The Water Department for the City of Haines City, Florida serves 20,000 customers, and oversees and maintains:
- 89 miles of water mains ranging from 2 to 30 inches
- 7 miles of reclaimed water
- 40 miles of force mains, and
- 51 miles of gravity sewer mains with 850 manholes
Utility foreman James Coker has worked for the City of Haines City since 2001. He and his team provide 24-hour support for repairs, and also support surrounding municipalities when required.
In March 2014, a gas company bore into the ground within a residential area in Dundee, a neighboring community south of Haines City. The boring went right through a 10-inch asbestos cement (AC) pipe, completely shattering it. The gas company called in the break to the municipality as approximately 4,000 residents were cut off from water supply.
When that many people don’t have water in their homes, the complaints come in fast. We had to get the pipe fixed as quickly as possible to restore water supply and minimize damage to nearby streets and properties caused by free-flowing water. — Haines City Foreman James Coker
When Coker and his team arrived, they started by contracting out the excavation of the pipe which was three feet deep. “When we were able to see the pipe up close,” said Coker, “we knew that the broken pipe had to be cut out. It was too significantly damaged to simply use a clamp for the repair. The plan was to use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and connect it with coupling at both ends to the AC pipe.”
Coker chose HYMAX couplings to connect the PVC pipe because they provided a number of different advantages.
Ease of installation
Given the urgency of the situation, a coupling that was easy to install was critical. “In this business, easier means faster,” said Coker. “The HYMAX’s two top-facing bolts meant that the coupling could be tightened quickly and with less under-pipe digging. That saves a lot of time.”
Wide OD range
Achieving a tight seal between the two pipes was also a challenge given that the connecting pipes were made of different materials (PVC and AC) and had different ODs. The HYMAX contains two gaskets to accommodate these differences. “The two gaskets allow for a high degree of flexibility,” said Coker. “When you’re loading up the truck for a repair, there’s peace of mind knowing that the coupling can adapt as needed since you can never be quite sure what piping is underneath until it’s uncovered.”
The HYMAX allows for each connecting pipe end to flex four degrees, enabling continuous dynamic angular deflection. Any shifts in the ground due to extreme weather changes or heavy traffic could be absorbed while still maintaining a strong connection.
The HYMAX also features a two-stage sealing with mechanical clasps that grip the pipe while the hydraulic sealing provides increased sealing force. This hydraulic seal increases in strength as water flow pressure increases within the pipe meaning that the connection tightens exactly when it is needed the most.
Once the damaged AC pipe was removed, a piece of PVC piping was measured and cut to size. Coker’s crew loosened the HYMAX’s 2-bolt enclosures and slid the two HYMAX couplings onto each end of the pipe. Once the couplings were attached, the pipe was lowered into the ground and the HYMAXs were slid into place to connect the PVC pipe with the AC pipe.
Space was measured between the PVC and the AC pipe within the coupling as the deflection abilities of the coupling would be limited if they touched within the HYMAX. The crew then tightened the two top-facing bolts on each HYMAX coupling to complete the repair.
“The HYMAX was ideal for repairing the water pipe,” said Coker. “It was easy to install and I didn’t have to worry about whether it would work with different piping material or ODs. Once the repair was complete, I also had confidence that it would stand up over the long-term given its ability to absorb shifts in the ground.”