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North America's underground infrastructure is crumbling at an alarming rate, so smarter, more cost-effective and sustainable practices are needed.
Broader use of PVC pipe would solve this problem and enable municipalities to spend taxpayer dollars more wisely. To do this, local governments and utilities need to modernize outdated procurement practices that ignore corrosion-proof PVC pipe.
Explore our web site and visit my blog to learn about the exceptional performance and environmental attributes of PVC pipe, and why it should be included in every bid for water and wastewater infrastructure. To connect to my blog, bookmark this page or link our Pipe Issues Blog to your RSS feed program.
Industry expert and Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association Executive Director Bruce Hollands shares the facts.
In the past few years, North America has experienced a series of catastrophic wildfires. Some of these fires have severely impacted water infrastructure, destroying above-ground appurtenances like water meters and hydrants as well as shallow-bury water service lines. As a result of wildfires, at least two California utilities have encountered water-quality issues in their water systems. The problems were caused by back-flow of contaminants through damaged service lines into water mains.
The City of Santa Rosa published a report shortly after its wildfire event. The paper outlined the water-quality problems but was not complete in its analysis. This left a knowledge gap that opened the door for speculation and misinformation — the result was the publication of several articles that could politely be described as “not very accurate.”
In March 2020, AWWA’s Opflow printed an article entitled, “Smoke and Water Don’t Mix,” that described research performed by the U.S. EPA and California’s Division of Drinking Water. With the benefit of several years of analyzing the fire-caused problems and the utilities’ solutions, the researchers were able to fill in many of the gaps in the earlier research.
Uni-Bell has written a technical brief that digs deeper into the science behind the issue. The paper is titled “PVC Water Mains: Not a Source of Benzene from Wildfire Events” – click here to view.
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