NWP in NYC: Bringing New Coating Options to the Big Apple

Applying heat shrink sleeve to poly coated 36-inch pipe section demonstration>




Hands-on demonstration for the New York DEP and DDC showcases benefits of polyurethane coating with heat shrink sleeves on joints.

Coatings are the first line of defense against corrosion and the elements for buried steel pipeline, and a critical specification for any water transmission project. Since the 1980s, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has specified tape coating (AWWA C214, C209) for trunk main work and hand taping at joints. While the multi-layered cold-applied tape coating process results in a lightweight and reliable bonded coating, advancements in other coating options including polyurethane (AWWA C222) provide equal or greater protection and long-term performance. Applied in a single coat process, polyurethane is tough, resilient, extremely abrasion resistant, and cures in just minutes. In the field, heat shrink sleeves bond with the factory-applied poly coating for a strong and cohesive seal around joints.

Northwest Pipe Company has supported a variety of major water transmission projects in NYC over the years with engineered systems manufactured at our plant in Parkersburg, WV. This close working relationship and understanding of the City’s unique and evolving project needs informed our engineering team’s recommendation to consider updating their specifications to include polyurethane coating and heat shrink sleeve wrapping at field-welded joints.

After two pandemic-related delays, this past May we were able to bring a demo directly to New York City for 40 DEP and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) key personnel. Our Parkersburg plant produced and shipped a 36-inch diameter pipe section for the event. Jim Cheeseman, Northwest Pipe Company Field Representative provided a hands-on demonstration and Jeff Bertsche, Sales Manager at Canusa-CPS (now SFL), installed a heat shrink sleeve over a joint, showcasing the ease and speed of installation versus the hand taping method.  Meanwhile, Rich Mielke, Senior Director of Engineering at Northwest Pipe Company, presented key features of the polyurethane and heat shrink sleeve coating methods, a comparison of current taping methods, and additional insights through an in-depth Q&A.

The engaging demonstration garnered much interest from the DEP and DDC personnel, forging the way for updated specifications to benefit future New York City water infrastructure projects.

Aerial view of New York City
Aerial View of New York City | The New York City drinking water supply system is the largest unfiltered water supply in the US, providing approximately 1.2 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water a day.
Applying heat shrink sleeve to 36-inch diameter steel pipe joint
Jeff Bertsche of Canusa-CPS (now SFL) installing a heat shrink sleeve around a 36-inch diameter joint section.