HDPE Piping Benefits Water and Sewer Markets

By Tom Titus

HDPE piping is a flexible and versatile product well suited for the municipal market. According to PE Alliance, HDPE has only a 3% to 5% market share in the municipal water supply and sewer markets, but utilization of HDPE in the sector is growing rapidly.

A recent Trenchless Technology article forecasts that over $234 billion of CAPEX will be spent over the next decade to address aging municipal water and wastewater pipe network infrastructure. According to the article, municipalities considering piping upgrades seek lower cost and longer-lasting piping alternatives compared to previously installed ductile iron, steel and copper piping. Newer piping alternatives for water and sewer markets include pre-stressed concrete, PVC, HDPE and PE piping.

Pipe rehabilitation is singled out as the fastest growing spend category, increasing annually from $253 million in 2019 to $576 million by 2028. In addition to cost and longevity, decision-making factors for new municipality water and sewer projects and rehabilitation include location, project sizing requirements, geology, and proximity to existing water and sewer infrastructure.

HDPE outperforms other piping alternatives

HDPE pipe for water supply and sewer applications is expected to have a service life of between 50 and 100 years. Fully recyclable and lighter in weight, HDPE is much stronger than conventional pipe. HDPE heat-fused joints are as strong as metal pipe, or stronger, and do not leak.

HDPE pipe offers unmatched corrosion and chemical resistance as it will not corrode (rust), tuberculate or support biological growth. HDPE pipe is substantially more flexible compared to conventional stick pipe alternatives and is available in long reel lengths reducing the number of joints and associated installation time, all the while saving money. Since HDPE may be supplied in long coils and is lighter in weight compared to conventional piping, transportation and shipping costs are typically lower.

Once installed, HPDE outperforms piping alternatives in locations where soil shifting (compaction/expansion) is known to create openings in joints because HDPE is flexible and requires fewer installation joints.

Pipe bursting is a common installation method

Pipe bursting is a trenchless method to replace buried sewer, water and natural gas piping without the need for a traditional construction trench and associated equipment. In this process, HDPE pipe is pulled through the existing vitrified clay pipe, cast iron, concrete, asbestos or plastic pipe, essentially ‘bursting’ the older pipe with new high density polyethylene. This less invasive method leaves the remnants of the old pipe in place; no digging, haul-off or disposal is needed. This technique is less intrusive than excavating and reduces road closures and traffic disruption related to construction zones.

Pipe bursting can also be used to expand pipeline capacity by replacing smaller diameter pipes with larger ones. Gas, water and sewer providers have done extensive work demonstrating the feasibility of upsizing gas mains, water lines and sewers. Upsizing from 100- to 225-mm diameter is now well established, and pipes of up to 36-in. diameter and greater have been replaced. According to the Plastics Pipe Institute, bursting of even larger diameter pipe and overall bursting distance is increasing.

Crystal Line from United Poly Systems

United Poly Systems recently launched the new Crystal Line™ family of HDPE pipe. Available in Copper Tube Sizes (CTS) from ¾ inch to 2 inch and Iron Pipe Size (IPS) from ¾ inch to 6 inch, Crystal Line is ideal for potable water, reclaimed water and sewer applications.

Crystal Line pipe is manufactured at locations in Springfield, MO and Albuquerque, NM. Equipment modifications and upgrades were recently completed at each location including new extruders to produce high-quality HDPE pipe at the tighter tolerances and smaller sizes necessary for CTS dimensions.

Along with solid black, Crystal Line is available in three application-specific colored variations:

  • Potable water – solid blue
  • Sewer water – solid green
  • Reclaimed water – solid lavender

The print line can be customized for additional information such as project name, distributor, end customer, or municipality.

Each Crystal Line variant is manufactured to meet or exceed American Water Works Association (AWWA) C901 standard for water pressure lines ¾ inch through 3 inch, and C906 standard for water pressure lines 4 inch and larger. Crystal Line also meets or exceeds American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F714 standard for outside diameter in water, sewer and industrial applications and ASTM D2737 standard for polyethylene (PE) plastic tubing for water.

Using HDPE 4710 as the base material, pipe from the Crystal Line family meets or exceeds ASTM D3350 standard for cell classification of materials and conforms to pressure standards as specified by ASTM D3035.

About United Poly Systems

United Poly Systems produces quality HDPE pipe in diameters from ¾-in. to 26-in. IPS, 4-in. to 24-in. DIPS and ¾-in. to 2-in. CTS for use in many industries including telecommunications, power utility, water, electrical and oil and gas. The market for HDPE pipe continues to expand as initiatives to improve, repair and expand the country’s infrastructure are implemented. 

Our off-the-shelf HDPE conduit/pipe is available in a variety of sizes, colors, dimensions and lengths, with or without stripes. We also offer fully customizable HDPE conduit options. In addition, piping can be customized with a ribbed interior (to maximize the distance cable may be pulled or jetted), pull tape, or a lubricated interior (for easier installation).  

Success at UPS can be attributed to our vast experience, extensive client relationships, state-of-the-art manufacturing and quality processes.  Our agile business model that allows UPS to quickly meet customers’ needs without the overhead expenses that are incurred by many of the larger producers in the industry. 

Conveniently located in Springfield, Missouri and Albuquerque, New Mexico, United Poly Systems can provide quick delivery to a majority of the U.S. market.  

Tags: Water, Pressure