< Yellowstone National Park Installs Fusible PVC<sup>®</sup> Casing and Carrier Pipes under the Yellowstone River

Yellowstone National Park Installs Fusible PVC® Casing and Carrier Pipes under the Yellowstone River

Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 by Ulysses S. Grant and is widely recognized as the world’s first national park. It is famous for its geysers, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, and large diversity of wildlife. The first year it opened the park saw 300 visitors. Since then it has become an international tourist destination with more than 3 million people visiting annually.

The existing potable water and electrical power infrastructure is undersized in parts of the park and requires upsizing to support the growth in visitors. The most pressing recent upgrade priority was the main water line servicing an area east of Yellowstone Lake, near the lake outlet. The existing water line was attached to Fishing Bridge and was not functional during the freezing winter months. The water and power lines in this part of the park are instrumental in providing utility service to campgrounds, service buildings, employee housing, and other infrastructure, such as the Yellowstone General Store.

Nelson Engineering of Jackson, Wyoming was tasked with designing a multi-utility crossing of one of the most pristine waterways in the country. The site is located at an elevation of over 8,000 feet and is heavily populated by tourists in-season. Replacing the water line on the bridge, or disturbing the Yellowstone River, were both deemed undesirable engineering solutions. The National Park Service had never utilized horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for a project of this magnitude in Yellowstone. Nevertheless, Nelson recommended HDD as the best and least intrusive approach to install new water and power lines in this environmentally sensitive area.

Scout Lake Construction of Selah, Washington was awarded the project and selected Nomad Pipeline Services of Rockville, Minnesota to perform the directional drill.

The construction window for drilling was limited to the period between the end of prime tourist season and the onset of the typical early winter snowfalls. Nomad installed the 24-inch casing in early November 2014, after being onsite for approximately a month. The water line and conduits were pulled in shortly afterward.

Phil Gyr, Project Manager for Nelson, stated: “The installation went smoothly with minimal environmental and traffic disruption. The HDD-installed casing provides a critical utility link across the river for park and visitor facilities.”

Randy Bunch, Drill Rig Superintendent for Nomad, added: “Nomad is proud to be part of this historic project. All parties involved were great to work with, including the National Park Service.”

Pipeline Details and Project Summary
Project: Fishing Bridge Water Replacement Project
Location: Yellowstone National Park, WY
Pipe Size: Casing: 1,360 LF of 24” DR18 Fusible PVC® Pipe Water Line: 1,395 LF of 10” DR18 Fusible C-900® Pipe
Owner: National Park Service
Engineer: Nelson Engineering
Contractors: Scout Lake Construction (General Contractor) Nomad Pipeline Services (HDD Subcontractor)


Six Conduits Bundled with 10” Water Line Staged to Slipline into 24” Casing


Water and Conduit Lines Successfully Pulled Through to Exit Side of Casing