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HDPE Provides Answer For Gate Repair

by Drew L. Wilson

If there is a state that knows a thing or two about water, it's Florida. The state contends with hurricanes that dump heavy rainfalls in short amounts of time, two massive coastlines, world-famous beaches, the Everglades and many canals.

With so much water as part of everyday life, naturally some man-made water management comes into play. Recently, the South Florida Water Management District called upon Moving Water Industries (MWI) and HD Supply to use their expertise to move the water in a sub-basin to a manageable level in order to repair an eroded flood gate. The Osceola County flood gate's base was originally 12 inches of cement, but the water had eroded the concrete to 8 inches.

Polyethylene pipe turned out to be the perfect solution for the repair. Four lines of 42-inch SDR 26 pipe were fused together and connected to MWI's pumps with flanges and bolts. Each pump moves approximately 40,000 gallons per minute, with the hope of moving a maximum of 185,000 gallons per minute across the four pipes and pumps.

This machine has paid for itself many times over

Charles Scarbary

With all of Florida's water concerns, its not uncommon to see one of their pumps on a water-involved jobsite. In fact, the company's reputation in the Southern U.S. led to a call for help during Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. All of the company's pumps were put into the fray, often requiring a helicopter to airlift the equipment into the work zones.

Although not quite the same scale of job as the Katrina clean-up, the flood-gate repair near Cypress Lake required getting the maximum performance out of the pumps and the pipe that would transfer the water to the other side of the dam. MWI's Claudio Grecco, a technical specialist, says that in many instances HDPE is the best answer for moving water.

"Using steel, a weld (on 42-inch pipe) would take two hours and that's just for one pass," said Grecco. "It might take a total of three passes by a welder to make sure the steel pipe is leak-free. Every jobsite we get, this poly pipe is what we beg for."

Grecco also said that in the case of the flood gate repair, bidding with HDPE was approximately $30,000 cheaper than using steel, and the flexibility of the pipe would be a huge asset on the job.

HD Supply provided the pipe, a McElroy Rolling 1648 and fusion technician Charles Scarbary to complete the fusion process.

The jobsite called for a number of 45- degree elbows to be fused onto the four pipes at different distances to create four pipes running side-by-side from above the dam to below it. By the end of the project, the four pipes looked like a smaller "C" hugged by a larger "C" surrounded by an even larger "C" and so on. The three-segment ells were fabricated before arriving at the site by truckload.

"This machine has paid for itself many times over," said Scarbary. "Forty-two inch pipe is our most popular size, so this machine sees plenty of work."

Scarbary worked in unison with a hydraulic excavator and telehandler to maneuver the pipe and subsequent ells in, out and around the machine. Once a sizable length of pipe was fused together, it was pulled into place and attached to MWI's pumps with a bolted flange.

While repairing a single flood gate could be viewed as minimal by some, it is a great example of how HDPE can be used quickly to circumvent a problem. Kevin Poole, field superintendent for HD Supply, also stated that the South Florida Water Management District is likely to reuse the 42-inch pipe down the road - yet another advantage of polyethylene.

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E-mail: marketing@mcelroy.com

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