How Is HDPE Pipe Used for Water Transfer?

HDPE pipe is a type of plastic pipe that’s used to transfer fluids and to replace ageing concrete or steel mains pipelines. HDPE pipe (which stands for high-density polyethylene pipe) is flexible, highly impermeable, and suitable for high pressure pipelines. Most commonly, HDPE pipe can be seen in use for water mains, sewer mains, slurry transfer lines, rural irrigation, fire system supply lines and drainage pipes.

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The Cost of Water Leaks

In the U.S., nearly 40 billion gallons of water are transported daily for domestic and public use, while another 300 billion gallons are used for agricultural and commercial purposes. During the movement and distribution of this water through pipes, an estimated 20 to 30 percent is lost through leaks, burst pipes, and other system failures, though that number can be as high as 50 percent for older networks.

In addition to the loss of water and its associated costs, leaks can lead to public health issues (or even crisis) when contaminants enter the pipe—and our water—through pipe cracks. Leaks due to corrosion are the biggest offenders since they are hard to spot and usually start small. These leaks then grow and worsen over time until they become significant, but unfortunately, implementing an early detection system is not always feasible; it can cost up to $800 per mile of main line to detect a leak, making detection both expensive and time consuming.

Once a leak is uncovered, fixing or replacing the system is an expensive and disruptive process. The problem of aging water systems is large and complex, leaving many utilities companies in need of an alternative water rehabilitation strategy that’s minimally invasive and relatively cost-effective, while also protecting against future leaks. HDPE pipe is a great solution.

HDPE Pipe Water Transfer Applications

HDPE pipe has a wide range of water transfer applications. It can be seen in use for water mains, sewer mains, slurry transfer lines, rural irrigation, fire system supply lines and drainage pipes. It has applications in the drinking water supply system, which includes water treatment facilities; treated-water storage and distribution systems; and rehabilitation of untreated water. HDPE pipe can be used for wastewater management systems, which includes wastewater infrastructure for collection, pumping, and discharge; wastewater treatment plants; wastewater reclamation and reuse facilities; and sludge management. HDPE pipe also has runoff control system applications, which include runoff collection, conveyance, and treatment facilities.

HDPE pipe has many advantages that make in an excellent choice for water transfer. It’s low in weight, making it easy to maneuver and transport. It is durable with a lifespan of 50 to 100 years, ensuring a good service life and a higher return on investment. It is resistant to chemicals, rust, decay, abrasion, impact and biological growth, meaning the pipe saves money in the long term on repairs and replacement. It is flexible, ductile, and has excellent resistance to fatigue. HDPE pipe also has leak-free joints, which are connected by butt welding, electrofusion welding, socket welding, or fusion. These welds create a homogenous joint that is at least as strong as (if not stronger than) the existing pipe, with no need to use rubber seals or jointing chemicals (such as is needed with PVC pipe). As a result, HDPE pipe is more environmentally friendly.

Lately, HDPE pipe has been gaining attention for its “trenchless technology.” Trenchless technology uses non-intrusive construction methods, materials and equipment for the installation and replacement of underground pipes. It is quicker and less socially disruptive than open-trench construction, and it takes advantage of recent advances in the development of long-lasting HDPE pipe.

For all of these reasons, HDPE pipe is an excellent choice for a wide range of water transfer applications.

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