Trans Canadian Pipe Line Company

Trans Canadian Pipe Line Company Job

High-Pressure Trailer Pump Goes the Distance

One contractor’s dilemma of sealing up abandoned natural gas pipelines is being solved with a Putzmeister BSA 14000 HP-D trailer-mounted concrete pump. The trailer pump, proving its long-lasting quality and durability after 27 years of operation, is still going strong by pumping a special mix exceptionally long, 4.8-mile distances to fill horizontal pipes solid with grout/concrete—a long distance pumping feat for the record books.


The high-pressure concrete trailer pump is efficiently handling the niche application by pumping a special grout/concrete mix to intentionally plug up natural gas pipelines no longer in operation. These gas pipelines, if left alone, will likely rust, collapse and potentially cause a future void. Therefore, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., headquartered in Calgary, Canada, needed a viable solution to prevent the pipes from caving in and causing future problems.

TransCanada hired a local contractor to take on a 3.5-mile pipeline in Appleton, Wisconsin, and a 2.2- and 4.8-mile pipeline in Beloit, Wisconsin. Contractor Meade Electric Co. Inc., of Countryside, Illinois, became responsible for the task, which required dealing with pipes extending long distances. Removing the pipes from the ground would have been exorbitantly expensive. Therefore, pumping grout/concrete to seal up the pipes was deemed a more cost-effective solution. While pumping that distance had been attempted, it had not yet been conquered by the contractor.
When Meade presented the challenge to ACPA member Original Concrete Pumping of Bensenville, Illinois, its solution was to employ the high-performance features of the BSA 14000 trailer pump, a standard model in the company’s fleet. To handle the long distance, the pump could provide plenty of power with its Cat diesel engine and attain high hydraulic operating pressures up to 5,221 psi in rod side operation.


To meet the demands of the application, the setup from the trailer pump included a 90-degree elbow clamped on to the pump’s five-inch outlet with a reducer extending to a four- inch diameter concrete delivery line. The delivery line traveled 10 feet to reach the opening of a hole that housed the natural gas pipeline below, Using another 90-degree elbow, the delivery line then extended into the 10-foot deep hole where snap couplings and pins were used to hook the delivery line to the end of the gas pipeline, which was welded with a heavy-duty flange. As a precaution, a mesh screen was placed over the hopper to ensure no foreign objects would clog the pipeline when pumping the far distance underground.
Upon completion of pumping, a heavy-duty gate sealed off the pipe ends until the concrete hardened, making the contractor able to leave the gate valve in place or remove it and use again.


“The first pipeline we pumped for Meade was 3.5 miles long and located under a landfill in Appleton, Wisconsin,” says Harvey Hoyer, owner of Original. “For nine continuous hours, our 27-year-old pump effortlessly pumped 140 cubic yards of concrete through 10-inch diameter gas pipeline without a whimper, never exceeding 1,450 psi. That alone shows the quality, endurance and long- lasting life of a Putzmeister to go the distance.”
The mix design was a neat grout consisting of a nine-bag mix with very coarse sand, cement water and a small amount of aggregate, an even stronger mix than used in swimming pools today. On the last day of October 2012, the crew started at 9 am. and pumped until 6 p.m. This was longer than expected, as more grout/concrete was needed than ordered; and being late in the day, only two ready mix trucks were available to dispatch the mix. As a result the mix was delivered one truck at a time with delays in between,
“Waiting 20 minutes for the next mixer load to arrive felt like an eternity, as the pump had to push the mix from a dead stop each time we started pumping again. So although this highlights the performance of the pump, it made the job more nerve-wracking,” says Scott Schmied, Original’s service manager and pump operator.

“It was certainly a relief when concrete came out the other end of the 3.5-mile pipeline,” added Hoyer. Once the Original team had this long-distance pour successfully under its belt, it attempted a longer 4.8-mile pour in Beloit, Wisconsin, for the same contractor in December 2012.


The Beloit site involved gas pipeline running under a populated community, and the goal was to fill a six-inch diameter gas pipeline to a distance of 2.2 miles going north one day, and return to handle another pipeline going south at a longer 4.8-mile distance the next. However, the first pour was accomplished so quickly—taking only two-and-a-half hours—that both pipelines were handled the same day, for a total of seven miles of pipe accomplished in an eight-hour day.
The setup was similar to the first pipeline project at the landfill, and so was the mix with the exception of a five-hour retarder added to the first six mixer loads should concrete availability or plug-ups underground become an issue.
The trailer pump did its part and proficiently pumped a total of 133 cubic yards of grout/concrete, never exceeding 1,885 psi to attain the far distance—a distance that was not an easy straight path, but one that changed elevation nine times— traveling up and down hills as well as under a 14-foot wide creek and beneath a major road.
“It’s hard to comprehend, but five miles is a really long journey when pumping,” says Schmied. “The key was ensuring a constant, uninterrupted flow of the mix being pumped in the pipeline when going these long distances.”


Hoyer notes, ‘In the past, Meade had attempted other alternatives and employed other contractors to close up these natural gas pipelines, but without much success. So they were really impressed with the trailer pump’s performance, especially in pumping 4.8 miles, the longest distance by far that they, and we, have ever pumped.”
“The trailer pump could have easily pumped an even further distance, as it had not reached its peak performance by any means:’ adds Schmied.
As far as a long-distance record for pumping grout/concrete, it remains basically undocumented. Hoyer notes, “We went to various sources, researched the internet and even called global companies to investigate the feasibility of pumping such far lengths; and the longest distance we could find with similar conditions was just over a mile long. Based on our research, I’d say we more than achieved a long-distance world record.”

Owner: TransCanada Pipelines Ltd—Calgary, Alberta, Canada
General Contractor: Meade Electric Co., Inc.—Countryside, Illinois
Concrete Placing Contractor: Original Concrete Pumping— Bensenville, Illinois
Equipment: Putzmeister BSA 14000 HP-D trailer-mounted
concrete pump

Contact Us

Original Concrete

840 Fairway Drive,

Bensenville, IL 60106

Phone. 630-860-1100