Plastics Pipe Institute Annual Winners Announced

The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI), the major North American trade association representing the plastic pipe industry, has announced the winners of its Projects and Members of the Year for 2023. The awards were presented during the group’s annual worldwide meeting held in Florida, May 13 – 16, 2024 with 348 members attending, which included a record number of new members. Projects that won ranged from the largest residential project in New York State to use a geothermal heat-pump system to constructing a fish habitat with HDPE conduit made from recycled content.

“This year there were a very diverse group of projects submitted,” stated PPI President, David M. Fink. “It is amazing the vast variety of innovative undertakings that can be accomplished with our members’ products in addition to those helping to improve our nation’s infrastructure.

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“It was very gratifying to see that there were 70 first time attendees at this meeting. Our previous recorded was 15. We attribute this growth to the programs led by our staff and members that support many industries. And it’s simple to understand: people want to be part of a successful, viable and altruistic organization.”

Each year the PPI membership reviews and votes on Project of the Year and a Member of the Year for each of the five PPI divisions – Building & Construction, Drainage, Energy Piping Systems, Municipal & Industrial, and Power & Communications. The PPI Member of the Year Award is for an individual’s outstanding support and contributions to the association and the industry.

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PPI Projects of the Year

PPI Building & Construction Division Project of the Year
• 1 Java Street Geothermal System, Brooklyn, NY
• PPI Member Company: Versaprofiles Products, Inc. Saint-Lazare-de Bellechasse, Canada

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The 1 Java Street project is the largest mixed-use development in New York State to incorporate a ground source geothermal system for heating and cooling. When completed in 2025, there will be more than 800 residential apartments plus retail spaces in the revitalized city block of Brooklyn waterfront property. The geothermal system included 321 vertical boreholes drilled 499 feet into the ground, spaced 15 feet apart with a 1 ¼ inch diameter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) PE4710 pipe inserted into each. A total of 326,000 feet was used in the boreholes with another 31,000 feet of HDPE pipe in various diameters used for lateral distribution. Manufacturer of the pipe, Versaprofiles, received the Project of the Year Award from the Building and Construction Division of the Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc.

PPI Drainage Division Project of the Year
• University of Alabama Stadium SubAir Drainage System
• PPI Member Company: Prinsco, Willmar, MN

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Upgrading the turf at the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide stadium also required a non-typical underground drainage system. Because it is common for the Tide to be in playoff games, the decision was made to have a system that would also provide heat to support grass growth in the cooler months. Hundreds of feet of both perforated and non-perforated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) Goldflo® dual-wall pipe from Prinsco was used, winning the Project of the Year Award for the PPI member company.

PPI Energy Piping Systems Division Project of the Year
• Baton Rouge Zoo
• PPI Member Company: Evonik Corporation, Piscataway, NJ

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To replace the badly corroded steel gas pipeline that was suspended over a canal at the entrance of the Baton Rouge Zoo, the Gas Utilities District #1 used 1,000 feet of PA12, a high-performance thermoplastic polyamide pipe that could handle a MAOP of up to 250psi. Because of its strength and flexibility, the pipe was able to be installed underground using horizontal directional drilling (HDD), which reduced costs and enhanced safety, both during installation and operation. The manufacturer of the PA12 material, Evonik, received the Project of the Year Award for the Energy Piping Systems Division of PPI.

PPI Municipal & Industrial Division Project of the Year
• South Claiborne Potable Water Transmission Line, New Orleans
• PPI Member Company: AGRU America, Inc., Georgetown, SC

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New Orleans’ aging infrastructure has led to numerous boil orders, unstable water pressure, and roadway/pavement damage from water main breaks. To rectify these issues, the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans launched an 11-project effort in 2023 to replace its 100- to 120-year-old water transmission mains with a modern piping system. By using CompressionFit trenchless technology and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, the utility estimated an overall 25 percent savings compared with other methods.

The project called for 4,400 feet of 48-inch and 1,150 feet of 30-inch AGRU HDPE pipe, installed by Municipal Advisory Board member, Murphy Pipeline Contractors. Especially important to this low-lying section of New Orleans was the pipe’s corrosion resistance, flexibility, durability, and lower seismic susceptibility than other piping materials such as concrete or steel. Pipe manufacturer AGRU received the Project of the Year Award from the Municipal & Industrial Division of PPI.

PPI Power & Communications Division Project of the Year
• Lake Conroe (Texas) Fish Habitat Project
• PPI Member Company: Petroflex North America, Ltd, Gainesville, TX

To construct an aquatic habitat for the fish in Lake Conroe, 7,000 feet of 1-1/4 diameter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conduit made from recycled products was used. These synthetic branches will accumulate algae and plankton to feed the numerous species of fish in the lake. The HDPE conduit has been found to be superior to the use of small trees, limbs, and brush because it will not deteriorate and can be easily configured into various shapes. The pipe’s manufacturer and PPI member company, Petroflex, received the Project of the Year Award from the association’s Power and Communications Division.

PPI Members of the Year

PPI Building & Construction Division Member of the Year
• Steve Sandstrum
Borealis

Sandstrum is a long-term member of PPI serving in many roles, including leadership positions. He recently led the BCD R&D Task Group that developed PPI MS-8, “Model Specification for Polypropylene Pressure Piping Systems”, which published in late 2023.Sanddstrum is currently chairing the BCD Project to develop an ASTM standard practice for polypropylene fusion, which is anticipated to publish in 2024. He is also the Chair of the Plastics Pipe Institute’s Sustainability Committee.

PPI Drainage Division Member of the Year
• Stefan Lupke, president
Corma, Inc.

Lupke has been participating in Drainage Division activities since the Corrugated Plastic Pipe Association joined PPI at the turn of the century. Corma, where he serves as president and CEO, has been an integral part of the CPPA and PPI for decades, routinely sponsoring events at PPI meetings. Lupke has served on the Drainage Management Committee for multiple terms as a Supplier Representative. In 2020 he agreed to serve as Vice Chair, and in 2022 was voted Chair of the Drainage Management Committee, the first Supplier Representative to do so for the division and is a member of the association’s Board of Directors.

PPI Energy Piping Systems Division Member of the Year
• Dell Doyle, senior technical Service & Development Scientist
Dow Chemical Company

Doyle has served on the association’s Board of Directors as Advisory Council Representative. For the Energy Piping Systems Division, he has served the division in a variety of capacities and is highly active in recruiting companies to join PPI. Additionally, he has championed efforts through PPI to generate data on the effects of hydrocarbon swelling and HDPE fusion, an endeavor for PPI to provide oil and gas companies with guidance on fusing hydrocarbon impregnated lines in service.

PPI Municipal & Industrial Division Members of the Year
• Mike Anson, GF Central
• Billy Conatzer, McElroy Manufacturing
• Jeremy Harris, Plasson USA
• Jeff Wright, GF Central

Four members of the division were voted Member of the Year for their continued work and support of the group’s Municipal Advisory Board’s fusion and electrofusion training program. This team provided hands-on, personal instruction during the sessions at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay.

PPI Power & Communications Division Member of the Year
• Jennifer Reeves
Petroflex North America, Ltd.

Reeves is Vice-Chair and responsible for the finances of the division as well as serving on the PCD Management Committee. She has been active in many division committees and projects, including the PCD Education Committee, Communications Committee, the revision to the HDPE Conduit Model Specification, plus a new document on conduit joining, and sits on the PPI Sustainability Steering Committee.