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Aquatherm Was the Perfect Solution to This Weighty Problem

aquatherm_bannerTroy Taylor, The Macomb Group Automation and Instrumentation Specialist, is always up for a challenge. So, when municipal utility Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) personnel sought a solution to a corroding manifold and pipe section at one of their facilities, Troy offered his services without hesitation.

The trouble was that there was no off-the-shelf manifold available to replace the deteriorating section at the BWL Wise Road plant — and a steel replacement would have taken a crane or multiple chain falls to lower into place.

Not only would this have been an extremely costly solution but another steel unit would’ve faced the same potential long-term corrosion issue — an inevitable consequence of mixing lime and soda ash with water to create a chemical reaction that softens the water.

The manifold was a part of a treatment system in which BWL employees pumped water through the piping to release flocculent trapped in filtration media during a backwash cycle.

Critical solution

With daily 10-million-gallon water throughput at the Wise Road facility, it was critical to secure a fast and effective solution. Macomb Salesperson Tim Seggerson suggested using Aquatherm polypropylene (PP-R) pipe, and Troy was asked to fabricate the manifold so the customer could install this one-off assembly.

From a rough sketch, Macomb Engineered Drawings Specialist Tom Schmidt produced a detailed drawing and a 3-D rendering for client approval. Then Troy got to work creating the manifold from 32 feet of Aquatherm Green pipe.

Green is the Aquatherm signature non-corroding PP-R product and is widely used in potable, food-grade, residential sprinkler, and chlorinated water applications. Engineered PP-R is one of the longest-lasting and most chemically inert piping materials in the world.

Plus, for the purposes of this particular challenge, it’s only one-fifth the weight of steel. That meant Troy could pre-fabricate the assembly, then easily transport it so the customer could lift and install it at the plant … except for one problem.

In-field modifications

“Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication on the dimensions of the existing manifold, which we didn’t discover until the day of installation, so we had to make in-field modifications to the unit with the help of the guys at the Lansing BWL,” Troy says.

Making these changes on-site with steel piping would have been more difficult, but with Aquatherm, Lansing BWL personnel used lightweight McElroy pressurized heat fusion equipment — the PP-R welding equivalent — to complete the job.aquatherm

It was the perfect solution: Aquatherm is guaranteed to last at least 60 years. And it has the advantage of being not only high-performance and long-lasting but also an environmentally friendly range of pipe and fittings.

Dealing with your own industrial challenge? Contact the experts at The Macomb Group by email at or by phone at 888-756-4110. For a complete list of The Macomb Group Locations, visit our website.

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