looking for info on bituminous fiber duct (BFD)

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jcanuck

Member
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for more information on bituminous fiber ducts (BFD), which are sometimes found in underground conduits for cables. I believe they were laid sometime in the 1960s.

I'm interested in the composition and any info on the manufacture or...anything and everything, actually. I'm concerned about potential asbestos content in these BFD conduits, and trying to make sure that the guys working with this material are safe.

I haven't been able to find too much about this yet.

Anyone have any information or is able to point me in the right direction?

Thanks!
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
I installed it back in the 70s and I have run into it in existing ductbanks. We called it Orangeburg. Not sure of spelling. It seemed to be layers of paper and some tar like product. The black tar may have been what roofers called pitch. It seemed more britle than hardened tar. Pitch is harder. The stuff used to get broken all the time before the concrete pour because it very brittle

I found a big drawbak to re-using old Orangeburg is that the layers of paper tend to come apart and clog the conduit if it sat in water. We used to have to rotorooter the inside of the conduit to make the duct usable. We rotorootered miles of it at a Navy base back in the 80s. Most of it was 3 inch and 3-1/2 inch. If it has asbestos I was never made aware of that and I can't think of why it would have.
 

dana1028

Senior Member
I installed it back in the 70s and I have run into it in existing ductbanks. We called it Orangeburg. Not sure of spelling. It seemed to be layers of paper and some tar like product. The black tar may have been what roofers called pitch. It seemed more britle than hardened tar. Pitch is harder. The stuff used to get broken all the time before the concrete pour because it very brittle

I found a big drawbak to re-using old Orangeburg is that the layers of paper tend to come apart and clog the conduit if it sat in water. We used to have to rotorooter the inside of the conduit to make the duct usable. We rotorootered miles of it at a Navy base back in the 80s. Most of it was 3 inch and 3-1/2 inch. If it has asbestos I was never made aware of that and I can't think of why it would have.
Great info - I am familiar with this product [Orangeburg]being used for drain/sewer pipes in the early '50s...hard to believe some of this stuff is still in use today.
 

jcanuck

Member
Thanks for the replies!

I've been looking more into this Orangeburg product, and it seems like there's a service life of about 50 years, so I guess its not the best material to have in use now.

I'm still trying to look into the composition and manufacturing. Any idea what happened to the companies that made this conduit?
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks for the replies!

I've been looking more into this Orangeburg product, and it seems like there's a service life of about 50 years, so I guess its not the best material to have in use now.
To me the conduit just served as a form for making a concrete duct or bank of ducts. It does have that pesky nack for blistering and clogging the duct but if you clean out the paper and tar the concrete duct should last much longer than 50 years under the right conditions
 

jcanuck

Member
To me the conduit just served as a form for making a concrete duct or bank of ducts. It does have that pesky nack for blistering and clogging the duct but if you clean out the paper and tar the concrete duct should last much longer than 50 years under the right conditions
Interesting. A lot of the references to Orangeburg assumes use as a sewer pipe, although it appears that it was also used extensively for underground electrical conduits. I imagine that without the constant flow of water, the likelihood of blistering would be lower.
 
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