American Water Military Services Group Utilizes Fusible PVC® Pipe for Water Main Replacement Project at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma

Fort Sill, located in Lawton, Oklahoma, serves as home to the United States Army's Field Artillery School and Air Defense Artillery School. It also hosts the Marine Corps' Field Artillery MOS School and the 434th Field Artillery Brigade. The Field Artillery School trains soldiers, officers, and Marines in tactics, techniques, and procedures for providing fire support in combat. The school provides individual training from the basic level to mid-level leadership skills. The 434th Field Artillery Brigade is responsible for transforming civilian volunteers into disciplined, motivated and fit soldiers, providing the Army with competent and confident fighters willing to excel in the Army. Fort Sill is home to approximately 9,000 soldiers on a permanent basis with an additional 5,000 soldiers rotating through for training at any given time.

In 2003 as part of the Department of Defense (DoD) Privatization Initiative, American Water Military Services Group was awarded ownership and a 50 year contract to provide operations and maintenance services for the water and wastewater systems at Fort Sill. American Water Military Services Group operates and maintains water systems at federal facilities across the country. Currently, they provide service for a total of eleven facilities.

Pipeline Details and Project Summary
Project: Fort Sill Waterline Replacement
Location Lawton, Oklahoma
Length: 5,200 LF
Pipe Size: 8" DR18 Fusible C-900®
Installation: Horizontal Directional Drill
Owner: American Water Military Services Group
Engineer: Garver Engineering
Contractor: Evans & Associates

In 2014 as part of their ongoing capital improvement plan, American Water Military Services Group contracted with Evans & Associates to replace sections of the aging water distribution system located in the officer housing section of the base. The project, identified as FCU #115A, consisted of replacing approximately 7,000 LF of 6-inch cast iron main with new 8-inch PVC water distribution lines. The cast iron mains had reached the end of their useful life and had become a recurring maintenance issue.

Most utility projects in the municipal market are completed using the design-bid-build project delivery method in which engineering plans are completed prior to bidding the project. A slightly different process known as design-build is often employed for project work performed at military facilities. In design-build, projects are identified and an overall project scope is determined. Contractors then bid a fixed price based on that scope, including all the engineering and design services necessary to provide a fully functional solution. This is how FCU #115 was bid, with Evans & Associates functioning as the lead contractor and Garver Engineering of Norman, Oklahoma providing project engineering services.

During the project design process, Evans & Associates, in combination with Garver, determined that it would be beneficial to install a significant portion of the new water lines using horizontal directional drilling (HDD). According to Randy Combest with Evans & Associates, "We felt like we could minimize the overall impact to base residents by utilizing HDD for portions of the project. By using Fusible PVC® pipe, we were able to reconnect to the existing lines and tie sections of newly installed pipe together using standard ductile iron fittings."

In order to provide flexibility in project execution, and to supplement their internal capabilities, Evans & Associates elected to receive training from Underground Solutions to be licensed to fuse Fusible PVC® pipe. As a result of self-perform drilling and fusion operations Evans & Associates was able to make quick work of the project. All work was completed within a three month period during the summer of 2015.

According to American Water Capital Projects Manager Gregory Mayo, "The project went extremely well. Using directional drilling and Fusible PVC® pipe minimized the overall impact to the base. We see a significant benefit to installing a fused pipe to eliminate the potential for leaking joints or future joint failures."