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 safeguard fiber optic cables and deliver natural gas, but using the material for h2o systems remains to be trickling slowly toward acceptance in certain places.
In Michigan, Los Angeles-based JM Eagle’s offer to replace all lead service lines (LSLs) in Flint, where toxic degrees of lead leached from damaged pipes, with free PE pipe prompted not just 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 based in Fort Worth, Texas, said in a telephone interview that his presentation went within the allotted hour without having objections.
“The information was taken well; they had a lot of great questions. It was an extremely productive meeting,” he said.
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, as outlined by Plastics News’ latest ranking. Their overall PE pipe sales are down in the last year due to a forty percent drop popular 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 U.S. cities look to find the lead from their systems and then make some $1 trillion of upgrades within the next 25 years.
Langston said about 15 people attended the meeting with the Flint office of Rowe Professional Services and a number of others Skyped in. Rowe handled engineering work with Flint until June 30 – the metropolis offers to engage a staff engineer now – nevertheless the firm will be solicited for future work, the town said within a statement.
The presentation centered on high density PE pipe and installation methods. Rowe’s engineers’ main knowledge of HDPE so far is using it for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under rivers, Langston said, adding he got plenty of wide eyes when he discussed cellular phone method of pipe bursting. Couple of the attendees had heard of the technology before.
A trenchless means for replacing buried pipelines, pipe bursting was initially found in the 1970s in the uk. The procedure involves digging roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot entry and exit pits from 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 than the old pipe is inserted into an opening. The leading end of the bursting head is mounted on a pulling cable as well as the back end is linked to HDPE pipe fittings. Since the bursting head is pulled through, it breaks the existing pipe into pieces and simultaneously expands the diameter from the cavity to the new pipe.
The existing pipe pieces just stay in the ground. Experienced crews can replace three to four service lines every 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 have to dig up people’s lawns or sign up for people’s driveways. You save money on having to replace those activities and you’re not disturbing the neighborhood. In civil engineering, there’s a fresh aspect that’s rarely made up and that’s social interference. We always focus on 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. 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 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 per year.
Livonia reportedly saved $200,000 on Charter’s pipe material alone when compared with ductile iron and after that used pipe bursting to put in it. Todd Zilinick, Livonia’s chief engineer, still tells his colleagues in regards to the social and environmental great things about PE pipe.
“One from the greatest benefits associated with high density polyethylene pipe is it’s an easy task 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 happens to be situated in Tulsa, Okla., and promotes the usage of HDPE pipe for municipal water systems from the U.S. 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 that could 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 of polyethylene pipe. In the event you examine all the food packaging, whether it is milk, soda, water bottles or food, the fantastic most of which is PE.”
Plastics Pipe Institute PE pipe has about 10 % of your municipal water market, as outlined by estimates.
PPI President Tony Radoszewski isn’t surprised the installation methods for HDPE pipe got plenty of attention at the lunch-and-learn.
“There’s a great story for our own plastic pipe – polyolefin type pipes like polyethylene – regarding trenchless installation,” he was quoted saying within a telephone interview. “What it can do when it comes to cost benefits is an important deal.”
As well as pipe bursting, smaller-diameter HDPE pipe could be used to replace existing pipes by using a technique called slip lining.
“You don’t burst the existing pipe; you utilize it as a a host pipe,” Radoszewski said.
Then, there’s HDD for installing new lines of pipe. A drilling head is sent down an entry pit in an angle and leveled out for the distance. It comes backup through an exit pit pulling new pipe behind it.
While telecom uses remain the only largest niche for HDD having a 24.1 percent market share, water uses are rising, 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 is still the No. 1 pipe materials for HDD with a whopping 49.9 percent market share in comparison 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 replace an estimated 5,000 LSLs and ten thousand galvanized steel lines, which corrode and then leave nooks where lead can settle, with copper. Existing pipes were damaged when lead leached to the system once the way to obtain h2o was switched from Lake Huron towards the caustic Flint River without incorporating any anti-corrosive agents.
Estimates to repair Flint’s water system using traditional copper pipe range from the city’s estimate of $55 million to $80 million and much more by others. Bids to replace 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 cost being about $4,000 per house. No bids were awarded because round and after follow-up meetings the town wants to proceed with work at 250 houses by two contractors.
“I believe the bids started in a minimum of 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 just is copper pipe for service lines four times the cost of polyethylene pipe, but 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.”
A minimum of one Michigan lawmaker has publicly questioned why Flint doesn’t accept the “generous offer” from JM Eagle.
Nationwide, it can cost $1 trillion within the next 25 years to mend existing h2o systems which can be reaching the ends of their useful lives and to serve growing populations, in line with the American Water Works Association.
The actual makeup of your 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 inside 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, according to a March 2016 market report by Lucintel, a researching the market firm situated in Dallas.
The HDPE pipe market in America 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. Together with 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 businesses rank seventh, eighth and 43rd, respectively, in Plastics News’ latest ranking.
While PE is definitely the No. 1 pipe materials used in water systems in Europe, it is still making inroads in the states. Langston estimates that PE pipe has 10 percent 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 visit 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 along with 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 go, making PE pipe a great choice, Langston said.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in the united states, you’re planning to have ground movement,” he added. “When you appear at pipe failures, the key reason for your is bell-and-spigot separation. The pipe pulls apart. But when you have a fused, welded system, including polyethylene, the pipe just moves using the ground. You will find no problems.”
Florida can be another big market for PEX-AL-PEX pipe as an alternative 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 that need to buy to the switch to PE.
“We are constantly going throughout the country speaking about PE pipe,” Langston said. “The interest is exceedingly amazing nevertheless the change process is slow.”