Billings, MT Multi-Year Water Main Pipe Bursting Program Grows with Over 21,000 Feet of Fusible C-900® Pipe Installed

In 2008, as part of its ongoing asset management plan, the City of Billings, MT designated a 520 LF of 8" cast iron (CI) water main on 3rd Avenue North near 10th Street for replacement due to extensive deterioration. The City elected to pipe burst the existing line and upsize to a 12" diameter line using Fusible C-900® pipe.

Following the success of this water main pipe burst pilot project, Billings has embarked on a long term pipe bursting program to rehabilitate aged CI water mains. Since the initial pilot project, over 21,000 LF of Fusible C-900® pipe has been installed by pipe bursting, with additional replacement phases slated for each year. The City has been featured in Municipal Sewer and Water magazine (November 2010 and March 2014) and has continued to share their experience by presenting technical papers at multiple national No-Dig Shows (2010 and 2015). Other utilities in the Rocky Mountain region such as Cheyenne, WY and Consolidated Mutual Water Company (Lakewood, CO) have joined Billings in implementing annual pipe bursting programs to rehabilitate failing water lines.

The City performs its own engineering design and self performs all critical construction activities. The City purchased HammerHead® pipe bursting equipment and McElroy fusion machines to save money by having City crews perform work normally subcontracted to outside specialty contractors. In 2009, the City became a fusion licensee of Underground Solutions and self-performs all pipe fusion activities.

The City has standardized on Fusible C-900® pipe for their water rehabilitation program. The primary reasons for selecting Fusible PVC® pipe include: a) the majority of newly installed pipe in Billings is bell-and-spigot PVC, which uses the same standard fittings and connections already in inventory; b) Fusible PVC® pipe provides the smallest outside diameter pipe (barrel and joint) with the greatest inside diameter, minimizing soil displacement; and c) Fusible PVC® pipe has the highest rated safe pull force for similar size and pressure plastic pipe products.

City officials estimate they have saved over 20% versus conventional dig and replace construction methods. Scott Emerick, Superintendent of Public Works Department of Distribution and Collection Division, commented, "Pipe bursting not only saves the taxpayers money, but greatly reduces the construction footprint and impact to streets and the surrounding community. We have had a very good track record using Fusible PVC® pipe for our water main replacement program."


Billings Pipeline Asset Management Program Summary
Bursting Contractor: City of Billings
Pipe Fusion: City of Billings
Pipe Replaced: 4" and 8" Cast Iron
New Pipe: 8" and 12" DR14 FusibleC-900®
Lineal Feet Installed: 520 LF (2008); 1,210 LF (2009); 5,185 (2010); 4,000 LF (2011);
3,300 LF (2012); 2,000 LF (2013); 2,000 LF (2014)



City Personnel Fusing Pipe


Pipe Burst Expander Tooling


Insertion Pit



City Personnel Operating Pipe Burst Equipment


Exit Pit - Ready for Reconnection