Directional drilling, PVC pipe make winning combination

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VALLEY FORGE, PA -- The City of Fort Wayne, Ind., recently found a winning combination when it used directional drilling to replace an 11,000-foot corroded cast iron water main with CertainTeed® Certa-Lok™ C900/RJ restrained-joint PVC pipe.

Installed in the 1930s in Fort Wayne's Belmont Addition neighborhood, the original water main demanded several corrosion-related repairs over the years, partially caused by the region's soil. This corrosion has led the City to replace many other cast iron water mains in recent years with corrosion-resistant thermoplastic pipe materials, such as PVC and HDPE.

Since the Belmont Addition is a well-populated residential area (approximately 200 homes) with a busy street passing through it, the City and contractor S&S Directional Boring Ltd., of Bryan, Ohio, decided that installing a new water main using restrained-joint PVC pipe, via directional drilling, would be the best way to get the job done with minimal disturbances. With this in mind, they specified 6-inch Certa-Lok C900/RJ PVC pipe for the project.

"Directional drilling has proven itself to us over the years as the most cost-effective method of replacing water and sewer mains in busy or congested areas, but this is one of the first times we have used PVC pipe for a directional drilling project," says Matthew Wirtz, Assistant Manager of Planning and Design for the City of Fort Wayne. "Since the project was taking place in a residential area, we wanted to avoid having several hundred feet of fused pipe strung out for several days. The fact that the Certa-Lok pipe is assembled as it goes into the boreholes was a huge advantage."

Certa-Lok C900/RJ is a performance-proven PVC product, ideal for both water and wastewater applications. Its innovative joining system, which utilizes a high-strength spline to connect pipe lengths, reliably holds the pipe together during installation and pressurization, while elastomeric O-rings provide a dependable pressure seal.

"Certa-Lok has many qualities that appeal to contractors, but its leak resistance and quick assembly without the need for time-consuming and expensive joint fusion, are what really stand out amongst the competition," says Steve Gross, Director of Marketing for CertainTeed's Pipe Business. "And, compared to HDPE pipe, Certa-Lok requires a much thinner wall for an equivalent pressure rating, which significantly cuts material, drilling and operating costs and makes Certa-Lok an ideal product for municipalities like Fort Wayne."

S&S Directional Boring began drilling last September, with a crew that ranged from eight to 12 workers. After overcoming difficulties drilling through the extra-hard clay, the pipe installation continued smoothly. The crew completed the project this April, and received good reviews from the City of Fort Wayne.

"The project turned out well," Wirtz says. "I think, with the positive feedback we've received from the contractor and our maintenance workers, I anticipate us using Certa-Lok pipe a lot more on our future directional drilling projects."

CertainTeed is North America's leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, windows, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and access covers.

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