Austin Water, Austin, TX

The Alliance has collaborated with and educated Austin Water staff for several years. In 2015, several city staff attended a roadshow in nearby Hutto, Texas, with industry partner Gajeske, Inc. During the roadshow, the utility head, Dr. Robert Lamb, engaged with the team and posed numerous, insightful questions. Over time, the utility conducted a few horizontal directional drills with HDPE but did not make a substantial commitment to utilizing HDPE pipe in their routine water main capital plan. In fact, the product was not approved for that use. HDPE was only used for crossings where no other material could be reasonably employed.

In 2020, the PE Alliance, along with industry partner ISCO, met with the Austin Water Pipe and Fittings Subcommittee to discuss the features and benefits of HDPE pipe, fittings and equipment and how HDPE pipe could be incorporated into the utility’s capital plan. Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, quite a few Austin Water staff regularly attended webinars hosted by the PE Alliance. As their knowledge of the product grew, their collective understanding of its behavior and installation in particular situations also expanded.

In November 2023, the PE Alliance was invited back for a custom roadshow at Austin Water facilities in Austin. The city has begun using HDPE not only for HDD crossings but also for their water main rehabilitation program.  The gradual increase of HDPE use is common, particularly in larger cities where committees select product instead of individuals. As confidence in the product grows, so does its use.

Illustration: Photo from 2013 11 Austin Water Roadshow