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A group photo of the specialist team responsible for the water main reconstruction project in Heimdal | Pipelife

Pipe Bursting For Non-Disruptive Renewal of Water Main in Heimdal

Apr 6th, 2022 | 4 min read

The municipality of Trondheim has been using piping solutions by Pipelife Norway in several projects, including the rehabilitation of a major potable water main in the village of Heimdal. One of the challenges of these works was replacing an aged and therefore leaking pipe. Pipe bursting, a trenchless technology, allowed to complete the task quickly and without greater disruptions to the inhabitants.

Leaking Pipe System Causes Water Loss

The old cast iron DN 150 water main at Simon Leinum’s Road was showing heavy signs of corrosion and had reached the end of its service life. However, replacing the old pipe was not straightforward, as it was crossing a densely built-up area in Heimdal.

The contractor Søbstad responsible for the project already had been working with piping solutions by Pipelife Norway in the past. To replace the problematic pipe in a way that would not be disruptive to the village infrastructure, a trenchless solution was needed. The contractor opted for pipe bursting technology, replacing the outdated main with an OD 180-mm Pipelife PE 100 RC pipe. 

Non-Invasive Construction in an Urbanized Area

Pipe bursting causes minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment. Excavation is only required for the insertion- and the exit shafts, and previously installed manholes can be used for these purposes as well. For this project, two yards were used for the shafts.

“The main reason why pipe bursting was used was that the municipality did not want extensive excavations,” explains Lars Jakob Bugten, sales engineer of Pipelife Norway.

The pipe bursting process works by attaching a new pipe to a conical-shaped bursting head which is then pulled through the existing pipeline. The bursting head expands and breaks the host pipe, while its fragments are pushed into the surrounding soil. This method allows not only replacing aged pipelines but also upsizing them.

Thanks to pipe bursting, the installation of the new 110-meter water main section in Heimdal was quick and non-disruptive. The renewed pipeline is expected to have a service life of more than 100 years.

Two installers next to pipe bursting machine | Pipelife

Toughest Pipe System for Demanding Installation Conditions

While there are several advantages of pipe bursting, this trenchless installation technology places high demands on the new pipe. Fragments of the host pipe can put point loads on the pipe, potentially damaging it and shortening its lifespan.

Pipelife’s PE 100 RC (resistant to crack) pressure pipes have a thick PP outer layer that protects the pipe against mechanical surface damage. Thanks to this protective layer, the already crack-resistant PE pipes withstand high point loads well, making them the industry’s first choice for demanding installation methods like pipe bursting or splitting.

“PE 100 RC has been developed with a no-dig type of jobs in mind. The PE material provides the necessary safety for long service life, and the outer layer ensures good protection against scratches and point loads,” sums up Bugten.

An installer preparing a PE 100 RC pipe for trenchless installation | Pipelife
Pipelife's PE 100 RC pipe ready for pipe bursting | Pipelife

Building Sustainable Infrastructure for Water Utilities

Like in the rest of Europe, municipalities in Norway are seeking ways to future-proof their potable water and wastewater networks against increasing climate challenges.

According to Norwegian Water, the national association of Norways’ water industry, one of the biggest issues is the slow pace of renewing the country’s existing water supply infrastructure. The association recommends focusing on no-dig methods that are cost-efficient and avoid increasing the sector’s climate footprint. Furthermore, material quality and future maintenance needs should be considered when developing or renewing water networks to ensure that the new systems are robust and last for at least 100 years.

The renovation in Heimdal shows that modernizing water infrastructure in developed areas can be achieved without disrupting the environment and the daily lives of local people. The renewed pipeline has put an end to the water loss in the area and will be serving Heimdal’s community long term.

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