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Growing population, crowded utility corridors, deteriorating infrastructure, and tight budgets are forcing Colorado utilities to look for innovative solutions to better manage their pipelines. Pipe bursting has been used for several decades throughout North America and Europe to replace gravity sewers with minimal surface disruption. Municipalities and water districts throughout Colorado are now turning to pipe bursting as a cost effective method to rehabilitate aging, high-risk, water distribution systems. In many cases, water main pipe bursting is used to increase line size to meet fire protection flow requirements.
Since 2010, over 30 water main pipe bursting projects have been completed in Colorado utilizing Fusible PVC® pipe, including Denver Water (9,200 LF of 6-inch, 8-inch and 12-inch), the City of Aurora (12,000 LF of 8-inch), Fort Collins (3,300 LF 6-inch and 3,300 LF 8-inch), Loveland (4,430 LF 8-inch and 1,839 LF 16-inch), Ute Water (1,040 LF of 8-inch), Valley Water (1,240 LF of 8-inch), and Consolidated Mutual Water in Lakewood (173,500 LF of 6-inch, 8-inch and 12-inch). Pipe bursting is poised to grow in the coming years as more utility field crews and contractors gain experience with the method. Utility engineers are also recognizing the opportunity to use pipe bursting to make use of existing pipeline alignments in increasingly crowded utility corridors.
Fusible PVC® pipe has become a popular choice for replacement pipe in pipe burst projects because of its high-strength, fused joint connection, its durability, and its ability to upsize old cast iron distribution lines while minimizing localized soil displacement. With a smaller pipe OD (outside diameter) versus other pipe replacement options, Fusible PVC® pipe reduces project risk. PVC pipe allows for use of standard ductile iron fittings and connections, and uses standard PVC tapping equipment and procedures. Finally, PVC provides excellent resistance against corrosion, hydrocarbon permeation, and oxidation by water disinfectants.
Mike Queen, President of Consolidated Mutual Water (CMWC) stated: "We saved $1.3 million using pipe bursting instead of the open-cut method on the first phase of our waterline rehabilitation program in 2010." CMWC and Denver Water have been early adopters with many completed projects. CMWC has dropped its water main replacement cost from roughly $115/LF with open-cut to approximately $48/LF over the course of its annual replacement programs.