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 trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few 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 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 happens to be based in Fort Worth, Texas, said inside a telephone interview that his presentation went over the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; that they had plenty of great questions. It had been a very 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 first- 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 over the last year due to a forty percent drop popular through the oil and gas gathering industry, based on the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association situated in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as Usa cities look to obtain the lead from their systems and make some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next twenty five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting with the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a handful of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering benefit Flint until June 30 – the city wants to employ a staff engineer now – but the firm will probably be solicited for future work, the metropolis said in the statement.
The presentation centered on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge about HDPE to date is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a great deal of wide eyes when he talked about cellular phone method of pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had heard about the technology before.
A trenchless means 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 from the house and street, in which the service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head by using a slightly larger diameter compared to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The leading end in the bursting head is mounted on a pulling cable as well as the back end is linked to HDPE pipe fittings. Because the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity for the new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace three or four service lines every day at 75 percent of the fee for cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 percent from the price,” he added. “You don’t need to dig up people’s lawns or remove people’s driveways. You spend less on being forced to replace those things and you’re not disturbing the neighborhood. In civil engineering, there’s a brand new aspect that’s rarely accounted for 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 replace 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 compared to ductile iron and then used pipe bursting to install it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues in regards to the social and environmental benefits of PE pipe.
“One of your greatest benefits of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and it also saves trees,” Zilincik said in a May 2016 testimonial for that Alliance for PE Pipe, that is operating out of 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 without any leaks that may 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 out of polyethylene pipe. When you have a look at each of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the fantastic most of that is certainly 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 procedures for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a great story for the plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – in terms of trenchless installation,” he explained in a telephone interview. “What it may do in terms of financial savings is a big deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe may be used to replace existing pipes having a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the previous 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 the distance. It comes down support using an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single largest market for HDD using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are rising, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 into a projected 19.9 percent this current year, 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 materials for HDD 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 and leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The current pipes were damaged when lead leached in to the system right after the method to obtain water was switched from Lake Huron towards the caustic Flint River without incorporating any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to mend Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe vary from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million plus more by others. Bids to exchange LSLs at 500 homes that are considered the highest risk for lead exposure arrived in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The metropolis was expecting the price to get about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in this round and after follow-up meetings the area intends to go ahead with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived no less than 50 % higher at $6,000 a property,” Langston said. “Copper may be 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 4x the fee for polyethylene pipe, however, you have very extreme tips 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 is going to cost $1 trillion across the next twenty five years to repair existing h2o systems which are reaching the ends of the useful lives as well as serve growing populations, based on the American Water Works Association.
The actual 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 within the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe industry is forecast to enhance with 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 located in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in Canada And America experienced a sales value of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, as outlined by 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. The companies rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE is the No. 1 pipe material 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 many of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you visit states like California we’re 50 percent because HDPE pipe is definitely 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 as well as 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 go, making PE pipe an excellent choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your location in the nation, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you appear at pipe failures, the biggest reason for that is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But when you have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves with all the ground. There are actually no problems.”
Florida is yet another big industry for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem to be such as a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to purchase in to the change to PE.
“We are constantly going all over the country referring to PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing but the change process is slow.”