Arlington National Cemetery Water Main Replacement Program

Jan. 19, 2015

Cost: $7.6 million
Location: Arlington, Va.
Year: 2014-12-15
Size: 38,500 ft of pipe
Owner: U.S. Army
Designers: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Contractor: Murphy Pipeline Contractors

Founded in 1864, Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., is a military cemetery spanning 624 acres across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital. More than 60 years ago, 38,500 ft of cast iron water main were installed underground to support fire suppression and potable water needs at the cemetery. 

In July 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the replacement of the existing 6-in.-diameter cast iron water main with 6-in.-diameter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. 

The cemetery hosts an average of 25 to 30 funerals per day, as well as up to four million tourists and visitors each year. There were no plans to close the cemetery to burials or visitors throughout the construction process, so crews worked in five phases to replace the pipe. Out of respect, the crews stopped work and shut down equipment during funeral processions and services.

Pre-chlorinated pipe bursting was used to reduce the impact of construction to both the environment and the cemetery activity. The contractors fused 300- to 600-ft lengths of HDPE pipe away from cemetery operations, bacteriologically disinfected each section, and installed the new main. The existing main was pipe burst, a post-chlorination and flushing of the main was performed, and the new line was connected into the distribution system. The new pipe has a 100-plus year design life.

“The project progressed without incident and is a true testimony to the pre-chlorinated pipe bursting technology and the team atmosphere to replace the extensive water main system with little to no impact on the cemetery and its daily activity,” said Andy Mayer, president of Murphy Pipeline Contractors. “Teamwork was vital to ensure a successful project. The Norfolk District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Arlington National Cemetery personnel showed great resolve in working with our crews to properly plan, adapt and execute
the project.”

Project Year: 2014-12-15Contractor: Murphy Pipeline ContractorsDesigners: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk DistrictOwner: U.S. ArmyLocation: Arlington, Va.Cost: $7.6 millionSize: 38,500 ft of pipe

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