April 08, 2024

Why Choose HDPE for Temporary Pipeline Construction?

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is one of the most commonly used materials in temporary pipeline construction today, often used in oil and gas, municipal water systems, and heavy civil construction. The poly pipe is joined by a method that makes it seamless and virtually leak-proof, preventing spillage and reducing potential environmental issues. Utilizing the expertise of trained and certified fusion technicians ensures high quality temporary pipeline construction while improving efficiency and safety.

What is HDPE pipe?
HDPE is a lightweight, flexible, and cost-effective alternative to steel, copper, and PVC pipe for temporary pipeline construction. Because it is abrasion and corrosion-resistant, it can be used for safely transferring gases, liquids, and slurries. HDPE pipe is joined through heat and pressure. It is seamless and leak proof when properly fused, making it the preferred choice for temporary pipeline construction in many industries.

Where is HDPE pipe used?
Since the mid-1950s, polyethylene has been used for temporary pipeline construction. According to the Plastics Pipe Institute, it was initially used for industrial applications, followed by rural water and then oil and gas production. “The performance benefits of polyethylene pipe in these original oil- and gas-related applications have led to its use in equally demanding piping installations such as potable water distribution, industrial and mining pipe, force mains and other critical applications where a tough, ductile material is needed to assure long-term performance.”

Common pipeline construction applications include water, gas, and sewer lines, drainage pipes, and supply lines. HDPE pipe can be bent to approximately 25X the pipe diameter, making it easy to accommodate small areas and terrain changes, especially common in municipal applications. According to the Plastics Pipe Institute, “HDPE pipe has a very tight safe bend radius. This feature allows pipe to be strung on the ground in configurations impossible to do safely for other types of pipe. Instead of blocking cross streets, the pipe is often laid down by simply bending it around the corner. For example, a 12″ HDPE pipe may be safely bent to a radius of only 28 ft, which allows this pipe to be placed in a typical cul-de-sac without fittings.”

What are the types of HDPE fusion?
There are many types of HDPE fusion techniques, including butt fusion, electrofusion, and socket fusion. Butt fusion is the most common. It involves joining two straight pieces of pipe together by heating the ends and pushing them together to meld together under pressure. Once cooled, the joint is strong and leak-proof when properly fused.

What are the benefits of certified HDPE fusion technicians for temporary pipeline construction?
The goal of certification is to enhance the skilled HDPE fusion technican’s competency with equipment knowledge and fusion techniques as well as improve efficiency, productivity, and safety.

McElroy, the leader in thermoplastic pipe fusion, offers HDPE fusion courses through its McElroy University. Training includes common industry standards and proper machine procedures. McElroy estimates that with an experienced crew and a McElroy machine, it takes roughly 1.5 to 2 minutes per inch of pipe diameter to make a fusion joint.

Case study: HDPE for emergency temporary pipeline construction
When a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, OH, in February 2023, it affected the primary water source for people in Huntington, West Virginia. A temporary bypass was needed to quickly connect a secondary upstream water source to the water treatment plant as the contaminants were moving downstream.

This project required rapid site assessment, hydraulic modeling, evaluation of stream conditions and the water withdrawal site, and coordination of more than 10 loads of pipe, equipment, and material.

The temporary pipeline construction entailed fusing, stringing, and deploying 3,750 feet of temporary 24” HDPE waterline and installing a pump station and water withdrawal system using three 12×12 pumps and a 10×8 pump. Through the efforts of our experienced certified HDPE poly pipe fusion technicians, we were able to complete the temporary pipeline construction project within three days of receiving the call.
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Experts in temporary pipeline construction
FieldForce provides equipment and temporary pipeline construction solutions for the municipal, construction, manufacturing, and industrial sectors. Our certified HDPE poly pipe fusion technicians are experienced in fusing pipe of varying sizes and pressure ratings for challenging transfer operations. This includes extreme terrain, high velocity pumping, high total dynamic head conditions, high pressure zones, and long-range pumping distances. FieldForce also carries an inventory of hundreds of miles of temporary HDPE pipe and Bauer fittings and pumps sized for any application, to handle routine projects or emergency needs

Call us today to learn more. 717-508-0550