Portable shelter improves pipe-fusing in cold climates

RED DEER, Alberta — Pitching a tent is the typical remedy when trying to heat fuse thermoplastic pipe in cold climates. But projects are often delayed or even shut down because a tent — no matter how durable — is never completely draft-proof.

Freezing temperatures make it much more difficult to keep heaters at the right temperature for fusing pipe ends together, and contaminants easily blow in with the wind which prevents operators from making a good joint.

Jason and Diane Knibb of Knibb Developments know all about the challenges. They have worked on numerous water and sewer system projects during the arctic winters in Alberta. So when the McElroy QuickCamp™ System was made available this year, they decided to take it for a test drive at their jobsite in Red Deer where they are constructing a 10-kilometer wastewater pipeline using large-diameter, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe.

The QuickCamp — made in the much more temperate climate of Tulsa, Oklahoma — is designed to protect both the pipe fusion operator and fusion joints from outside conditions to help make jobsites more productive even when the weather is not cooperating.

Operators fuse pipe within the QuickCamp shelter which is lighted, insulated and climate-controlled so that operators can fuse pipe day or night under any condition. Designed with patent-pending pipe seals to keeps out the elements, it creates a much more workable environment.

The QuickCamp ensures project performance is maintained regardless of outside influences.

Jason Knibb

The Knibbs found the QuickCamp to be the perfect application for fusing up to 36″ pipe and liked the convenience of the QuickCamp shelter versus a portable tent.
“Despite our best efforts the wind blows right through a tent. It’s not a very secure structure and it doesn’t have a hard floor. We usually have to build a floor,” said Jason Knibb. “Working in the QuickCamp is like working in a laboratory.”

Ian Powell, president of A.H. McElroy, which provided onsite technical expertise, said that fusion projects take far longer to complete in cold, inclement weather based on past experience.

“The QuickCamp ensures project performance is maintained regardless of outside influences,” he said.

Knibb’s operator fused pipe within the QuickCamp on a McElroy 900 carriage which can be moved by 18″ so that the pipe ends can be adjusted for proper face-off when pulling pipe through the shelter.

Sticks of pipe were guided by remote control into the QuickCamp from McElroy’s MegaMc® PolyHorse® which is a series of pipe racks and hydraulically-powered pipe stands strong enough to hold the amount of pipe fused in a day which helps boost productivity.

It’s a heavy load too. Just one stick of the thick-walled pipe weighed about 6,000 pounds.

As each stick of pipe was fused, it was pulled from the QuickCamp onto a series of MegaMc Pipe Stands which prevents damage to the pipe as a new stick of pipe is guided into the entrance of the QuickCamp. Because the pipe stands are height adjustable, the fused pipe stayed level with the incoming pipe and the operator was able to make a square face-off and quality fusion.

Throughout the job, the QuickCamp stayed in a fixed position and the growing length of fused pipe was able to be staged in one location which saves time and makes the fusion process much easier for the operator.

Deploying the QuickCamp, which arrived as a 20′ by 8′ cargo container, was also a unique but relatively quick process. It was easily unfolded into a 21’8″ by 24’7″ shelter which also has room for an office, breakroom or storage.

“We were able to set up the laydown yard, fusing equipment and the MegaMc® PolyHorse® to complete a 3,300-meter (11,000′) stretch of 800mm (32″) HDPE. This process was completed in 20 days, a noticeable increase in productivity,” said Diane Knibb. “We think it’s a good product and will become the standard for fusing equipment in the future.”

The Knibbs’ construction of the 10-kilometer wastewater pipeline is part of the development of the Central Alberta Regional Wastewater (CARWW) System. It is just one leg of what will be a 92-kilometer wastewater pipeline that was commissioned by the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission (SRDRWC) in an effort to serve the expanding population and economic activity in the central Alberta region.

When complete, the CARWW System will accommodate 150,000 residents in the towns of Olds, Bowden, Innisfail, Penhold as well as Mountain View County and Red Deer County. That population is expected to balloon to more than 300,000 residents in the next 25 years, with about half the population in the City of Red Deer and the rest in the surrounding towns which further increases the need for wastewater treatment capacity.

It’s a huge undertaking. John Van Doesburg, a project manager for the SRDRWC, said it is believed to be one of the longest raw wastewater lines in the world which will include construction of four major lift stations.

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) length of drills can be 1,500 meters in certain environmentally-sensitive areas of the project. One of the areas is a natural gas compression station. The pipeline will be bored underneath this facility at a depth of 5.5 meters.

Another goal of the CARWW System is to protect a drinking water source — the Red Deer River — which is now an environmental necessity.

The CARWW System will eliminate municipal wastewater discharges into the Red Deer River downstream of Dickson Dam and upstream of the City of Red Deer Water Treatment Plant Intake.

All of the wastewater from the jurisdictions will eventually be transmitted to the Red Deer Wastewater Treatment Plant before it is discharged into the Red Deer River. The treatment plant itself will be undergoing significant upgrades to increase its capacity to 72,500 cubic meters a day and it will offer a higher level treatment.

Completion is set for July 2015.

For more information about the QuickCamp, go to www.mcelroy.com/quickcamp.

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