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 safeguard fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but using the material for water to drink systems continues to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in some places.
In Michigan, L . A .-based JM Eagle’s offer to replace all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic amounts of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not just 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., that is based in Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went over the allotted hour with no objections.
“The information was taken well; they had a lot of great questions. It had been an extremely 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, according to Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down during the last year because of forty percent drop needed from your 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 United states cities look to find the lead out of their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next twenty five years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting in the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a few others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work for Flint until June 30 – the city plans to work with a staff engineer now – but the firm will probably be solicited for future work, the metropolis said in a statement.
The presentation focused on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE currently is employing it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes as he mentioned cellular phone way of pipe bursting. Some of the attendees had heard about the technology before.
A trenchless technique for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was found in the 1970s in england. The procedure involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits from the house and street, in which the service line meets the distribution line or water main. A cone-shaped drilling head having a slightly larger diameter compared to old pipe is inserted into an opening. The leading end in the bursting head is attached to a pulling cable and the back end is linked to HDPE pipe fittings. Because the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the present pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter of your cavity for your new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace 3 to 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 need to dig up people’s lawns or take out people’s driveways. You spend less on the need to replace those activities and you’re not disturbing the city. 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 the calls and complaints to city offices about construction, noise, debris and dug-up yards. Many 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 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 and 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 benefits of PE pipe.
“One from the greatest benefits of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s an easy task to install, it’s less disruptive … and it saves trees,” Zilincik said inside a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, which is operating out of Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the use of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems inside 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 free 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 with a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out from polyethylene pipe. Should you have a look at all the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the excellent majority of which is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % in the municipal water market, according to estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation procedures for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a great story for our plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – in terms of trenchless installation,” he was quoted saying in a telephone interview. “What it may do in terms of financial savings is a big 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 that old pipe; you employ it as being 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 with an angle and leveled out for the distance. It comes down back with an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the only largest niche for HDD by 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 is another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE has become the No. 1 pipe material used for HDD having 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 replace approximately 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand galvanized steel lines, which corrode and leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. The existing pipes were damaged when lead leached in the system following the source of drinking water was switched from Lake Huron to the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to correct Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe range from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million plus more by others. Bids to switch LSLs at 500 homes that are considered the highest risk for lead exposure arrived “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The city was expecting the fee being about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded in that round and after follow-up meetings the metropolis intends to go ahead with just work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in no less than 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 only is copper pipe for service lines 4x the expense of polyethylene pipe, nevertheless, you have very extreme ways 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 is going to cost $1 trillion over the next 25 years to correct existing drinking water systems which can be reaching the ends in their useful lives and to serve growing populations, according to the American Water Works Association.
The specific 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 within the 1950s-60s ductile iron, PVC and PE.
Globally, the plastic pipe industry is forecast to increase with 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 situated in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in Canada And America experienced a sales worth of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, as outlined by Acute Market Reports. Along with drinking 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 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 is actually still making inroads in the United States. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent of dexqpkyy02 municipal industry for both water and sewer applications. PVC has many of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 percent nationwide but when you go to states like California we’re one half because HDPE pipe will be the only material which is earthquake and ground-movement resistant,” Langston said. “A study by Cornell University performed on 16-inch pipe showed you may 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 make the ground to move, making PE pipe a great choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in the country, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you peer at pipe failures, the biggest reason for the is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But for those who have a fused, welded system, like polyethylene, the pipe just moves with all the ground. There are actually no problems.”
Florida is yet another big market for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem such as a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to acquire in to the change 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.”