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HDPE Is THE Seismically Resistant Pipe.

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6.0 Hits Napa, California

 As you all know given your work in the pipe world, Napa, California, suffered a “Quaker” on August 24th 2014 and saw some serious  damage. The pipe-related damage was concentrated on the south and southwest sides of town with structural damage occurring  throughout the town and county. Damage estimates were in the several hundred million dollar range with many injuries and a single  death. So the question for those folks in the pipe world is, “Which pipe types suffered damage, and how did HDPE pipe do?”

Quite a few of the readers of this column have attended one of the Total Solutions Roadshows that the Alliance conducts each year.  We talk about the ‘second to none’ seismic performance of HDPE pipe using data from the Water Research Foundation’s (WRF)  comprehensive study of the large earthquakes (Report #4408 2012) from across the globe. A recognized authority on all things pipe and water related, WRF coined the phraseseismically resistant when they reported on the three largest earthquakes to occur in the world since 2010. In the 2012 study, the WRF found that HDPE isseismically resistant and can withstand 8.0 and 9.0 earthquakes. When the Napa quake occurred, an obvious opportunity arose to see how HDPE performed “closer to home.”

This quake was the largest to hit California in the last 25 years. It was not the feared 7.0 variety that would wreak havoc to a much higher level, but it was, nevertheless, significant as many lives and businesses were significantly disrupted. HDPE has become the go-to, seismically resistant pipe in California, and many prominent agencies are converting their systems bit by bit as their capital programs allow. We decided to see how the various pipe systems performed during the quake.

Veteran industry insider Chris Lyne from the Bay Area and I visited the quake-impacted area two weeks after the event. We toured American Canyon, which was south of the epicenter and then the city of Napa. American Canyon had some downtown facade damage, but no real pipe break issues. Napa took the worst of it. All told there were 130 water line breaks in the Napa water system, according to a senior Napa official. The failure modes encountered by the crews in Napa were shattering of cast iron and spiral failures on ductile lines. There were no reported HDPE pipe failures in water or waste water systems.

Thanks to the ingenuity of the public agency mutual aid programs and Napa staff leadership, Napa had plenty of help fixing their traditional bell and spigot pipe systems. The large bay area agency East Bay MUD, which uses HDPE, sent several crews to assist Napa. The Vallejo Sanitation and Flood Control District (Vallejo) located well south of Napa also dispatched crews to help the city with broken iron pipes.

According to Tyler Arbitrage with Vallejo, his city “did not have any breaks, but there was some structural treatment plant damage.” Vallejo has been using HDPE for many years and is a true poly believer. They use HDPE for all their laterals and are converting mains to HDPE a little each year. They have one crew that does their own installations of 4″ laterals via pipe bursting. They are also upsizing their 6″ mains to 8″ with HDPE.

While on the ground, Chris and I met with the Napa Sanitary District at a job site. “Napa San” is replacing their clay pipes with HDPE as a part of their annual capital program. When the earthquake occurred, one of their contractors, Ranger Pipelines, was working on a 350′ slipline job under the well-traveled Silverado Trail. They were sliplining HDPE into a 12″ clay line when the earthquake occurred. According to Josh Degarmo, the Napa San inspector on site, the clay host pipe was displaced by the earthquake after they had run the camera through it. They then had to re-find their route when they started work up again the day after the quake because the quake moved the host pipe laterally.

HDPE is THE seismically resistant pipe. Because it is seismically resistant, it is frost-heave resistant, dry-heave resistant, soil-moisture-change resistant . . . well, you get the idea.

As great as it benefits are, unless you have seen what this new 4710 HDPE resin can do, you won’t be a believer. East Bay Mud is a believer, Palo Alto is a believer, Vallejo Sanitation and Flood District is a believer, Napa San is a believer. Maybe it is time for everyone else to start believing, too?

Newest Advances in HDPE

pepipe-post-img1The HDPE piping world is constantly evolving, and recently two interesting and innovative products came across my desk that I want to share with you. The first is a new ground-breaking electrofusion coupler called the Tega D.O.S.T. Coupler (Deflection/misalignment – Ovality – Self Testing). Simply put, the D.O.S.T. Coupler takes HDPE fittings to a whole other level by providing a unique way of assuring successful fitting installation by: (1) accommodating electrofusion of HDPE pipes which are not perfectly aligned; (2) removing pipe ovality and eliminating gaps by rounding the pipe; (3) maintaining a dry fusion zone even in the presence of small amounts of water; and (4) permitting the installer to pressure test each electrofusion joint independently shortly after fusion (without the need to fully pressurize the entire pipe system). You can find out more about the game-changing D.O.S.T. Coupler by contacting Strongbridge-Tega atinfo@strongbridge.us or 904-607-6384.

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The second is a new product by McElroy – a mammoth high-tech, off-road, remote-controlled, self-propelled fusion machine called the TalonTM2000. The Talon 2000TM can pick up 2-meter HDPE pipe with DR21 wall thickness from the ground, move it into place and fuse miles of pipe. McElroy already has orders for three of them. The still image does not do it justice. Check it out at http://www.mcelroy.com/fusion/talon/

Fairfield, ID

Phone: (800) 780-6330
Fax: (208) 764-2094
EMail: info@hcfusion.com

Salt Lake City, UT

Phone: (801) 355-3877
Fax: (801) 355-3878
EMail: info@hcfusion.com

SouthWest Sales

Jason Blackburn
Phone: (208) 293-9563
Cell: (702) 280-1171
Fax: (801)-433-4879
EMail: jason.blackburn@hcfusion.com

Dickinson, ND

Phone: (701) 483-4232
Fax: (801) 433-4880
EMail: jonathan.tippetts@hcfusion.com

NorthWest Sales

Rick Nabseth
Phone: (425)-577-4633
Fax: (801)-433-4889
EMail: rickn@hcfusion.com

Canada & Fabrication

Mike Lydum
Phone: (208)-358-0190
Fax: (801)-433-4889
EMail: mike.lydum@hcfusion.com

INTERNATIONAL DIVISION

Gene Thomas
International Sales Manager
USA Office: +1-208-475-5758
USA Cell: +1-280-320-2302
Fax: +1-801-433-4833
Boise, ID
Skype: gene@hcfusion.com
EMail: gene@hcfusion.com

HCME UAE

Gene Thomas
International Sales Manager
USA Office: +1-208-475-5758
USA Cell: +1-280-320-2302
Fax: +1-801-433-4833
Boise, ID
Skype: gene@hcfusion.com
EMail: gene@hcfusion.com

Clontarf, QLD

Dermot O’Dwyer 
Phone:  +61 738 831 878
Fax: (208) 562-1894
EMail: dermot.odwyer@hcfusion.com