Product Spotlight: Trenchless alternative available to address lead pipe water service crisis

Product Spotlight: Trenchless alternative available to address lead pipe water service crisis

As many as 10 million U.S. households, schools and care facilities get their drinking water through lead pipes, and each pipe can cost thousands of dollars to replace. Despite those challenges, the U.S. goal is to replace all lead service laterals in the next 10 years. HammerHead Trenchless designed the HydraSlitter system to help.

The kits provide a minimally invasive alternative to opencut replacement of lead potable water pipe 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Kits arrive within a few days containing all tooling and accessories needed for that specific job, including the appropriate slitter, blades, expanders, cable, duct-rodder and cable grip for the excavator, as well as a tooling assembly selection chart and instructions.

“Federal guidelines and specifications sanctioned the manufacture and use of lead pipes for potable water into the 1950s,” says Josh Hood, senior manager of product management and support at HammerHead Trenchless. “And national plumbing codes permitted the use of lead water pipes into the 1970s and ’80s. It was not until 1986 that congress finally banned lead for use in new installation/construction.”

Hood says HydraSlitter kits are specifically designed to give pipe replacement professionals a safe, quick and reliable means of taking lead lateral lines out of service. “The system is simple, it is easy to learn and easy to use,” he says. “Plus, investment cost is super low, since you’re only buying tooling, not a machine.”

A trenchless pipe-slitting operation using HydraSlitter tooling provides a significantly less invasive process for lead pipe replacement. Drawn by a cable attached to a mini excavator with the cable grip provided in the kit, HydraSlitter tooling slits the lead pipe while simultaneously installing new pipe into place as it progresses. Since the replacement pipe follows in the same path as the existing pipe, a trenchless replacement process greatly reduces disruption to daily routines, traffic or commerce. It reduces project time and cost by minimizing excavation, demolition and restoration requirements. It has no impact on tree root systems and significantly mitigates the risk of interfering with other utilities in shared easements.

In most cases, the machine used to pull the tooling can be the same mini excavator that was used to dig the pit depending on ground conditions and length of run.

“Runs will generally be 40 to 50 feet, but 120 feet is the maximum length right now.” 800-331-6653;


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