City looks to meet infrastructure demands with polypropylene sewer pipe

June 1, 2010
(WaterWorld Online, June 2010) A contractor on a sanitary sewer project in Kentucky recently tried something new: he introduced his municipal client to polypropylene sewer pipe, gained approval, and now that it's installed, the municipality is sold on it, too...

By Tori L. Durliat

A contractor on a sanitary sewer project in Kentucky recently tried something new: he introduced his municipal client to polypropylene sewer pipe, gained approval, and now that it's installed, the municipality is sold on it, too.

SaniTite HP pipe, shown here, is being used in a $1 million sewer project to prepare vacant land in the Kentucky heartland for future development.SaniTite HP from Advanced Drainage Systems, which meets ASTM F-2736, was used in the project in the Kentucky heartland. The U.S. Army is building a new $192 million human resource center there at Fort Knox. The site is about 20 miles from Elizabethtown and will add roughly 4,300 new jobs to the local economy by 2011.

City leaders expect an influx of new residents from the job growth and the planned construction of a new state highway between the two cities. They are also planning to install sanitary sewer infrastructure to support future growth in Elizabethtown, a city of 25,000 people.

The Billy Creek sanitary sewer is one of those projects. It began a year ago on 400 acres of undeveloped property that was annexed into the city limits for future commercial and residential development.

The $1 million sewer project is a large one for Elizabethtown and three different types of pipe are being used.

Workers in Elizabethtown, KY attach SaniTite HP pipe, a new polypropylene product from Advanced Drainage Systems which meets ASTM F-2736, to a sewer interceptor.Original plans called for using traditional PVC pipe for part of the project. But before work began, contractor Jason Schmidt, vice president of Jeff Robards Construction Inc. in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, approached the city about using the SaniTite HP polypropylene pipe by Advanced Drainage Systems, and the city agreed.

Schmidt said he took some time to test and evaluate the pipe for himself before recommending it.

"I felt more comfortable with this than the other pipe (PVC)" said Schmidt. "What sold me on it was, I laid the two side-by-side and they were just totally different. The ADS pipe, it seemed like you couldn't hurt it. The other pipe, if you drop it, you're going to take a chance of cracking it. I think in the long run, it's going to be more cost effective because there's less chance of it breaking."

Because SaniTite HP from ADS is lighter than solid wall PVC or concrete pipe, contractors can lay 20-foot sticks at a time, as shown below.Approximately 10,000 to 12,000 linear feet of the SaniTite HP polypropylene pipe in sizes from 15-inch to 24-inch are being installed and connected directly to manholes, according to Elizabethtown city engineer Scott Reynolds. "From what I've seen in the ground, it's a really good pipe. It's lighter, easier to use and not as brittle," he said.

Because the product is lighter, contractors can lay 20-foot sticks at a time, as compared to 14-foot sticks with the typical PVC pipe or 8-foot sticks with concrete pipe, said Schmidt. And the transportation costs are less than with concrete. The pipe's elevated performance features, with no additional cost, made the product a logical choice for the project.

Schmidt and his crew saw a 75 percent reduction in time and costs to stage the material at the trench, as compared with concrete pipe. "The ADS pipe definitely increases your productivity," said Schmidt.

ADS' SaniTite HP pipe is manufactured utilizing a unique light grey resin color to enhance post-installation inspection and couples resin technology with highly engineered profile designs, resulting in a product with greater pipe stiffness and beam strength. The inert nature of Polypropylene ensures SaniTite HP's long term performance in aggressive environments.

Several types of sanitary pipe, including SaniTite HP from Advanced Drainage Systems, are being used in this large municipal project encompassing 400 acres in Elizabethtown, KY.SaniTite HP pipe offers end users like Elizabethtown an upgraded performance when compared with traditional sewer products without additional cost, and Schmidt says that is the reason he will use it again and recommend it to other municipalities.

The polypropylene pipe used in the Billy Creek project has met pressure-testing and mandrel testing requirements in Elizabethtown, said Reynolds. Both the city engineer and the contractor are confident in the product. "Everything passed. We trust the pipe and we like it," said Schmidt, adding, "It's a very heavy duty pipe."

The Billy Creek sewer project is near completion and more sanitary sewer projects are likely as this town continues to grow. Reynolds says he will write approval for the use of polypropylene pipe into his town's bid specifications for future sanitary sewer projects.

About the Author: Tori L. Durliat is Director of Marketing for Advanced Drainage Systems Inc.

WaterWorld Online, June 2010