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a few others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work with Flint until June 30 – the metropolis intends to hire a staff engineer now – however the firm will be solicited for future work, the metropolis said in the statement.
The presentation focused entirely on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE currently is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes when he mentioned 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 first employed in the 1970s in the uk. The method involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits with 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 compared to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end of the bursting head is mounted on a pulling cable along with the back end is associated with HDPE pipe fittings. As the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of the cavity for the new pipe.
The previous pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace three to four service lines a day at 75 percent of the expense 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 remove people’s driveways. You save money 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 accounted for and that’s social interference. We always talk about cost but what isn’t measurable cost wise are 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 when compared with ductile iron after which used pipe bursting to put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues about the social and environmental features of PE pipe.
“One from the greatest benefits of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s very easy to install, it’s less disruptive … plus it saves trees,” Zilincik said inside a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, that is located in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the usage of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems in the U.S. and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially creates a single pipeline clear of leaks which can be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable having a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches from polyethylene pipe. In the event you take a look at every one of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent majority of which is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % in the municipal water market, as outlined by 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 a great story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – when it comes to trenchless installation,” he stated in a telephone interview. “What it could do regarding cost benefits is a big deal.”
Along with pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe could 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 new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit with an angle and leveled out for the distance. It comes support via an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the one largest industry for HDD by using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are increasing, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to some projected 19.9 percent this current year, in accordance with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution can be another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE continues to be the No. 1 pipe materials for HDD with a whopping 49.9 percent market share in comparison 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 approximately 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The current pipes were damaged when lead leached into the system once the source of water to drink was switched from Lake Huron towards the caustic Flint River without adding any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to mend Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe cover anything from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and more by others. Bids to exchange LSLs at 500 homes that are considered the highest risk for lead exposure arrived “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The town was expecting the charge to get about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in that round and after follow-up meetings the town offers to just do it with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived at least 50 percent higher at $6,000 a residence,” Langston said. “Copper is 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 fee for polyethylene pipe, however 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.”
One or more Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it would cost $1 trillion on the next 25 years to repair existing water systems that happen to be reaching the ends of their useful lives and to serve growing populations, in line with the American Water Works Association.
The actual makeup of your 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 within the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe industry is forecast to increase in 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 located in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in America enjoyed a sales worth of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, based on Acute Market Reports. In addition to 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. Companies rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE is the No. 1 pipe materials in water systems in Europe, it is actually still making inroads in the United States. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent of dexqpkyy02 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 visit states like California we’re 50 % because HDPE pipe is 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 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 advance, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your location in the united states, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you look at pipe failures, the primary reason for the is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But in case you have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves with the ground. There are no problems.”
Florida can be another big marketplace for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a substitute material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can feel such as a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require to get in to the change to PE.
“We are constantly going throughout the country speaking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing but the change process is slow.”