Innovative Installation Methods for Plastic Pipe

Plastic pipe lends itself to a wide range of innovative and cost-saving installation methods. 

Trenchless Installations

Horizontal directional drilling- is a trenchless method of installing underground pipes, by using a surface drill that horizontally inserts the pipe into place. This process poses minimal impact to the surrounding area. This installation method is most commonly used in jobs including road, landscape and river crossings. This installation is most suitable for PVC and polyethylene pipe. 

Restrained Road Bores- Road boring is a process that utilizes Horizontal Directional Drilling when installing pipe under a highway or road. 

Pipe bursting- Pipe bursting is a trenchless method used to replace existing pipelines in the same alignment without physically removing the existing pipeline.  Bursting by using the exiting alignment to replace a pipe avoids the need to secure additional right-of-way to install the replacement pipe. Bursting can be used to upsize the pipeline increasing its flow capacity.
Pipe bursting was initially developed in the 1980s to replace small diameter cast iron gas distribution lines, but has since grown in acceptance as an effective method for replacing pipelines diverse in size, material type, and function including water, sewer, or gas pipelines.
Pipe bursting is used to replace brittle pipes such as clay, concrete and cast iron through the application of a static or pneumatic bursting head to fragment the existing pipe. Simultaneously, a new product pipe attached to the back of the bursting head is installed in the same alignment as the original pipe.  

Slip lining- Slip lining involves the insertion of a new pipe into an existing pipe. Under the right conditions, slip lining is also the simplest trenchless technique. A new pipe with an outside dimension smaller than the inside dimension of the host pipe is either pulled or pushed into the host pipe.

Polyurethane (HDPE and PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes are most commonly used for continuous slip lining circular, non-man entry pipes. The new pipe is laid out above ground and pulled through an excavated pit into the host pipe. The new pipe is then winched through the host pipe to an exit pit or manhole. In situations where space for layout of the pipe above ground is limited, HDPE pipe can be butt-fused during the installation process. 

Well Casing - Casing provides support for the wall of the well so that loose rock fragments or unconsolidated sand and gravel through which the well has penetrated do not collapse into the well shaft.  The casing protects the electrical wires, pull cable and water tubing/piping that are connected to the submersible pump.  It also provides a vertical-cylindrical surface that in conjunction with the outer vertical wall of the drilled hole can facilitate the placement of an impermeable grout seal around the well casing.  The grout seal in the annular space outside of the casing prevents surface water and potential contaminants (bacteria, fertilizers, pesticides etc.) from descending along the outside wall of the well down to the zones of stored groundwater. 

With improvements in strength, durability and corrosion resistance of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics over the last two decades, PVC casing has become very common as a casing material for drinking water wells.  

Aerial crossings

An aerial crossing is a location where a pipeline is suspended to cross a waterway or other obstacle, either by cables over the waterway or attached to the girders of a bridge designed to normally carry vehicle traffic.

Trench Installations

A trench is a long narrow ditch dug into the ground and embanked with its own soil and used for concealment and protection of line pipe. Trenches are usually dug by a backhoe or by a specialized digging machine.

Direct Burial – Installing a utility facility underground without encasement.


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Learn more about PVC pipe and its application in trenchless installations

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