Because of leakage problems in steel pipelines on the Vogue trail; Steamboat selected the VRS®-T DI pipe system to replace all steel piping; through complex utility systems; soils with stray currents; and, steep terrain at higher elevations on this trail.
In the early 2000’s, Steamboat was having leakage problems in steel snowmaking lines installed in 1981. This corrosion was not unusual because of the age of the steel pipe; and, because the pipe passed through areas containing complex utility systems in lower regions, possibly causing stray current problems. The lines moved high pressure water uphill from a primary pump station below the base area; and, process air downhill from a main compressor/pump station on the mountain, supporting snowmaking operations on the Vogue Trail. In 2006 Steamboat decided to replace all steel piping on the Vogue trail.
Find a piping system that: would satisfy the high pressures required in all pipe sizes; would improve the longevity of the new pipe system, to reduce costly system repairs in the future; could be installed easily and quickly, especially on steeper terrain on this trail; would provide flexibility to deal with constraints in lower areas caused by major utility systems; and, would minimize environmental damage throughout the project region. More specifically:
Normal operating pressures in lower regions of the process water line are 700 psig, with surge pressures up to 850 psig.
Corrosion of any material is based on the corrosivity of the environment surrounding the material. Steel snowmaking pipe in normal alpine environments has a longevity ranging from 20 to 35 years, depending on the corrosivity of the soil. Other materials are available that will provide superior longevity than steel.
The terrain in top sections of the Vogue trail was steep, refer to the photos above. On this steeper terrain, the ease of installation will have a significant impact on completion of the project.
The bottom of the Vogue trail is adjacent to the main Vehicle Maintenance Building serving the entire mountain. A complex network of utility systems runs from this building through the lower regions of the Vogue trail, creating constraints that will have to be dealt with.
A primary goal with all pipe installations in all alpine regions is to select/use materials which protect ecosystems, and maximize the integrity and sustainability of the natural resources. Ductile Iron (DI) materials from TRM have unique characteristics, not available with other pipe systems, including:
- DI pipe is produced using +98% recyclable materials.
- Joint design requires no welding or open flames at any time during assembly/installation.
- Joint design requires much less force to assemble; and, much smaller/lighter construction equipment to complete installation.
- Easier assembly and smaller/lighter construction equipment make it possible to complete installation using a much smaller construction footprint, reducing cleanup requirements.
- Easier assembly and smaller/lighter construction equipment make it possible to complete assembly/installation in much shorter timelines, providing much longer periods for terrain clean-up and restoration.
Management at Steamboat initiated a product research study to review and evaluate other pipe systems which might improve the performance of the steel system. As part of this research study Steamboat contacted Engineers at PNP Supply, to gain more information on the VRS®-T system from TRM. Based on this product research Steamboat selected this high pressure DI pipe system from TRM for several reasons.
Advantages of the VRS®-T System:
- The VRS®-T joint design of this system satisfies a wide range of operating pressures from 25 bar (360 psig) to 100 bar (1450 psig).
- The corrosion rate of steel is +3 times faster than the rate for DI; making the longevity of this VRS®-T pipe +3 times greater than the longevity of steel pipe.
- The DUPLEX coating on all pipe provides active and passive corrosion protection, and a unique sacrificial repair mechanism for any pipe damage exposing bare metal. These characteristics extend the longevity of this pipe even more.
- Each VRS®-T joint has angular joint deflection, providing flexibility to deal with the tight constraints of the utility systems that will be encountered in lower regions of the Vogue trail
- The VRS®-T joint requires ±38% less force to assemble each joint; and, with the soft flexible gasket used in this joint, alignment of the pipe is not as critical. Both issues make it much easier to assemble this pipe in shorter timelines; and, because alignment is not as critical at each joint, it is much easier and faster to install this pipe on steep terrain; a very important benefit in top sections of this trail.
- The VRS®-T joint requires smaller lighter construction equipment; and, a smaller construction footprint to complete the entire project in a much shorter timeline. This shorter construction timeline provided more time for site cleanup and restoration; important environmental benefits.
Project Team Members:
CLIENT: Steamboat Resort
DESIGN: Alford Design Group LLC Master Plan
DIP DESIGN/SALES/FIELD SERVICES: PNP Supply LLC
CONTRACTOR: In-house Personnel