In use in potable water applications since the 1960s, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe has become the ideal material for piping systems used to transport drinking water. As a tough and resilient material capable of lasting 100 years or more with minimal maintenance, HDPE pipe has proven to be superior to many other piping materials as a means transporting and distributing potable water. HDPE pipe’s long service life and low maintenance costs, coupled with its’ ability to be installed with a variety of trench-less technologies leads to HDPE pipe having the lowest life cycle costs of any potable water piping system.
High-density polyethylene pipe is usually produced in straight lengths up to 15 m (50 ft) long and coiled in diameters up through 152 mm (6 in.). The material neither tuberculates nor supports bacterial growth. As such, HDPE pipes have excellent chemical resistance and are suitable for even harsh environments.
Although many different types of plastic pipe share these particular advantages, HDPE pipes and related products combine these attributes with the added benefits of heat-fused joints and flexibility.
HDPE pipe offers excellent fusion integrity, enabling the development of one continuous pipeline system. Heat fusion, the process of joining pieces of pipe to each other or other elements (e.g. valves), produces fully sealed connections. This can eliminate the potential leak points that could come every 3.1 to 6.1 m (10 to 20 ft) with other materials and fixtures.
The life-cycle cost of HDPE pipe can differ from other materials because the allowable water leakage is zero, rather than the typical leakage rates of 10 to 20 percent for conventional counterparts. HDPE pipe’s fused joints are self-restraining, thereby eliminating costly thrust restraints or thrust blocks. Furthermore, HDPE pipe’s fused joints virtually never leak, effectively eliminating infiltration and exfiltration problems experienced with alternate pipe joints.
The high density polyethylene pipe industry conservatively estimates the service life for HDPE pipe to be between 50 and 100 years. Potentially, this can relate to savings in replacement costs for generations to come.
HDPE pipe can provide greater durability and flexibility than certain other materials because it can be easily bent into place and pulled through existing pipes. HDPE pipe can be reshaped to a radius 25 times the nominal pipe diameter. In other words, 305-mm (12-in.) HDPE pipe can be cold-formed in the field to a 7.6-m (25-ft) radius, which can eliminate the many fittings required for directional changes in a piping system.
The flexibility of HDPE pressure pipe makes it well-suited for dynamic soils, including areas prone to earthquake. It can accept repetitive pressure surges significantly exceeding the static pressure rating of the pipe. Its combination of flexibility and leak-free joints also allows cost-effective installation methods such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD), pipe bursting, sliplining, and plow and plant.
Additionally, since polyethylene is far less dense than other materials, it does not demand the use of heavy-lifting equipment for installation. Nevertheless, HDPE pipes can structurally withstand various types of impacts, especially in cold-weather situations where other materials can be more prone to cracks and breaks.
HDPE pipe is the ideal piping solution for public and private potable water systems. HDPE pipe features a service life of over 100 years and has the versatility to perform in a variety of conditions. HDPE pipe provides a logical, low-maintenance investment in municipal and private potable water applications.
Contact us today to speak to a customer service representative about how HDPE water pipe could benefit your next project.