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PVC Makes Great Strides in Water Infrastructure

Feb 2016

This is excerpted from the Municipal Water Leader November/December Issue’s “PVC Pipe for Performance and Value to Water Utilities,” and is part four of a four-part series.

Despite meeting or exceeding industry standards, some pipe materials are excluded from consideration during procurement processes. Yet considering all materials introduces competition and enables procurement decisions that provide the best water infrastructure for taxpayer dollars. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has had success with this approach, achieving value for taxpayers in programs for rural water and sewer systems since the 1970s. Dick Doyle, president of the Vinyl Institute (VI), said, “The VI and our colleagues at the PVC Pipe Association are asking that Congress replicate the USDA’s competitive procurement policies for funding of state and municipal water and sewer infrastructure projects.”

Doyle added, “We are very excited that the PVC pipe industry has completed the first International Organization for Standardization–compliant, peer reviewed, industry-wide environmental product declaration (EPD) for water and sewer pipes in North America, which benchmarks the impacts of PVC pipe products across their life cycles. It is fully transparent and verified by NSF International* as an industry best practice. 

“PVC’s smooth interior surface minimizes energy consumption for pumping due to reduced friction forces, and its 100-year-plus life means that it has to be replaced less often, resulting in additional environmental impact reductions. Finally, the EPD unequivocally demonstrates that PVC pipe is the safest and most durable material over its lifetime for the distribution of clean water for public consumption.”

*NSF International led the development of the American National Standards for all materials and products that treat or come in contact with drinking water. In 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency replaced its own drinking water product advisory program with the NSF International standards.