A massive water infrastructure overhaul currently taking place in the City of Martinsville, Ind., is using horizontal directional drilling and CertainTeed Certa-Lok(TM) C900/RJ PVC pipe to minimize disruption to residential areas and farmland.

The 21,000-ft project involves replacing old cast iron potable water pipes with 12-in. Certa-Lok C900/RJ, a restrained-joint PVC pipe, and connecting the community’s rural homes with the City of Martinsville water supply. The City hired engineering firm Bonar Group, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., to design the new system, with onsite support from Holloway Engineering, of Mooresville, Ind. Though a large portion of the water lines goes through farmland, there were concerns that an open-trench pipe installation would disturb farmers’ planting and harvesting, in addition to disrupting residential areas and local traffic. Because of this, Bonar Group called for the pipe to be installed via the trenchless method of directional drilling.

“It’s pretty unusual for us to do such a large amount of directional drilling in one project,” says Jeff DeWitt, P.E., project engineer for Bonar Group. “In this project, we decided to use it for the full 21,000 ft because we were in tight areas, and we didn’t want to disturb roads or utilities.”

The City of Martinsville hired contractor Infrastructure Systems Inc. (ISI), of Orleans, Ind., to install the pipe, with a crew of four and a Vermeer 33×44 directional drill. ISI began work in April, after finishing a 4,500-ft potable water installation of 8- and 10-in. Certa-Lok C900/RJ pipe in downtown Martinsville. The job, expected to complete by the end of the year, has run fairly smooth, despite delays caused in March by a tornado and in June by flooding from the nearby White River.

“The job has been relatively easy, considering the weather-related obstacles,” says Marty Goldman, project superintendent for ISI. “We’ve had good support from the City of Martinsville and our engineering firm. For what the city’s been through in the past few months, they’ve been more than cooperative. They’ve been through enough natural disasters to last them a while.”

The ease of working with the Certa-Lok C900/RJ pipe has helped the job to move along more quickly, too; 22-ft pipe lengths can be easily assembled as pullback continues or preassembled into a longer string of pipe, whenever space allows.

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