HammerHead Trenchless lead pipe replacement kit reduces project time and cost
HammerHead Trenchless Same Path technology now includes the HydraSlitter system – an alternative to open cut replacement of lead potable water pipes from 0.5 to one inch in diameter. HammerHead launched the system during the 2022 American Waterworks Association ACE22.
A U.S. lead water line crisis
"Federal guidelines and specifications sanctioned the manufacture and use of lead pipes for potable water into the 1950s," says Josh Hood, senior manager of product management and support at HammerHead Trenchless. "And national plumbing codes permitted the use of lead water pipes into the 1970s and ‘80s."
The U.S. EPA enacted a water treatment technique regulation for lead in 1991 based on the use of orthophosphates to mitigate problems associated with lead contamination occurring from corrosive water.
Orthophosphates can create a protective mineral coating that keeps toxic lead stuck to pipes. "However," Hood said, "the protective coating they provide is not a permanent solution." Many local and state requirements call for its removal, and nearly every state has funding available to do so.
An estimated six to 10 million linear feet of lead pipe at or nearing the end of its useful life is still in service. Much of it exists as lateral service delivering potable water to private, residential customers. The U.S. goal is to replace all of it within the next 10 years, and $15 billion has been set aside from the infrastructure bill to address the lead crisis.
Hood says that HammerHead's HydraSlitter kits are specifically designed to give pipe replacement professionals a safe, quick, and reliable means of taking lead pipe laterals out of service.
The minimal equipment outlay and ease of use of HydraSlitter kits
Hood says that the HydraSlitter system is easy to learn and use. Plus, "investment cost is super low since you're only buying tooling, not a machine."
In most cases, the machine used to pull the tooling can be the same mini excavator that was used to dig the pit depending on ground conditions and length of run. Hood says, "Runs will generally be 40 to 50 feet, but 120 feet is the maximum length right now."
Benefits of trenchless replacement vs open cut
Open cut techniques not only damage tree root systems but routinely require extensive excavation to remove the full length of pipe and then restoration of sidewalks, drives, retaining walls or other surface structures after the replacement pipe installation.
A trenchless pipe-slitting operation using HydraSlitter tooling provides a significantly less invasive process of lead pipe replacement. Drawn by a cable attached to a mini excavator with the cable grip provided in the kit, HydraSlitter tooling slits the lead pipe while simultaneously installing new product pipe into place as it progresses.
HydraSlitter kits help reduce project time and cost
Since the replacement pipe follows in the same path as the existing pipe, a trenchless replacement process greatly reduces disruption to daily routines, traffic, or commerce. It reduces project time and cost by minimizing excavation, demolition, and restoration requirements. It has no impact on tree root systems and significantly mitigates the risk of interfering with other utilities in shared easements.
Availability of HydraSlitter kits
Contractors can now select from two full-system HydraSlitter kits online. Contents include the appropriate blades, expanders, cable, duct-rodder, and cable grip for the excavator, as well as a tooling assembly selection chart and instructions.