Pipe materials study finds PVC has lowest failure rate

Sponsored by

LOGAN, UT, Apr. 19, 2012 -- The Utah State University (USU) Buried Structures Laboratory has published a comprehensive study on water main break rates for the United States and Canada. In it, water main break rates are calculated for all pipe materials used in the transport of water to create a measurement to judge pipe performance and durability. The study is expected to help prudent decision-making as it relates to repairing and replacing underground pipes.

The study "Water Main Break Rates In the USA and Canada: A Comprehensive Study," conducted by Dr. Steven Folkman, co-author of Buried Pipe Design, looked at 188 utilities representing approximately 10% of the nation's installed water main pipe network.

The study found that PVC pipe has the lowest overall failure rate when compared to cast iron, ductile iron, concrete, steel and asbestos cement pipes.

The study also found that corrosion is a major cause of water main breaks. About 75% of all utilities have corrosive soil conditions and high proportion of old cast iron and ductile iron pipes, making corrosion the second highest cause of water main pipe failure in the United States. When comparing between older cast iron and newer ductile iron, thinner-walled ductile iron is experiencing failures more rapidly.

Other findings include a new national metric of 264 people per 1 mile of pipe connections regardless of utility size. The average age of failing water mains is 47 years old and 22% of all water mains are over 50 years old.

The study also found that 8% of all installed water mains are beyond their useful life. The use of trenchless technologies will continue to increase with directional drilling as the most widely accepted technology with a higher satisfaction rating. Seventy-four percent of utilities are considering it in the near future.

This study contributes to the continuing efforts of the EPA's Aging Water Infrastructure (AWI) research and the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

The Water Main Break Rates In the USA and Canada: A Comprehensive Study can be found at:
http://www.neng.usu.edu/mae/faculty/stevef/UtahStateWaterBreakRatesHR.pdf (High resolution)

Dr. Steven Folkman is a registered Professional Engineer, a member of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F17 Plastic Piping Systems, a member of AWWA and a member of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Culverts and Hydraulic Structures, and has oversight of the prestigious Utah State University's Buried Structures Laboratory (USU - BSL). USU - BSL has been involved in analysis and testing of all kinds of pipe and associated structures for over 50 years and is recognized as one of two laboratories in the U.S for performing large scale tests on buried pipes. Dr. Folkman's expertise includes structural dynamics, linear and nonlinear finite element analysis utilizing soil/structure interaction, and testing.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Partnership enables USGS to help assess water resources in Afghanistan

For the past decade, USGS scientists have shared their expertise with the Afghanistan Geological Survey in efforts to establish an inventory of Afghanistan's water resources. As such, a new fact sheet details how these efforts help the country quantify and monitor these resources.

Xylem awarded contract for Southeast Asia run-of-river hydropower dam

A contract worth $19.6 million has been awarded to Xylem to provide custom-made Flygt pumps for the Xayaburi run-of-river hydropower dam in the country of Laos in Southeast Asia.

Rare collaboration aims to reduce nutrient pollution in Mississippi River Basin

The U.S. Water Alliance issued a report highlighting common ground and innovative strategies between agriculture and water and wastewater utilities to reduce nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin.

Desalination global news round-up

Join WWi chief editor Tom Freyberg for a round-up of the latest global desalination news stories in the video newscast below...

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA