The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in The United States.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to guard fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but utilisation of the material for water systems is still trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few places.
In Michigan, L . A .-based JM Eagle’s offer to change all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic amounts of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not only 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 is located in Fort Worth, Texas, said in a telephone interview that his presentation went across the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; they had lots of great questions. It was actually an incredibly 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 first- and 11th-ranked manufacturers of plastic pipe, profiles and tubing in America, based on Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down over the last year because of forty percent drop sought after from the oil and gas gathering industry, in accordance with the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association operating out of Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as Usa cities look to find the lead out of their systems to make some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next twenty-five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting at the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a few others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work with Flint until June 30 – the town intends to work with a staff engineer now – nevertheless the firm is going to be solicited for future work, the town said inside a statement.
The presentation focused entirely on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main exposure to HDPE up to now is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a great deal of wide eyes when he mentioned the installation way of pipe bursting. Some of the attendees had read about the technology before.
A trenchless way of replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was found in the 1970s in britain. The procedure involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through the house and street, where service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head by using a slightly larger diameter compared to old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front side end of your bursting head is attached to a pulling cable along with the back end is connected to HDPE pipe fittings. Because the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the current pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity to the new pipe.
That old pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace 3 or 4 service lines every day at 75 percent of the expense 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 take out people’s driveways. You save on needing to replace those activities and you’re not disturbing the city. In civil engineering, there’s a new aspect that’s rarely made up and that’s social interference. We always discuss 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. A lot of 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 a year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison to ductile iron after which used pipe bursting to setup it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues regarding the social and environmental great things about PE pipe.
“One of the greatest great things about high density polyethylene pipe is it’s simple to install, it’s less disruptive … and it saves trees,” Zilincik said in the May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, that is situated in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the application 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 results in a single pipeline clear 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 using a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out of polyethylene pipe. Should you examine all of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the truly amazing largest part of that is certainly PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % from the municipal water market, in accordance with estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation techniques for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention with the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a great story for our own plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – regarding trenchless installation,” he explained in the telephone interview. “What it might do with regards to cost savings is a huge deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe can be used to replace existing pipes using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the existing 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 at an angle and leveled out for any distance. It will come backup with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the only largest marketplace for HDD having a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are rising, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to your projected 19.9 percent this current year, in line with 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 materials for HDD by using 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 looks to replace an estimated 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode by leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The existing pipes were damaged when lead leached in the system following the source of water to drink 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 range between 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 started in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The town was expecting the charge being about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded because round and after follow-up meetings the town wants to proceed with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived in at least 50 percent higher at $6,000 a home,” 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 4 times the price of polyethylene pipe, but you have very extreme methods for getting that copper pipe in the earth and that’s cut and bury, which entails digging up yards and streets.”
At least one Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it is going to cost $1 trillion within the next twenty five years to fix existing water systems that happen to be reaching the ends of their useful lives as well as to serve growing populations, based on the American Water Works Association.
The actual makeup in the buried water pipes isn’t known. Returning to the 1870s, the rollout of numerous pipe materials has evolved 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 industry is forecast to enhance at the 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 North America enjoyed a sales value of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, in accordance with Acute Market Reports. Together with 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. Companies 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 can be still making inroads in the states. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 % of dexqpkyy02 municipal marketplace for both water and sewer applications. PVC has the majority of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you go to 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 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 make the ground to move, making PE pipe a great choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your location in america, you’re likely to have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the biggest reason for your is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But when you have a fused, welded system, for example polyethylene, the pipe just moves with the ground. There are no problems.”
Florida is an additional big market for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a substitute material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can appear just like a slog. You can find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require to purchase in to the alteration to PE.
“We are constantly going across the country talking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is incredibly amazing although the change process is slow.”