Life on the Water Line

March 19, 2014
Eastern Pennsylvania communities to receive secondary water supply

About the author: Charlie Ingram is a freelance writer. Ingram can be reached at [email protected].

Together, American Flow Control and American Ductile Iron Pipe are providing a package of valves, hydrants and pipe for a new water line to serve the eastern Pennsylvania communities of North Wales and Chalfont Borough.  

The new water line will provide a secondary water supply for both the North Wales Water Authority (NWWA) and neighboring North Penn Water Authority from the NWWA’s Forest Park Treatment Plant located in Chalfont Borough, Bucks County. The new line will allow these authorities to better manage the overall flow and storage of their respective systems and enable them to conduct routine maintenance on the existing supply lines. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2014. 

The job requires more than 10 miles of ductile iron pipe, as well as 25 large-diameter Series 2500 resilient wedge gate valves and 20 Darling B-84-B fire hydrants.

“The new line was long overdue,” said Raymond “Jay” Berry, director of operations for the NWWA.

Hydrants & Valves

Berry said the NWWA was using hydrants and valves when he began working there 26 years ago, and this project marks the first time NWWA used American Ductile Iron Pipe. “The majority of hydrants in our system are American Flow Control [AFC] hydrants,” Berry said. “We used the old B-50-B hydrants for many years, and then they got us to switch to the B-84-B. Our AFC hydrants provide the kind of performance and maintenance history we’re looking for. They are superb products, and I don’t have to stock a variety of hydrant parts.

“The NWWA has chosen AFC valves because of their great flow characteristics and their long-term low-cost maintenance history. In our experience, these valves have been virtually trouble free.” 

Iron Pipe

NWWA’s distribution pipeline is mostly iron pipe, and all of its transmission lines are iron pipe. 

“We have cast iron in our system that’s 120 years old. As such, we have chosen a proven material to avoid risks. We are in the service business, so we have to be service oriented. We certainly want to avoid service interruptions resulting from inferior materials.”

Berry noted that because the utility deals with a food-grade material—water—he prefers ductile iron pipe. “You don’t have any potential leaching of materials from the pipe when you’re using ductile, which could result from using less stable materials,” Berry said. 

Fastite and Flex-Ring ductile iron pipe was supplied in 30-, 36- and 42-in. diameters for the Forest Park Transmission Line expansion. Because of heavy traffic in the area, which is near Philadelphia, construction of the waterline involved multiple jack-and-bore procedures to minimize traffic impacts. The project included construction of a number of interconnections into the NWWA’s existing water system, as well as stub-outs to allow for future interconnections.

One jack-and-bore involved tunneling 140 ft under a busy main street intersection in downtown Chalfont; another, using 42-in. ductile iron pipe, bored 240 ft under Walnut Street and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Railroad line in New Britain Township; a third involved a 400-ft bore under a recently completed section of Route 202 Parkway in Warrington Township.

Dual-Contract Project

Work on the project was divided into two contracts: Michael F. Ronca & Sons of Bethlehem, Pa., is general contractor for roughly half of the work, and Almeida & Hudak Utility Contractor of Harleysville, Pa., is general contractor for the other half. The hydrants and valves were sold by LB Water, which is headquartered in Selinsgrove, Pa., and has eight full-service locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

NWWA has more than 25,000 customers in its service area, which includes seven municipalities in two counties. Capacity at the Forest Park Treatment Plant is 40 million gal per day, shared by NWWA and the North Penn Water Authority. 

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About the Author

Charlie Ingram

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