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USU study validates longevity of PVC pipes

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Source: CVDaily Feed
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LOGAN – What is known as the Buried Structures Laboratory at Utah State University has published a study that validates the performance and longevity of PVC pipe used in water networks.

“The focus of the study was to examine how long cities could plan on pipe lasting,” said Dr. Steven Folkman of USU’s mechanical engineering faculty who was the principle investigator. “We did some tests, but a great part of what I did was look at other people’s results from around the world. 

“These were the results of different people examining different pipe they had dug up that was 50 to 60 years old and determining how well that PVC pipe has lasted.”

From there an effort was made to attempt to determine how much use it might still have in it.

“The general consensus is that you could expect 100 years or more out of PVC pipe before it would need to be replaced.”

Folkman said attempts to determine the useful span of metal pipes used in water networks depends on how corrosive the soils in which the pipe is buried.

“A previous study I did on metal pipes in highly corrosive soils showed that, on average, pipe is failing after about 50 years of use. So there is a renewed emphasis on looking at other types of pipe, particularly ones that are not affected by corrosion.”

He said PVC pipe is generally less expensive than ductile iron pipe.

“There are a lot of different costs involved. The bottom line for a city is to examine what pipe will cost the least and last the longest.”

A previous USU study on water main breaks in the US and Canada indicated PVC had the lowest rate of main breaks of all pipe materials examined.

Folkman said other types of pipe, including polyethylene, are growing in market share.