The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest more civil engineers of potable water systems in The United States.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used HDPE pipe fittings to guard fiber optic cables and deliver gas, but use of the material for h2o systems is still trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few places.
In Michigan, L . A .-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 only 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., that is operating out of Fort Worth, Texas, said in a telephone interview that his presentation went on the allotted hour without having objections.
“The information was taken well; that they had a lot of great questions. It had been a really productive meeting,” he stated.
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, in accordance with Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year as a result of 40 percent drop needed from 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 Usa cities look to find the lead out of their systems making some $1 trillion of upgrades across 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 offers to hire a staff engineer now – although the firm will probably be solicited for future work, the town said in the statement.
The presentation dedicated to high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE to date is using it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a lot of wide eyes as he discussed cellular phone way of pipe bursting. Few of the attendees had heard of the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was first used in the 1970s in britain. The method involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits with the house and street, the location where 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 top end of the bursting head is linked to a pulling cable as well as the back end is connected to HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the current pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity for that new pipe.
That old pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace three to four service lines per day at 75 percent of the cost of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 percent from the price,” he added. “You don’t ought to dig up people’s lawns or obtain 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 made up and that’s social interference. We always focus on 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., 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 a year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison to ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to install it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues regarding the social and environmental great things about PE pipe.
“One from the greatest advantages of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s easy to install, it’s less disruptive … plus it saves trees,” Zilincik said in the May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, which is based in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the usage of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems in 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 clear 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 look at each of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the great greater part of which is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % 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 with the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an incredible story for our own plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – in terms of trenchless installation,” he was quoted saying inside a telephone interview. “What it can do regarding financial savings is a big deal.”
Along with pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe could be used to replace existing pipes using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the existing pipe; you utilize it as being 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 in an angle and leveled out for a distance. It comes backup with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single 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 to some projected 19.9 percent this season, according to 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 material used for HDD with 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 is looking to replace an estimated 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode and leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached in to the system right after the supply of drinking water was switched from Lake Huron to the caustic Flint River without incorporating any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to fix Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe range from 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 arrived “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The city was expecting the price to get about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in that round and after follow-up meetings the town plans to proceed with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in at the very least fifty percent higher at $6,000 a residence,” Langston said. “Copper may 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 four times the cost of polyethylene pipe, however, you have very extreme ways to get that copper pipe in the earth 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 over the next twenty-five years to mend existing water systems that are reaching the ends in their useful lives and also to serve growing populations, in line with the American Water Works Association.
The specific makeup of the buried water pipes isn’t known. Going back to the 1870s, the rollout of numerous pipe materials has changed 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 at the compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, according to a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a researching the market firm situated 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, 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 may be 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 % of dexqpkyy02 municipal industry for both water and sewer applications. PVC has most 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 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 can 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 make the ground to maneuver, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your location in the country, you’re likely to have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the main reason for that is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But in case you have a fused, welded system, for example polyethylene, the pipe just moves together with the ground. There are no problems.”
Florida is an additional big industry 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 which need to buy to the change to PE.
“We are constantly going across the country talking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing nevertheless the change process is slow.”