Billings, MT Multi-Year Water Main Pipe Bursting Program Grows with Over 14,000 Feet of Fusible C-900® Pipe Installed
In 2008, as part of its ongoing asset management plan, the City of Billings, MT designated a 520 LF, 8" cast iron (CI) water pipe on 3rd Avenue North near 10th Street for replacement due to extensive deterioration. The City elected to pipe burst the existing line and upsize to a 12" diameter line using Fusible C-900® pipe. Since completion of this initial pipe burst pilot project with Fusible C-900® pipe, Billings has embarked on a large-scale pipe bursting program for rehabilitation of aged CI water mains. The City has standardized on Fusible C-900® pipe and self performs all critical construction activities. To date, over 14,000 LF of Fusible C-900® pipe has been installed by pipe bursting with additional replacement phases slated for the future.
Pipeline Details and Project Summary
The City purchased HammerHead® pipe bursting equipment and McElroy fusion machines to save money by having City crews perform work normally subcontracted to outside specialty contractors. In 2009, the City became a qualified fusion licensee of Underground Solutions, and self-performs pipe fusion.
Prior to launching its pipe bursting rehabilitation program, the City completed several water line static burst pilot projects using HDPE and Certa-Lok™ pipe. Fusible C-900® pipe was then evaluated in an effort to address some of the challenges these pipe materials present in pressure water main and pipe bursting applications. The City favored Fusible C-900® pipe versus HDPE based on: a) no need to upsize to maintain the same flow (HDPE required a 10" diameter pipe for 8" ID and a 16" diameter pipe for a 12" ID at the City's required pressures), b) fittings compatibility with off-the-shelf inventory, and c) reduced coefficient of thermal expansion (PVC has 1/4 the coefficient of HDPE). Fusible C-900® pipe was preferred versus Certa-Lok™ due to: a) higher rated safe pull force (12" DR14 Fusible C-900® pipe has a rated safe pull force of 101,600 lbs. vs. 28,300 lbs for 12" DR14 Certa-Lok™ in bending applications), and b) no bell coupling to create a potential catch point during pull-in.
City officials estimate they have saved over 20% versus conventional dig and replace construction methods. Kent Lustig, Project Manager for the City of Billings, commented: "Overall, our pipe burst projects are going well due in great part to the pipe and the preparation of each job site by our construction foreman. Fusible PVC™ pipe continues to look like the way to go on future water main burst projects."