The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest of more civil engineers of potable water systems in Canada And America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to protect fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but utilization of 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 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 types 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 situated in Fort Worth, Texas, said in the telephone interview that his presentation went across the allotted hour without having objections.
“The information was taken well; they had plenty of great questions. It absolutely was 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 Canada And America, in accordance with Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down in the last year as a result of 40 % drop needed through the 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 have the lead out of their systems and make some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next 25 years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting with the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a few others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering help Flint until June 30 – the area wants to hire a staff engineer now – nevertheless the firm will likely be solicited for future work, the city said inside a statement.
The presentation focused entirely on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main exposure to HDPE to date is applying it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes when he talked about the installation way of pipe bursting. Several attendees had heard of the technology before.
A trenchless method for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was found 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 having a slightly larger diameter compared to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The front end of the bursting head is mounted on a pulling cable along with the back end is associated with HDPE pipe fittings. Because the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter from the cavity for the new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the earth. Experienced crews can replace three to four service lines a day at 75 percent of the fee for cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % from the price,” he added. “You don’t ought to dig up people’s lawns or sign up for people’s driveways. You save money on having to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the community. In civil engineering, there’s a brand new aspect that’s rarely taken into account and that’s social interference. We always focus on cost but what isn’t measurable cost wise will be 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 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 each year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone when compared with ductile iron after which used pipe bursting to setup it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues about the social and environmental features of PE pipe.
“One of your greatest benefits associated with 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 for the Alliance for PE Pipe, which is situated in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the use of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems from the United states and Canada as “the responsible infrastructure choice.”
HDPE pipe is joined by heat fusing above grade, which essentially generates a single pipeline clear of leaks which can be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable by using a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out from polyethylene pipe. In the event you look at all of the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the great majority of which 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 the installation approaches for HDPE pipe got a lot of attention on the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s an excellent story for our plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – in terms of trenchless installation,” he said inside a telephone interview. “What it might do when it comes to financial savings is a major deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe can be used to replace existing pipes by using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the existing pipe; you employ it as being 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 with an angle and leveled out to get a distance. It will come backup via an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the only largest marketplace 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 some projected 19.9 percent this current year, according to 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 for HDD having 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 change an estimated 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand galvanized steel lines, which corrode by leaving nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached into the system following the source of drinking water was switched from Lake Huron on the caustic Flint River without the addition of any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to fix Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe vary 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 in “extremely high,” Mayor Karen Weaver said. The town was expecting the fee to get about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded for the reason that round and after follow-up meetings the town plans to just do it with work on 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids arrived no less than 50 % higher at $6,000 a home,” Langston said. “Copper may be the only material they’re allowing to spec now for service lines and ductile iron for distribution lines. Not just is copper pipe for service lines 4x the price of polyethylene pipe, nevertheless, you have very extreme techniques for getting that copper pipe in the ground 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 over the next 25 years to mend existing drinking water systems that happen to be reaching the ends of their useful lives and to serve growing populations, in line 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 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 industry is forecast to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, based on a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a market research firm operating out of Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in Canada And America experienced a sales importance of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, as outlined by Acute Market Reports. In addition to 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. Companies rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE will be the No. 1 pipe materials used in water systems in Europe, it is still making inroads in the usa. 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 fifty percent because HDPE pipe may be the only material that 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 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 result in the ground to move, 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 primary reason for this 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 using the ground. You will find no problems.”
Florida is another big marketplace for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as an alternative material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can seem like a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees that require to acquire to the alteration to PE.
“We are constantly going nationwide referring to PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is incredibly amazing although the change process is slow.”