The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of 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 gas, but utilization of the material for water systems is still trickling slowly toward acceptance in some places.
In Michigan, Los Angeles-based JM Eagle’s offer to replace all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic degrees 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 can be situated in Fort Worth, Texas, said within a telephone interview that his presentation went within the allotted hour without having objections.
“The information was taken well; they had plenty of great questions. It was a really 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 initial- 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 over the last year due to a 40 % drop needed through the oil and gas gathering industry, according to the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association situated in Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as Usa cities look to have the lead out of their systems making some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next twenty five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting on the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a number of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering help Flint until June 30 – the metropolis wants to employ a staff engineer now – however the firm will be solicited for future work, the city said inside a statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE up to now is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes when he discussed cellular phone method of pipe bursting. Several attendees had heard about the technology before.
A trenchless means for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was initially utilized in the 1970s in britain. The process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits by 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 compared to old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end from the bursting head is connected to a pulling cable as well as the back end is associated with HDPE pipe fittings. As being the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of the cavity to the new pipe.
That old pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace three to four service lines each day at 75 percent of the fee for cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % off of the price,” he added. “You don’t ought to dig up people’s lawns or take out people’s driveways. You save on having to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the neighborhood. In civil engineering, there’s a fresh aspect that’s rarely taken into account and that’s social interference. We always focus on cost but what isn’t measurable cost wise are definitely the calls and complaints to city offices about construction, noise, debris and dug-up yards. Several things are suddenly avoided using trenchless technologies.”
Livonia, Mich., used HDPE pipe from Charter Plastics Inc., the No. 77 ranked PPT extruder, to change 27,000 feet of cracking, leaking iron pipes from April through October 2008. The Titusville, Pa.-based company has estimated sales of $35 million each year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison to ductile iron after which used pipe bursting to set up 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 an easy task to install, it’s less disruptive … plus it saves trees,” Zilincik said within a May 2016 testimonial to the Alliance for PE Pipe, which happens to be operating out of Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the usage of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems inside the Usa and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially results in a single pipeline without any 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 away from polyethylene pipe. When you have a look at each of the food packaging, whether it is milk, soda, water bottles or food, the truly amazing majority 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 approaches for HDPE pipe got a great deal of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a fantastic story for our plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – regarding trenchless installation,” he stated within a telephone interview. “What it could do with regards to financial savings is a major deal.”
Together with pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe can 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 completely new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit in an angle and leveled out for the distance. It appears back up through 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 going up, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to your projected 19.9 percent this year, according to the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE has become the No. 1 pipe material used for HDD by using 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 switch an estimated 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand 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 after the source of 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 range from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and much 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 city was expecting the price to become about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded because round and after follow-up meetings the city plans to proceed with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived in a minimum of fifty percent higher at $6,000 a house,” Langston said. “Copper is the only material they’re allowing to spec now for service lines and ductile iron for distribution lines. Not merely is copper pipe for service lines 4x the expense of 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.”
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 with their useful lives as well as serve growing populations, based on the American Water Works Association.
The exact 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 from the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe marketplace is forecast to boost with a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, as outlined by a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a researching the market firm based in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in The United States had 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. Together with 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 businesses rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE will be the No. 1 pipe material used in water systems in Europe, it is still making inroads in the usa. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 % of dexqpky02 municipal industry for both water and sewer applications. PVC has most of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you go to states like California we’re 50 percent because HDPE pipe is definitely 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 also 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 a good option, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in the country, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you gaze at pipe failures, the biggest reason for your is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But in case you have a fused, welded system, such as polyethylene, the pipe just moves with all the ground. There are actually no problems.”
Florida is another big industry for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as an alternative material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem to be like a slog. There are actually mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that want to acquire in to the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going nationwide talking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is very amazing however the change process is slow.”