MARCH 2001 

Plastics Pipe Institute's new video offers solutions to deteriorating water distribution systems

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2001 - Imagine a gallon of water. Now imagine 66 million of them being wasted every day in one American metropolitan area alone. That's what's happening in Washington D.C., according to published reports in The Washington Post. About a quarter of the water handled in the city's treatment plants leaks out through a deteriorating infrastructure which can lead to contaminated drinking water and higher water bills for taxpayers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the country is in need of about $250 billion worth of infrastructure rehabilitation in cities nationwide. That number has grown from about $140 billion just three years ago. A new video released by the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) addresses these issues and offers practical and cost-effective solutions. The 50-year-old PPI is recognized as a valuable source of information on the use of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) piping systems in pressure and non-pressure applications, including water and gas distribution, sewer and wastewater, oil and gas production and others.

"The video brings a lot of alarming realities to light," says PPI Executive Director Rich Gottwald. "But that's not the end of the story. We conclusively showed how the use of HDPE pipe in numerous applications can play a major role in rehabilitating water lines which have outlived their effectiveness." Ronald Balcastro, the manager of the West Virginia-American Water Co. reports in the video that a 4-inch hole in a section of deteriorated ductile iron pipe used in his state for a river crossing application was wasting between 3-5 million gallons of water per day. By installing a 20-inch diameter section of HDPE pipe directly into the existing 24-inch iron pipe, the problem was solved at a quarter of the cost of replacing the original pipe. The process is called sliplining. The solution used in West Virginia was successful in part because the inside of HDPE pipe is so smooth that the 20-inch HDPE was able to deliver the same flows as the deteriorated pipe. HDPE pipe is the solution to restoring an area's infrastructure to full capacity because it's a virtually leak-free system since the individual sections are fused together using heat. This results in a joint which is as strong or stronger than the pipe itself.

A range of benefits of HDPE pipe include:

  • Ease of installation and maintenance due to its light weight and flexibility.
  • Resistance to corrosion, organic growth, abrasion, acidity and alkalinity.
  • Sizes from 4-inch to 63-inch diameter.
  • Manufactured in accordance with standards of the NSF, CSA and AWWA.