New Project: Evaluation of Corrugated HDPE Pipes Manufactured with Recycled Content

Historically, federal regulations have required that MnDOT use pipes made with all-new materials in various applications, such as redirecting stormwater under roadways. However, recent changes to these regulations have made it possible for the agency to also consider pipes made with recycled materials, which could provide MnDOT with more options when choosing products for future projects.

“If pipes made with post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content work just as well as the pipes we typically use, we’ll provide decision-makers with one more pipe material alternative to help MnDOT realize its environmental goals and reduce its carbon footprint,” said Erik Brenna, hydraulic engineer, MnDOT Bridge State Aid.


In a new study, researchers will:

  1. Identify a test site to install at least two test culverts, one manufactured with new materials and the other with 40% recycled content by weight.
  2. Procure test pipes that meet MnDOT specifications from an approved supplier.
  3. Equip the test pipes with the necessary instrumentation for testing and monitoring.
  4. Collect short-term and long-term data on the pipes’ performance using a variety of measurements and collection methods.  
  5. Compare the estimated impacts and benefits of each type of pipe, including cost, environmental effects, durability and sustainability, and provide recommendations.

Project Details

  • Estimated Start Date: 08/27/2021
  • Estimated Completion Date: 01/31/2024
  • Funding: MnDOT
  • Principal Investigator: Michael Pluimer
  • Technical Liaison: Erik Brenna

Details of the research study work plan and timeline are subject to change.

To receive email updates about this project, visit MnDOT’s Office of Research & Innovation to subscribe.

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