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Project Profile

Weirton 18-inch Transmission Main Slipline Project

The city of Weirton, West Virginia has two existing transmission mains that supply water to its system. One is a 24-inch ductile iron pipeline and the other is an 18-inch wire wound steel pipeline. The 18-inch pipeline was installed in the 1960s. Over the years, the deterioration of this steel section has ultimately led to failures. Unfortunately, the steel section is located under downtown Weirton, with most of it buried under alleys and streets and behind and in front of commercial businesses, making repairing or replacing the pipeline problematic.

The city worked with the Thrasher Group, Inc. on potential solutions to replace the pipeline. Jonathan Carpenter, PE and Jesse Alden, PE, engineers with the Thrasher Group, evaluated options and determined sliplining was the most cost-effective solution. Sliplining involves pulling a new, smaller replacement pipe into an existing host pipe. In this case, Thrasher looked at a 14-inch pipeline to place inside the existing 18-inch steel pipeline. As long as the downsized nature of the new pipeline will still work for the operation of the pipeline, sliplining is a very simple yet effective rehabilitation option for a municipality facing limited easement space, difficult surface features or developed project sites.

Download the complete report here.

Monroe, North Carolina, a full-service municipality adjacent to Charlotte, faces a challenge that many utility providers face: how to address its aging water distribution system infrastructure while maintaining affordable rates to its rate payers. Monroe’s water distribution system has over 1.5 million feet of piping to provide clean, potable water to 35,000 citizens. Sixteen percent of the system is aging cast iron and steel pipe material - some dating back to the 1920s.

Fusion of several lengths of Fusible PVC® pipe for installation

Water Resources Department staff performed a gap analysis and developed a business plan to accelerate water main replacements. Their goal was to double the annual replacement footage. Following the lead of Colorado-based Consolidated Mutual Water Company, which was an early adopter of self-performed pipe bursting, Monroe elected to move forward with in-house pipe bursting using Fusible PVC® pipe, the most cost-effective and least disruptive method, to rehabilitate and replace the deteriorated portions of their system. Several factors supported this decision including lowest program cost, limited additional staffing required, desired trenchless approach, ease of tapping and water service reconnections to Fusible PVC® pipe, ability to upsize the diameter of the existing network and mitigating neighborhood disruption during construction. The business plan and associated budget requests were presented to the city council, and $565,000 of funding was approved to purchase the necessary equipment to initiate the program.

Water main pipe bursting allows the city to tackle difficult projects that would be more costly and that our historical dig and replace strategies cannot overcome.

Tommy Deese

Water Resources Construction Field Supervisor

City of Monroe

Temporary water service connection

Monroe’s water main replacement program set a proactive goal of one percent system replacement annually. Within the first year, starting in April 2014, this new pipe bursting program was able to replace approximately 4,000 feet of aged water piping with Fusible PVC® pipe. This was a two-thirds increase in production over their conventional, dig-and-replace rehabilitation method using open-cut excavation. Since that first year, Monroe has steadily increased pipe bursting production to an average of 7,200 feet per year with an overall pipe bursting installation total of 29,400 feet through 2018.

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Monroe is the only municipality in North Carolina to self-perform water main pipe bursting. The internal design-build process, where staff engineers partner with construction field crews, has generated efficient, flexible and cost-effective results that drives down the total installation cost versus contracting the work or using other methods.

Having static pipe bursting as an additional resource in the city’s toolbox has allowed Monroe to move towards a full level of sustainability in managing its water distribution system assets.

Russ Colbath

Water Resources Director

City of Monroe


Water System Pipe Bursting Rehabilitation Program


Monroe, North Carolina


7,200 feet avg./yr.
29,400 feet total through 2018
6- and 8-inch Fusible PVC® pipe


Pipe bursting


City of Monroe


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