The qualities of polyethylene pipe are piquing the interest more civil engineers of potable water systems in America.
The telecommunications and utility industries have long used PEX-AL-PEX pipe to protect fiber optic cables and deliver gas, but utilization of the material for h2o systems remains trickling slowly toward acceptance in many places.
In Michigan, L . A .-based JM Eagle’s offer to change all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic levels of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not simply 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., which can be situated in Fort Worth, Texas, said inside a telephone interview that his presentation went over the allotted hour without having objections.
“The information was taken well; they had plenty of great questions. It 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 initial- and 11th-ranked manufacturers of plastic pipe, profiles and tubing in The United States, according to Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down over the last year because of 40 percent drop in demand through the oil and gas gathering industry, in line with 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 make some $1 trillion of upgrades over the next twenty five 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 work with Flint until June 30 – the metropolis offers to hire a staff engineer now – however the firm is going to be solicited for future work, the city said in 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 described cellular phone method of pipe bursting. Some of the attendees had heard of the technology before.
A trenchless method for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was basically employed in the 1970s in england. This process 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 using a slightly larger diameter compared to the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The leading end from the bursting head is mounted on a pulling cable as well as the back end is connected to HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the present pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter from the cavity for the new pipe.
The previous pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace three to four service lines each day at 75 percent of the fee for cut-and-bury installation methods, Langston said.
“You take 25 % off of the price,” he added. “You don’t ought to dig up people’s lawns or obtain people’s driveways. You spend less on the need to replace those ideas and you’re not disturbing the community. In civil engineering, there’s a new aspect that’s rarely made up and that’s social interference. We always talk 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. 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 with ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues regarding the social and environmental great things about PE pipe.
“One in the greatest advantages of high density polyethylene pipe is it’s simple to install, it’s less disruptive … and it saves trees,” Zilincik said within a May 2016 testimonial for the Alliance for PE Pipe, which can be situated in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes using HDPE pipe for municipal water systems within the U.S. 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 could be miles long.
“It’s completely welded together,” Langston said. “It won’t leak, corrode or rust and it’s durable having a 100-year service life. It’s also completely inert. Nothing leaches out of polyethylene pipe. When you examine all the food packaging, be it milk, soda, water bottles or food, the truly amazing most of that is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 percent of your municipal water market, based on estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation techniques for HDPE pipe got a great deal of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a great story for your plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – when it comes to trenchless installation,” he explained within a telephone interview. “What it might do when it comes to cost savings is a major deal.”
In addition to pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe may be used to replace existing pipes by using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the old pipe; you make use of it 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 comes back up via an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the one 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 a projected 19.9 percent this coming year, in line with the 18th annual Underground Construction HDD Survey released in June. Gas distribution is yet another strong HDD market with 18 percent share.
HDPE remains 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 is looking to switch 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 in the system after the supply of water was switched from Lake Huron to the caustic Flint River without incorporating any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to mend Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe range between the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million plus more by others. Bids to change 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 fee to be about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded for the reason that round and after follow-up meetings the area intends to proceed with just work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in at least fifty percent higher at $6,000 a residence,” Langston said. “Copper is 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 fee for polyethylene pipe, but you have very extreme techniques 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 across the next 25 years to correct existing water systems that happen to be reaching the ends of their useful lives as well as serve growing populations, according to the American Water Works Association.
The specific makeup in the buried water pipes isn’t known. Returning to the 1870s, the rollout of numerous 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 increase in a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 percent to 2020, according to a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a consumer research firm located in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in Canada And America enjoyed a sales price of about $5.54 billion in 2015 with JM Eagle holding about 18.48 percent of sales, in accordance with Acute Market Reports. In addition to 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 materials in water systems in Europe, it can be still making inroads in the United States. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 % of dexqpky02 municipal niche for both water and sewer applications. PVC has many of the plastic pipe market share.
“We’re 10 % nationwide but when you visit states like California we’re 50 percent because HDPE pipe is definitely 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 along with the pipelines won’t yield. It stays intact.”
Freeze-thaw cycles in northern states like Michigan and drought conditions in Texas also increase the risk for ground to maneuver, making PE pipe an excellent choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter your geographical area in america, 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, including polyethylene, the pipe just moves together with the ground. There are actually no problems.”
Florida is another big niche for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as a replacement material for corroded metal pipes, Langston said.
Elsewhere, material acceptance can feel such as a slog. There are mayors, council members, administrators, engineering firms and public works employees which need to get in the alteration to PE.
“We are constantly going across the country speaking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing nevertheless the change process is slow.”