Pipe Bursting Solves Environmental Issues

July 2012, Vol. 67, No. 7

Jeff Tremel, project superintendent for Advance, explains the problem and solution: “There are two knives welded onto the tool, and the theory is to slice the poly, then the expander will go through and slip the two halves to the side. But because of the lack of ground friction, that did not happen. We ended up dragging the old pipe, because there was not enough resistance in the ground.

“The old pipe just kept coming forward into our transition pit,” says Tremel. “We had to cut it by hand – with a pipe saw – to get it out of the way. Otherwise it would have strewn all over like spaghetti. We split it because it came over the top of the rods.”

At each of the two transition pits, Advance changed tooling. “We changed tooling twice,” says Mike Walk, the training specialist for HammerHead who operated the machine. “We put the 10-inch pilot on when we went into the HDPE, and then when we got back to the PVC, we put the eight-inch pilot back on.” The pilot is a piece of steel tubing that keeps the bursting head centered inside the old pipe.

Plan comes together
Tremel of Advance said the PVC pipe burst exactly according to plan. “Bursting the C900 went perfectly,” Tremel said. “It split, shattered, fractured, went right to the side. It worked like it should.”

Both Tremel and Glenn Joski, Advance president, said HammerHead provided excellent technical support throughout the project.

HammerHead provides their customers free project consultations. “Part of providing the consultation is gathering information,” says Nate Hrabosky, regional sales manager for HammerHead. “We send out a pipe bursting questionnaire to the contractor well ahead of the actual burst. The questionnaire asks the contractor 44 questions about the project – and requires an answer to each one – so that we can provide the correct solution for their project and make sure the right equipment shows up on the job.”

Tremel said a crucial factor to the project’s success was the set-up in the pit that contained the bursting machine. “It was very critical that we restrain the machine back,” he says. “We did it with I-beams and plates. We drove two 12-inch I-beams into the ground like tent stakes, and that’s what the machine pulled against.”

Joski said the actual pipe bursting work took just three days. The first day was spent in preparation, and the pull-back took two days. After cutting in a fire hydrant at a transition pit, Advance made the connections at the reception pit and buttoned up the project.