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 utilization of the material for h2o systems remains trickling slowly toward acceptance in a few places.
In Michigan, La-based JM Eagle’s offer to switch 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 forms 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., that is operating out of Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went across the allotted hour without any objections.
“The information was taken well; that they had plenty of great questions. It was an incredibly 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 North America, based on Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year as a result of 40 % drop sought after from the oil and gas gathering industry, in line with 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 out of their systems making 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 some others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work for Flint until June 30 – the city intends to work with a staff engineer now – but the firm is going to be solicited for future work, the town said inside a statement.
The presentation centered on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main experience with HDPE currently is using it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got a great deal of wide eyes as he discussed the installation approach to pipe bursting. Few of the attendees had heard about the technology before.
A trenchless means for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was initially used in the 1970s in the uk. The process involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits through the house and street, in which 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 end in 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 your cavity for the new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace 3 to 4 service lines each 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 must dig up people’s lawns or obtain people’s driveways. You save on needing to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the community. In civil engineering, there’s a new aspect that’s rarely accounted for and that’s social interference. We always speak about 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., which is 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 per year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone in comparison with ductile iron and then used pipe bursting to set up it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues concerning the social and environmental benefits of PE pipe.
“One from the greatest benefits of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s simple to install, it’s less disruptive … plus it saves trees,” Zilincik said in a May 2016 testimonial to the Alliance for PE Pipe, which can be located in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes using HDPE pipe for municipal water systems within the Usa 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 may 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 from polyethylene pipe. In the event you take a look at each of the food packaging, whether it be milk, soda, water bottles or food, the truly amazing majority of that may be PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % of the municipal water market, based on estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised cellular phone techniques 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 – in terms of trenchless installation,” he said inside a telephone interview. “What it may do regarding cost savings is a major deal.”
Along with pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe could be used to replace existing pipes having a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the previous pipe; you employ it a host pipe,” Radoszewski said.
Then, there’s HDD for installing new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit at an angle and leveled out for any distance. It comes down back through an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the one largest niche for HDD by using a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are increasing, increasing from 19.5 percent of HDD applications in 2015 into a projected 19.9 percent this year, in accordance 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 exchange approximately 5,000 LSLs and 10,000 galvanized steel lines, which corrode by leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached to the system following the supply of drinking water was switched from Lake Huron on the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to repair Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe vary from 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 came in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The metropolis was expecting the cost being about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in this round and after follow-up meetings the metropolis offers to proceed with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived at the very least one half higher at $6,000 a residence,” Langston said. “Copper may be the only material they’re allowing to spec now for service lines and ductile iron for distribution lines. Not simply is copper pipe for service lines 4 times the expense of polyethylene pipe, nevertheless, 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.”
One or more Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it would cost $1 trillion within the next twenty-five years to correct existing water systems that happen to be reaching the ends of their useful lives and to serve growing populations, based on the American Water Works Association.
The precise makeup from the buried water pipes isn’t known. Returning 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 market is forecast to increase at the compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, based on a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a market research firm located in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in The United States possessed 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 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. Companies rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE is 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 % of dexqpkyy02 municipal marketplace for both water and sewer applications. PVC has a lot of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you go to states like California we’re one half because HDPE pipe may be 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 could 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 advance, making PE pipe a great choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your geographical area in the country, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you gaze at pipe failures, the key reason for this is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But when you have a fused, welded system, for example polyethylene, the pipe just moves together with the ground. You will find no problems.”
Florida is another big marketplace for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem just like a slog. You will find mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to buy in to the alteration to PE.
“We are constantly going throughout the country talking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is incredibly amazing nevertheless the change process is slow.”