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Sapulpa Replaces Asbestos Water Line

by Drew L. Wilson

Creek County Rural Water District #3 is replacing 3,000 ft of water pipeline near the city of Sapulpa. The job presented itself when a new pump station was needed to increase the pressure to the cities water tank. District #3 buys its water from district #1 that owns the water rights from Heyburn Lake.

The line they are replacing is made of Transite, which contains asbestos and is illegal to install now. There are many miles of this pipe still in the ground carrying drinking water. District #3 has also replaced a lot of PVC.

I'm a big fan of Polyethylene pipe

Dale Reed

HDPE 6" DR 11 was used for the project. "I'm a big fan of Polyethylene pipe," said Dale Reed, Field Supervisor for District #3. "Any chance I get to talk my board members into using Polyethylene, I do. I like to invite them out to a jobsite to see how it's put together. Once they see that there are no collars or joints like in PVC, that leak, it makes it easier to sell them on using PE on the next job. It's getting easier because the contractors are starting to bid jobs more comparably because PVC is so labor intensive to put in."

Bill Reed, Fusion Technician of Cooper Wholesale in Pryor, OK was in charge of the pipe installation. Bill used McElroy's TracStar 28 to fuse the pipe. It is a self contained, hydraulic fusion machine and has the added mobility of being mounted on a track system. "I'm not going to say we couldn't have done the job without the TracStar," said Reed, "but it would have been a royal pain to hand carry a machine up through the woods to join those 500' sections together." Reed fused 40' sections together until he had a length of 480' and drug the pipe through the thick underbrush with the small tractor. Once he reached the end of the line, he fused the two sections together. "I walked that machine over sandstone rocks and through brush that high," holding his hand out at about his waist for emphasis. "It never even acted like it was having any trouble."

PE is slowly replacing PVC in the US following the lead of Europe, where the use of PVC has been phased out.

PE is slowly replacing concrete, ductile iron, and PVC in the US following the lead of the UK and Europe, where PE has become the material of choice for municipal water and sewer applications. In the US, some municipalities have already installed over 600,000 ft. of PE from 3" through 30" and they report that there is no need for an allowable loss rate, because there are no leaks. PE has been the standard for gas distribution on a worldwide basis, including the US, since the early 1970's. The water industry is going through a similar awareness of what the gas distribution industry experienced over the last 35 years. PE is the obvious material of choice due to its toughness, flexibility, ease of installation and leak free fusion joints that are as strong or stronger than the pipe itself. Currently we loose 2.5 billion gallons of water per day through our obsolete piping system. When the nation decides that it can no longer accept, or cannot afford this loss, perhaps it will follow the lead of the gas industry and install PE. Tell your water company to install PE using the leak free butt fusion joining method and it will remain in service with no leaks, corrosion, or loss of flow through our great-great grandchildren's lives and beyond.

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