The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest more civil engineers of potable water systems in Canada And America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to shield fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but utilisation of the material for drinking water systems is still trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few places.
In Michigan, Los Angeles-based JM Eagle’s offer to switch all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic levels of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not just 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 within a telephone interview that his presentation went within the allotted hour with no objections.
“The information was taken well; that they had plenty of great questions. It was actually a very 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 first- and 11th-ranked manufacturers of plastic pipe, profiles and tubing in America, as outlined by Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year because of forty percent drop in demand in 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 to make some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next twenty five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting at the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a handful of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering benefit Flint until June 30 – the metropolis plans to work with a staff engineer now – however the firm will likely be solicited for future work, the city said inside a statement.
The presentation centered on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main exposure to HDPE to date is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes as he discussed cellular phone method of pipe bursting. Few of the attendees had read about the technology before.
A trenchless method for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was basically utilized in the 1970s in england. This process 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 having a slightly larger diameter compared to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end from the bursting head is connected to a pulling cable and the back end is associated with HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of the cavity for your new pipe.
The old 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 obtain people’s driveways. You save money on needing to replace those activities and you’re not disturbing the community. In civil engineering, there’s a whole new aspect that’s rarely taken into account and that’s social interference. We always discuss 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 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 a year.
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 in the greatest benefits associated with high density polyethylene pipe is it’s very easy to install, it’s less disruptive … and yes it saves trees,” Zilincik said in the May 2016 testimonial for that Alliance for PE Pipe, that is located in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the usage of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems in the Usa and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially generates a single pipeline free from leaks which can be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable by using a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out from polyethylene pipe. When you look at all of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the fantastic largest part of which is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % of your municipal water market, in accordance with estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation approaches for HDPE pipe got a lot of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an excellent story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – regarding trenchless installation,” he was quoted saying inside a telephone interview. “What it could do when it comes to cost benefits is a big deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe enables you to replace existing pipes by using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the previous pipe; you use it as 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 a distance. It will come backup via an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single largest marketplace for HDD using 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 year, according to the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution can be another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE remains the No. 1 pipe material used 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 exchange an estimated 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand galvanized steel lines, which corrode and then leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The existing pipes were damaged when lead leached in the system once the method to obtain h2o was switched from Lake Huron for 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 seen as the highest risk for lead exposure arrived in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The city was expecting the cost to get about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded for the reason that round and after follow-up meetings the area offers to go ahead with just work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in a minimum of 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 only is copper pipe for service lines 4x the expense of polyethylene pipe, nevertheless, you have very extreme tips to get that copper pipe in the earth and that’s cut and bury, which entails digging up yards and streets.”
A minimum of one 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 twenty five years to correct existing water to drink systems which are reaching the ends in their useful lives and to serve growing populations, according to the American Water Works Association.
The precise makeup in the buried water pipes isn’t known. Going back to the 1870s, the rollout of varied 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 marketplace is forecast to enhance in a 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 experienced a sales importance 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 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 may be the No. 1 pipe materials 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 market 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 % because HDPE pipe will be the only material that may be 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 cause the ground to advance, making PE pipe a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you reside in the nation, you’re likely to have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the biggest reason for this is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But for those who have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves using the ground. There are no problems.”
Florida is another big marketplace for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a substitute material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can feel just like a slog. You will find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to buy in the alteration to PE.
“We are constantly going across the country referring to PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing but the change process is slow.”