The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in North America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to guard fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but using the material for drinking water systems remains trickling slowly toward acceptance in many places.
In Michigan, La-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 only 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 is situated in Fort Worth, Texas, said within a telephone interview that his presentation went within the allotted hour without objections.
“The information was taken well; they had lots of great questions. It was actually a really productive meeting,” he explained.
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 North America, as outlined by Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down over the last year because of forty percent drop needed in the oil and gas gathering industry, according to the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a trade association operating out of Dallas. However, potable applications show big promise as United states cities look to obtain the lead from their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next twenty-five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting on the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a few others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work for Flint until June 30 – the metropolis intends to hire a staff engineer now – but the firm will be solicited for future work, the metropolis said in the statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main experience with HDPE currently is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got lots of wide eyes as he mentioned the installation approach to pipe bursting. Some of the attendees had heard of the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was first used in the 1970s in the uk. The method involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through the house and street, 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 associated with HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity to the new pipe.
The previous pipe pieces just stay in the earth. 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 off of 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 activities and you’re not disturbing the city. In civil engineering, there’s a new aspect that’s rarely included and that’s social interference. We always talk about 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. Several things are suddenly avoided using trenchless technologies.”
Livonia, Mich., used HDPE pipe from Charter Plastics Inc., 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 a year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison to ductile iron then used pipe bursting to install it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues in regards to the social and environmental features of PE pipe.
“One of your 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 inside a May 2016 testimonial for your Alliance for PE Pipe, which can be based in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the use of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems in the United states and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially results in a single pipeline free from leaks that may 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 from polyethylene pipe. If you take a look at every one of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent most of that is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent of your municipal water market, according to estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone methods for HDPE pipe got lots of attention with the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an incredible story for our plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – when it comes to trenchless installation,” he explained in a telephone interview. “What it could do regarding saving money is a major 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 previous pipe; you utilize 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 the distance. It will come back up with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the single largest industry for HDD using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are increasing, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 to some projected 19.9 percent this current year, in accordance with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution can be another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE continues to be the No. 1 pipe materials used 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 change approximately 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode and leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The current pipes were damaged when lead leached in the system after the supply of drinking water was switched from Lake Huron for the caustic Flint River without adding any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to repair Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe cover anything from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million plus more by others. Bids to replace LSLs at 500 homes that are seen as the highest risk for lead exposure arrived “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The metropolis was expecting the charge to become about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in this round and after follow-up meetings the metropolis offers to go ahead with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in a minimum of 50 % higher at $6,000 a property,” Langston said. “Copper may be 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 price of polyethylene pipe, however, 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.”
At least one 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 twenty five years to correct existing h2o systems which can be reaching the ends with their useful lives and also to serve growing populations, in accordance with the American Water Works Association.
The exact makeup from the buried water pipes isn’t known. Going back to the 1870s, the rollout of various 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 at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, in accordance with a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a consumer research firm located in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in North America possessed a sales value of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, based on Acute Market Reports. As well as 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. The firms 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 can be still making inroads in america. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent 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 visit states like California we’re fifty percent because HDPE pipe is 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 might have 4 feet of lateral shift as well as 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 your location in the united states, you’re gonna have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the primary reason for that is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But for those who have a fused, welded system, including polyethylene, the pipe just moves with the ground. You can find no problems.”
Florida can be another big industry for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as an alternative material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can appear just like a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require to get into the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going throughout the country discussing PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing nevertheless the change process is slow.”