May 16, 2024

Pipe projects honored for Great Salt Lake restoration, cooling, drainage systems

A pipeline designed to protect the Great Salt Lake in Utah and an underground rainwater harvesting system were among the standout projects undertaken by members of the Plastics Pipe Institute Inc.

A hybrid air-and-water cooling system and brine transfer line also are in the spotlight of the Irving, Texas-based trade group, which recognizes the different ways plastic pipes and conduits contribute to the world and environment at its annual conference.

Plastics extruders nominate projects, and the trade group's members, which also include resin producers, engineering firms and distributors, vote on the winners in five divisions: building and construction, drainage, energy, municipal and industrial, and power and communications.

"We had an all-time high number of exciting projects being submitted," PPI President David Fink said. "This is reflective of the growing use of plastic pipe in so many different areas. During 2022, according to our data, shipments of pipe from our members grew by more than 20 percent, and the use of recycled post-consumer content increased to its highest level ever."

Recycling figures get a big boost from PPI member Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., a manufacturer of high density polyethylene and polypropylene pipe, tanks and chambers used to manage storm and septic wastewater.

It is also one of the largest recyclers in the United States. For processing an estimated 620 million tons of used plastics, which is used for its products, ADS ranks No. 2 among North American plastics recyclers and brokers in Plastics News data.

Projects using ADS pipe have been recognized in the past by PPI, but this year's flurry of nominations brought out some competition.

In the municipal and industrial division, the North Davis Sewer District in Utah won for using 6.25 miles of 63-inch-diameter high density polyethylene 4710 pipe from Pipeline Plastics LLC in Westlake, Texas, to meet the state's new Technology Based Phosphorus Effluent Limits (TBPELs).

The company's products are redirecting badly needed water back into the Great Salt Lake, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, to meet state nutrient level requirements and protect the ecosystem and wildlife.

The treated wastewater had been flowing into the lake's Farmington Bay but was diverted to Gilbert Bay because it is better suited to receive nutrients like phosphorous and it has more brine shrimp to eat any algae that does grow there.

HDPE pipe was chosen for the $50 million project because it resists corrosive soil and could provide leak-free, fused joints.

In the drainage division, an underground rainwater harvest cistern system at The Fred, an apartment complex in Edina, Minn., is PPI's project of the year.

The system uses 250 feet of 60-inch-diameter Goldpro Storm-brand corrugated polypropylene pipe from Willmar, Minn.-based Prinsco Inc., a family-owned business that serves the agricultural, stormwater and residential markets.

In Edina, the developers of the apartment complex followed green building practices and incorporated a system that can capture and hold 4,877 cubic feet of water from the impervious surfaces around it and then store it for later reuse to irrigate the area.

Due to the footprint, depth and watertight constraints, this system required custom elongated fittings with integral gasket and bell and spigot coupling joints, according to a PPI news release.

In the energy piping systems division, a thermoplastic brine line at a potash facility in Saskatchewan was recognized.

The line consists of 3,937 feet of 10-inch-diameter FlexSteel MXL-brand spoolable, steel-reinforced composite pipe produced by FlexSteel Pipeline Technologies Inc. in Houston.

The pipe has a steel core for durability and stability and a polyethylene inner liner for corrosion resistance and a PE outer layer for UV resistance and withstanding tough terrain.

The FlexSteel pipe, which has a high-pressure rating of 1,500 psi, was installed in about seven days and required only seven couplings and two end fittings.

Usually welded steel pipe is used for an application like this, but PPI says FlexSteel's product line provided the nominal 10-inch-diameter alternative for high-pressure lines.

The larger FlexSteel pipe diameter improved flow capacity by more than 50 percent over other available 8-inch solutions, the PPI release says.

The increased pipe diameter and high-pressure capability of the FlexSteel pipe permits reliable transportation of corrosive fluids with no corrosion concerns and minimal integrity management, PPI says.

Another award winner this year is Society Orlando, a two-tower, 1.5 million-square-foot, mixed-use, high-rise project in downtown Orlando, Fla.

The towers — one 26 stories and the other 16 stories — will hold 707 apartments and 36,000 square feet of office and retail space that will be cooled with an HVAC mechanical system comprising pipes from Uponor North America.

The project is made up of a hybrid air-and-water system that sends condenser-chilled water from a rooftop cooling tower through 800 feet of large-diameter Uponor PP-RCT pipe. The water then runs through vertical risers of 12,600 feet of Wirsbo hePEX-brand pipe, which branch off to fan coil units inside the apartments.

A second return line of the same materials follows a similar route in reverse, carrying warmed water from the apartments back to the cooling tower to be chilled again.

The system also incorporates 138,000 feet of Uponor AquaPEX-brand pipe and ProPEX-brand fittings, such as multiport tees in diameters from ½ to 1 inch.

In the power and communications division, PPI recognized a substation in Orangeburg, S.C., where the city's Department of Public Utilities constructed a new underground link between its substation and the distribution network.

The utility switched from PVC products to 10,000 feet of 6-inch-diameter SDR 13.5 high density polyethylene conduit from Dura-Line U.S./Canada to protect its cables, which also are a new material.

PPI says the superior thermal properties of Dura-Line's HDPE conduit enabled the cable specification to be changed from 1,000 KCM copper to smaller, 750 KCM aluminum 25KV cable without any loss of performance.

The conduit also provides the necessary cooling performance and favorable installation cost.

In addition, PPI says the HDPE sweeps, which were used instead of the typically selected galvanized metal, provided better abrasion resistance for the cable when pulled through the HDPE conduit.

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