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 HDPE pipe fittings to guard fiber optic cables and deliver gas, but use of the material for h2o systems remains to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in many places.
In Michigan, Los Angeles-based JM Eagle’s offer to replace all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic levels of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not simply 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 happens to be situated in Fort Worth, Texas, said inside a 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 had been an incredibly 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, as outlined by Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down over the last year due to a forty percent drop in demand 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 U.S. cities look to find the lead out of their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next 25 years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting at the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and some others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work with Flint until June 30 – the area plans to hire a staff engineer now – however the firm is going to be solicited for future work, the area said in a statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE up to now is using it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a lot of wide eyes as he discussed the installation means of pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had been aware of the technology before.
A trenchless method for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was initially found in the 1970s in the United Kingdom. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through 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 top end in the bursting head is attached to a pulling cable along with the back end is attached to HDPE pipe fittings. As the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the existing 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 3 or 4 service lines per day at 75 percent of the price of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % from the price,” he added. “You don’t need to dig up people’s lawns or remove people’s driveways. You save cash on having to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the community. In civil engineering, there’s a new aspect that’s rarely taken into account and that’s social interference. We always focus on 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. 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 in comparison to ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to install it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues in regards to the social and environmental advantages of PE pipe.
“One from the greatest great things about high density polyethylene pipe is it’s simple to install, it’s less disruptive … plus it saves trees,” Zilincik said within a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, that is located in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes using HDPE pipe for municipal water systems inside 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 using a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out of polyethylene pipe. In the event you have a look at all of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent greater part of that is certainly PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % from the municipal water market, according to estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone approaches for HDPE pipe got a lot of attention in the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an incredible story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – when it comes to trenchless installation,” he said in the telephone interview. “What it might do when it comes to cost savings is a big deal.”
Together with pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe enables you to replace existing pipes having a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the old pipe; you employ it 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 with an angle and leveled out for a distance. It will come backup 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 on the rise, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to some projected 19.9 percent this coming year, in accordance with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE is still the No. 1 pipe materials for HDD with a whopping 49.9 percent market share when compared 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 change an estimated 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 right after the supply of h2o was switched from Lake Huron for the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to fix Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe vary from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and more by others. Bids to switch 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 become about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in that round and after follow-up meetings the metropolis offers to just do it with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived at the very least 50 percent higher at $6,000 a house,” Langston said. “Copper may be 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, 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 would cost $1 trillion across the next 25 years to correct existing water systems which can be reaching the ends of their useful lives as well as to serve growing populations, according to the American Water Works Association.
The exact makeup of the buried water pipes isn’t known. Returning to the 1870s, the rollout of varied pipe materials has changed from cast iron, to cement-lined cast iron to asbestos cement then from the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe market is forecast to improve at the compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, based on a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a consumer research firm situated in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in Canada And America enjoyed a sales price of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, according to Acute Market Reports. In addition to 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 definitely the No. 1 pipe material used in water systems in Europe, it really is 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 a lot of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you go to states like California we’re fifty percent because HDPE pipe may 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 might 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 cause the ground to maneuver, making PE pipe an excellent choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in the united states, you’re going to have ground movement,” he added. “When you look at pipe failures, the biggest reason for the is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But in case you have a fused, welded system, including polyethylene, the pipe just moves together with the ground. You will find no problems.”
Florida is an additional big niche for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem like a slog. You will find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require 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 incredibly amazing nevertheless the change process is slow.”