The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest more civil engineers of potable water systems in North America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to shield fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but use of the material for h2o systems remains to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few places.
In Michigan, L . A .-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 simply 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., which happens to be operating out of Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went over the allotted hour without having objections.
“The information was taken well; that they had a lot of great questions. It had been a very 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 The United States, according to Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down within the last year because of a 40 percent drop sought after through the oil and gas gathering industry, according to the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association located in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as United states cities look to have the lead out of their systems and make some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next 25 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 for Flint until June 30 – the town intends to engage a staff engineer now – however the firm will be solicited for future work, the area said in a statement.
The presentation focused entirely on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main exposure to HDPE currently is using it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a lot of wide eyes when he discussed the installation approach to pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had been aware of the technology before.
A trenchless means for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was first found in the 1970s in the uk. This process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits from the house and street, the location where the service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head using a slightly larger diameter in comparison to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The leading end of the bursting head is connected to a pulling cable along with the back end is linked to HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the present pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity to the new pipe.
The previous pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace three or four service lines each day at 75 percent of the expense of cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % from the price,” he added. “You don’t have to dig up people’s lawns or take out people’s driveways. You save on being forced 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 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. 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 annually.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison to ductile iron then used pipe bursting to put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues in regards to the social and environmental features of PE pipe.
“One of the greatest benefits associated with high density polyethylene pipe is it’s simple to install, it’s less disruptive … and it saves trees,” Zilincik said inside a May 2016 testimonial to the Alliance for PE Pipe, that is based in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the usage of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems from 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 free of leaks that can be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable with a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out from polyethylene pipe. When you examine all of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the truly amazing greater part of which is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent from the municipal water market, as outlined by estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation techniques for HDPE pipe got lots of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a fantastic story for the plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – with regards to trenchless installation,” he was quoted saying within a telephone interview. “What it can do with regards to saving money is a huge deal.”
In addition to pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe enables you to replace existing pipes having a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the existing pipe; you employ 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 to get a distance. It appears back up via an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single largest industry for HDD by using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are going up, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to a projected 19.9 percent this coming year, in line with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE continues to be the No. 1 pipe materials for HDD by using 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 looks to switch an estimated 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand galvanized steel lines, which corrode and then leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached into the system right after the method to obtain h2o was switched from Lake Huron to the caustic Flint River without incorporating 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 started in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The city was expecting the price to become about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in that round and after follow-up meetings the city intends to just do it with just work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in no less than 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 4x the price 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.”
A minumum of one Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it would cost $1 trillion over the next twenty-five years to mend existing water systems that are reaching the ends with their useful lives and also to serve growing populations, in line with the American Water Works Association.
The precise 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 in the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe industry is forecast to boost at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, as outlined by a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a market research firm operating out of Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in Canada And America enjoyed a sales worth of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, according to 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 material used in water systems in Europe, it is actually still making inroads in the states. 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 percent nationwide but when you visit states like California we’re fifty 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 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 result in the ground to move, making PE pipe a great choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your geographical area in the country, you’re going to have ground movement,” he added. “When you gaze 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. There are actually 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. You can find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require to get in the alteration to PE.
“We are constantly going nationwide discussing PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing but the change process is slow.”