Groundwater contamination and the resulting source depletion are affecting communities across the United States at a rapidly growing rate. Small water systems are often overwhelmed with the high capital costs of developing new water systems. Several communities in Wisconsin recently faced with this issue. The city of De Pere, villages of Allouez, Bellevue and Howard and the towns of Lawrence and Ledgeview all rely on the St. Peters Sandstone Aquifer, a source that was identified in the late 1970’s as incapable of meeting the long-term water needs of its dependents. Their water source contained levels of radium too high for federal water quality standards that went into effect in 2007. The water systems faced the looming deadline mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. To meet the mandate, each town’s existing supply would have to be treated, requiring significant capital costs upfront as well as ongoing operating and maintenance costs. This option proved too costly and a better solution was sought.
The communities formed the Central Brown County Water Authority, the first Water Authority developed by the state of Wisconsin, and together looked at three options to provide a new drinking water supply, including buying water from the City of Green Bay or building their own source to draw, transmit, and treat Lake Michigan Water. The Authority decided the lowest value option was to purchase water from the nearby City of Manitowoc & the Manitowoc Public Utilities. A30+ mile pipeline four (4) feet in diameter was built to bring the water to the communities.
Consoer Townsend Environdyne (CTE) of Chicago was the design engineer for the Central Brown County Water authority and responsible for determining the pipeline performance requirements and project specifications. Their $110 million plan included $80 million for the pipeline portion of the project, with the remaining funds designated for improvements to the water treatment facilities. CTE specified three transmission main pipe products in accordance with American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards: Spiral Weld Steel Pipe, Pre-stressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe, and Ductile Iron Pipe. The competing contractors were allowed to bid all or any of the transmission pipe alternatives but were required to name their pipe supplier. A joint venture between PTS Constructors and Dorner, Inc. bid the steel option low on contracts G & I and named Northwest Pipe Company as their preferred supplier. The Spiral Weld Steel Pipe low bid of the joint venture of PTS Constructors and Dorner, Inc. provided the Water Authority with a $650,000 savings over the PCCP option and over $1,150,000 over the DIP option on contracts G & I alone. Other contracts using steel pipe offered similar savings over alternate products.
The Steel Water Transmission Pipe was designed in accordance with AWWA C200 and the AWWA M11 Design Guide. The Steel Pipe was manufactured with a cementmortar lining according to AWWA C205 and a dielectric tape coating per AWWA C214. O-ring gasketed joints allowed the contractors to lay the Steel Pipe using the same pipe laying techniques used with other pipe materials. The lightweight 50-foot long lengths allowed the contractors to speed the pipe laying process throughout the project. The three-layer dielectric tape coating provided a reliable corrosion resistant barrier for the Steel Water Pipe. The project specifications required all materials use bonded joints with test stations to allow for corrosion monitoring going forward. Much of the planned pipeline route had a height of cover of six to ten feet. The specifications required the same bedding for all pipe materials. Dan Dorner, President of Dorner, Inc. said, “The engineering support provided by the Northwest Pipe organization and the 50 foot lengths of pipe allowed us to exceed our pipe laying production rates on this project.”
In Wisconsin and across the country, Steel Pipe again and again offers a tremendous value to water systems of all sizes. As a custom-engineered product, every job gets a solution designed specifically for their system’s needs when they use Steel Water Pipe.