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Knowledge and Networking

The Largest Gathering of PVC Pipe and Fitting Manufacturers in the World

Each year the Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association members gather for our Annual Meeting – the largest gathering of PVC pipe and fitting manufacturers in the world. 

Presentations cover topics ranging from market assessments for PVC pipe, vinyl resin and related chemicals, to sustainability, technology, legislative affairs and product certification. Participants come from around the world, and their ranks include pipe and fitting manufacturers, resin and additive providers, equipment manufacturers, affiliated associations, and non-profit certification agencies. Speakers include academics, business analysts, engineers, municipal officials, taxpayer advocates, public affairs specialists, etc.



45th Annual Meeting

February 27 - March 1, 2017

Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains

Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains
Scottsdale, AZ



Reports that Flint, Michigan’s water system was dangerously contaminated by lead has brought into sharp focus the need for better materials and practices in the management of America’s water systems. The problems afflicting Flint’s underground water infrastructure also threaten cities throughout the U.S. To keep a tragedy like the one in Flint from happening elsewhere, it is important to understand what really happened there and to appreciate what cash-strapped municipalities can do on their own to keep their constituents from suffering a similar fate. Flint’s water system was a disaster waiting to happen. Lack of open competition for piping used in Flint’s water system blocked innovation and the continued use of corrosion-prone underground piping were key factors in the disaster.

Corrosion-Prone Iron Piping Systems Are Too Risky to Operate Safely

Iron piping is not only failing due to corrosion but it’s increasingly associated with public health and safety issues. Recent studies show that the cement mortar lining used in ductile iron pipes is a potential source of water contamination and that there is an association between iron corrosion and increased levels of lead in water. Cash-strapped municipalities are forced to use their limited resources in an increasingly futile effort to combat corrosion at a price that will keep water safe and affordable for ratepayers. Professor Marc Edwards, of Virginia Tech's Environmental and Water Resources Research Program attributes Flint’s disaster to "out of control corrosion of its water distribution system" and describes corrosion control as "the most expensive environmental engineering problem in the country.” Dealing with corrosion is expensive because leaking pipes not only need to be continually repaired and replaced but also need to be treated with chemicals that build up a protective coating inside the pipes to keep water safe enough to drink.

Corroded underground iron pipes can also be a breeding ground for human pathogens. Chlorine is added to water to prevent growth of microorganisms that cause disease. Iron corrosion consumes chlorine, making it more likely that harmful bacteria will grow in the water. This contributed to the May 2000 E. coli outbreak in Walkerton, Ontario, which killed seven people and made thousands sick. It may also have played a role in the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint. Officials in St. Bernard Parish, LA targeted 31 old cast-iron pipe segments for replacement in an effort to rid the local water system of a deadly brain-eating amoeba. There is also growing concern about high levels of iron and manganese in water carried by iron pipe. A test sample recently taken in St. Joseph, LA found more than 230 times EPA's recommended level for iron in drinking water.

Iron Pipes are an Environmental Hazard

Anti-corrosion chemicals used in iron piping systems can create their own environmental and health hazards. Utility operators typically add orthophosphates, a corrosion-control agent, to chlorinated water. Phosphate-laden drinking water can lead to conflicts with phosphorous discharge limits at wastewater treatment plants and with allowable phosphorous runoff levels into nearby lakes and streams. Elevated levels of phosphorous contribute to excessive growth of algae. Blue-green algal blooms can produce a wide array of neurotoxins, liver toxins, and skin irritants.

Open the Bidding Process

Water systems are capital-intensive operations, where every dollar spent on plugging leaks and fighting a losing war against corrosion is a dollar not invested in upgrading life-sustaining water networks. One way municipalities can lessen the financial burdens facing them is to remove the barriers many of them, including Flint, have that keep cost effective, lead-free and corrosion-proof technologies like PVC piping from participating in the competitive bidding process for pipe replacement. The U.S. Conference of Mayors published a report in 2013 warning about the higher costs utilities will pay due to a lack of open competition in bidding for underground water infrastructure projects.

PVC Pipe: Sustainable, Safe, Durable

Flint and other communities saddled with the burden of costly, old technology iron piping systems need look no further than right next door to the City of Burton, and to tens of thousands of other communities across North America that use PVC pipe. Burton is contiguous to Flint and, until recently, its leaking, corroded underground iron pipes were decaying at an alarming rate. Like Flint and many other communities across America, Burton was saddled with procurement specifications which excluded any alternative solution or technology from bidding. Facing many of the same financial constraints that bedevil Flint, Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko petitioned and fought Genesee County for her city to be allowed to have a procurement process for pipe replacement that included competitive bidding. Upon completion in 2019, Burton will have replaced 19 miles of corroded iron piping with lead-free, non-corrosive PVC pipe at a cost $2.2 million lower than the nearest bidder. By following Mayor Zelenko’s example, Flint and other cities across America can take a giant step toward providing residents with safe drinking water, and at an affordable rate made possible by open competition and sustainable piping materials.

Join us as we discuss the issues facing municipal water and sewer utilities in post-Flint America and PVC pipe’s growing recognition as the material of choice for sustainable, safe and durable underground water infrastructure. 

Sunday, February 26
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Pre-Meeting Reception – Palm Court

Monday, February 27
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast – Alicante Patio
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon Joint Member Meeting/Presentations – Valencia II-VII-I
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Spousal Orientation - Granada
Free Afternoon    
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Welcome & Networking Reception – Splash Patio

Tuesday, February 28
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast – Alicante Patio
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon Presentations – Valencia II-VII-I
1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Uni-Bell Golf Tournament – Grayhawk Golf Course
Free Evening    

Wednesday, March 1
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast – Alicante Patio
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon Association Reports/Presentations – Valencia II-VII-I
12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Board of Directors' Meeting and Luncheon – Bella Vista
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Closing/Wrap-Up Reception – Palm Court

Note: Attire is business casual/slacks unless specified otherwise. Badges must be worn at all social events and presentations.

Among the topics our speakers will address are the following:
  • The latest on PVC resin and pipe markets in North America and Europe;
  • Expanding markets for PVC pipe;
  • Optimizing water distribution networks by minimizing real system losses;
  • A look at the work done by the American Society of Civil Engineers;
  • Rational design procedures for de-rating a PVC pipe’s pressure class;
  • Responding to stakeholder concerns regarding misinformation;
  • Design and installation considerations for PVC pipe used in irrigation;
  • Appropriate PVC pipe wall thickness to accommodate maximum operating pressure and repeated surge pressures;
  • Addressing clean water availability;
  • Upgrading America’s water infrastructure and environmental injustices;
  • An overview of the National Association of Sewer Service Companies and its pipeline assessment certification program and much more…

See you at the Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, Arizona!



Update from the European Plastic Pipe Market
André Nijland, Area Manager Technology Licensing, Far East and North America, Wavin Overseas B.V.
Status and outlook on PVC pipe in Europe, an update from the European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA) and new developments in PVC.

PVC: Key Drivers and Trends, Feedstock’s Outlook and Worldwide Economic Factors
Chuck Carr, Global Business Director, Chlor-Alkali/Vinyls, Chemical Market Services, IHS Chemical
A look at capacity and demand in the global thermoplastics marketplace.
Expanding Markets for PVC Pipe
Dick Doyle, President and CEO, The Vinyl Institute (VI)
Find out how the VI and PVCPA are working together to drive the expansion of PVC pipe. Three major subthemes will be addressed in this presentation: 1) targeting market growth opportunities through research; 2) vinyl sustainability; and 3) challenging the misperceptions about vinyl.
Conservation Program Success in Real Loss Reduction by Distribution System Optimization in Albuquerque, NM
Angelique Maldonado, Water Use Compliance Supervisor, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA)
A look at ABCWUA’s implementation of a conservation program in the mid 1990s, which included incentive rebates, wastewater enforcement, leak detection, education and leak modelling. The program used data from water audits, infrastructure failures and work orders to guide its pipe replacement and capital improvement activities. The program succeeded in prioritizing field work by being pro-active, reducing response times to pipe failures, and ultimately optimizing the distribution network by minimizing real system losses. The performance of different pipe materials in reducing water loss due to leakage is examined.

André Nijland

Chuck Carr

Dick Doyle

Angelique Maldonado


Keynote Speaker 

Top 10 Tips: Communicating About Vinyl Safety
Ronald W. Brecher, PhD, DABT, C.Chem., Toxicology Expert
Ron Brecher has been a toxicology consultant since 1987 specializing in risk assessment and risk communication related to human exposures to chemicals, advising health departments and related agencies for all levels of government in Canada as well as to private sector clients throughout North America. He has often acted as a facilitator, where he has led multi-stakeholder groups in evaluating scientific information to support regulatory decision making. Dr. Brecher is an Adjunct Professor and Associate Graduate Faculty member at the University of Guelph. Ron also helps companies address misinformation about their products. Perceptions about the safety of vinyl products are influenced by information – and misinformation -- in stories propagated in print and broadcast media, on the internet and by word of mouth. This can create poor perceptions about the safety and environmental qualities of vinyl and vinyl-containing products, and can negatively influence purchasing decisions. The ability to respond effectively to stakeholder concerns depends on four different aspects of credibility: the spokesperson, the information, the organization, and the engagement process. This presentation provides practical tips which will help you to more effectively engage customers, respond to negative perceptions, and promote the sharing of accurate information about PVC pipe.

Engineering the Future of Piping
Dr. Robert (Bob) D. Stevens, Past President, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
With more than 150,000 members worldwide, ASCE focuses on improving infrastructure, including our nation’s underground water and sewer pipe networks. This presentation will describe what ASCE does for infrastructure and how it supports the work of the piping industry through conferences, technical committees and its recently created ninth technical institute--the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI).
PVC Use in Warm Climates and a Rational Design Procedure
Dr. Steven Folkman, Director of Utah State University’s Buried Structures Laboratory
Current AWWA guidelines for de-rating a PVC pipe’s pressure class assume the operating temperature is constant. It’s common practice for designers to specify de-ratings based on maximum expected pipe temperature, which leads to selecting pipe wall thicknesses or DR values larger than what is needed. This presentation shows the annual variation in pipe temperature is approximately sinusoidal and an approach is suggested that provides a more appropriately selected DR value. The result is also compared with the ISO 1452-2 standard.
PVC Pipe’s Significance in the Irrigation Water Delivery/Ag World
Ed Phillips, Head Water Master, A&B Irrigation District
Last year A&B Irrigation District in Rupert, Idaho constructed a new river pumping plant and installed 19 miles of PVC water pipe – 54” thru 10” – to serve agricultural lands being watered at present by deep wells pumping from a declining aquifer. The design and installation considerations for this project will be discussed.

Ronald W. Brecher

Dr. Robert (Bob) D. Stevens

Dr. Steven Folkman

Ed Phillips



A Simplified Design Procedure for PVC to Account for Pressure Cycles/Surges
Ron Bishop, Vice President, Engineering & Technical Services, Diamond Plastics Corporation
One of the conditions design engineers face is selecting an appropriate pipe wall thickness (or DR) that will accommodate both maximum operating pressure and repeated surge pressure events. Methods for assessing the number of cycles to failure are quite well developed for PVC pipe. Experience has shown that current AWWA guidelines are cumbersome and time-consuming for most design engineers to use. This presentation outlines a simple and conservative procedure that can be easily applied while accommodating multiple stress amplitudes.

NASSCO Moves Forward with the Industry
Lynn E. Osborn, Technical Director, National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO)
A brief description of NASSCO and an overview of its activities, including partnerships with other industry organizations and academia. Also discussed will be NASSCO’s Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) and how it specifically relates to the PVC pipe industry.
Addressing Clean Water Availability Demands With A Purpose Driven Sustainability Strategy
Cristian Barcan, VP Sustainability & Industry Affairs, The Vinyl Institute (VI)
With almost 10 billion people expected on the planet by 2050, the world is facing unprecedented challenges to ensure adequate living needs in light of depleting natural resources and clean water availability. A well-positioned sustainable development strategy is key to addressing these needs and to helping identify measurable steps which will enable us to do more with less. This will entail the implementation of a continuous improvement-based approach and a joint effort of the entire vinyl industry. Key market segments such as PVC large diameter pipes have the opportunity to play a leadership role as part of a newly formed collaborative initiative, the Vinyl Business and Sustainability Council.
Upgrading America’s Water Infrastructure and Correcting Environmental Injustice
Dr. Marc Edwards, Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech

America’s water infrastructure is failing and at a cross roads. In the past, legacy unlined iron pipe was considered a nuisance that caused rusty, distasteful water and wasted resources via leaks. But this antiquated pipe is now contributing to problems with lead, lost disinfectant residuals and higher incidence of waterborne disease such as that caused by Legionella in buildings. Fixing failing pipes is not only costly, but might also contribute to health risks, by dislodging biofilms and introducing contaminants to water. The triple conservation conundrum is also a concern, in that water age (i.e., the time it takes water to travel from the treatment plant to the tap) is increasing due to 1) system wide water conservation and new water sources; 2) conservation in buildings; and 3) increased storage. These factors increase water quality degradation that occurs in water distribution systems. Increased “green” construction techniques and water conservation legislation are projected to have strong effects on water quality and waterborne disease due to increased water age in newer buildings -- in some cities and towns declining population will play a similar role. The emerging linkage between decrepit infrastructure and health disparities will increase the impetus to invest in modern distribution systems that includes water mains and service lines.

Ron Bishop

Lynn E. Osborn

Cristian Barcan

Dr. Marc Edwards



We would like to thank the following sponsors:








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Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort,
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