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The Consolidated Mutual Water Company (Consolidated) distributes approximately 4 billion gallons of water annually to 90,000 residents in Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, and unincorporated portions of central Jefferson County, Colorado. Treated water is delivered through about 400 miles of pipelines and over 20,000 tap connections in a service area of approximately 27 square miles. After building a state-of-the-art membrane treatment plant, Consolidated decided to further improve the quality of distributed water by modernizing their existing water mains through an extensive rehabilitation program.
Consolidated’s distribution system dates back as far as 1926 when the original company was formed from four smaller, well-based systems. Through decades of additions, expansions, and reorganizations, Consolidated has remained committed to providing the highest quality water to its customers through a reliable distribution system. Since the mid-50’s, Consolidated has budgeted money annually for water main replacement and upgrades of other aging infrastructure.
Consolidated had historically used open-cut installation in its water main replacement program. As the cost of open-cut construction continued to rise, including paved street restoration, Consolidated began evaluating alternative methods for water main replacement.
After evaluating and testing a variety of equipment, pipe products, and installation methods, Consolidated decided in 2010 to proceed with Phase I of a pipe bursting program to replace 24,000 LF of water pipelines in a service area with antiquated and undersized lines. Consolidated selected Fusible PVC® pipe as the replacement pipe based on corrosion resistance, ease of connection, and ability to upsize old cast iron distribution lines while minimizing soil displacement due to a smaller pipe OD versus other pipe options.
The utility’s crews are licensed and trained fuse Fusible PVC® pipe. Consolidated uses McElroy fusion equipment and pipe bursting equipment supplied by TT Technologies. Consolidated enlisted TT’s technical assistance when they initiated their pipe burst program and have been fully self-performing installations with excellent efficiency ever since. Consolidated has continued pipe bursting every construction season, achieving significant savings versus traditional open-cut replacement while also minimizing disruption to customers and traffic. Expertise and efficiency continue to improve each year.
Mike Queen, President of Consolidated, stated: “Since the inception of our water line pipe bursting program in 2010 we have replaced 160,000 LF of distribution pipe with a cumulative construction savings of $9.8 million. We’re planning to replace another 30,000 LF of water lines in 2015 with Fusible PVC® pipe and we anticipate the same cost saving results.” Consolidated has also used Fusible PVC® pipe for open-cut installation of new 8”, 10” and 12” waterlines in its service area, as well as for a 16” emergency slipline under West Colfax Avenue.