Pipebursting Evolution

Technology Can Now Burst/Split – And Install – Virtually All Kinds Of Pipe, Sizes
November 2009 Vol. 64 No. 11

Also, Goodman says, there is a constant evolution of tooling, providing better, more effective accessories to increase the likelihood of success that in the past would not have been attempted by pipebursting.

"An example," he says, "is the pilot-tool a tapered attachment that leads the burst head, keeping the burst head centered to stay on path in old pipe and decrease friction as the bursting process begins."

What about the future of pipebursting?

From an engineer's perspective, Muenchmeyer believes pipebursting can become a significant tool used in the potable water industry, in the U.S., as it gears up to renew or replace its water infrastructure.

"With multiple pipe replacement materials," he says, "pipebursting should be positioned as one of the technologies of choice for not only the water industry but also for the growing lateral sewer replacement market."

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Pipebursting And Asbestos Cement Pipe
Asbestos cement (AC) pipe was widely used for potable water, sanitary sewer and storm drain pipelines from the 1940s through the 1960s, but documentation of health issues related to asbestos restricted the use of asbestos in most products, and U.S. production of AC pipe stopped more than 30 years ago.

However, much AC pipe remains in the ground today in active water and sewer systems – as much as 630,000 miles of it says a report presented by Kent Von Aspern at the 2008 UCT show. Von Aspern is a senior project manager, HDR Inc., an architectural, engineering and consulting firm. Much of this pipe is at or near the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.

The composition of AC pipe – Portland cement, water, silica or silica containing materials, and asbestos fibers – is well suited to pipebursting. However, fragments of AC burst pipe could appear to fall in the category of regulated waste that would cause the project area to be classified an active waste disposal site.

Von Aspern says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has surveyed the industry to learn more about pipebursting and pipe reaming to determine whether burst fragments would be a health hazard and are evaluating current restrictions to determine if clarifications or modifications are needed.

Because federal regulations are considered by many to be unclear, some entities are issuing clarifying documents. The bottom line: Von Aspern recommends checking with appropriate regulatory agencies in the area where projects are located to see what restrictions apply to bursting AC pipe.