Technical Blog

Welcome to John’s Blog. Answers to frequently asked questions are periodically posted here. The objective is to share information about PVC pipe with readers as well as with utilities, design engineers and pipe installers. The blog provides the latest information on PVC pipe design, installation, and application for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

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John Houle: Senior Technical Consultant, PVC Pipe Industry

John Houle holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri and an MBA from the University of Oregon. He has more than 25 years of experience in the plastic pipe industry in applications engineering, market development, forensic analysis, technical writing, and standards development.

Ductile Iron Pipe’s Hazen-Williams Flow Coefficient Declines Over Time

Jan 23, 2018  John Houle

The Ductile Iron Pipe Research Association (DIPRA) states that ductile iron (DI) pipe does not experience a decline in hydraulic performance over time. However, the very document that makes this statement is full of data that contradicts the claim.

AWWA Standards for PVC Pipe - Product Testing

Jan 9, 2018  John Houle

AWWA standards for PVC pipe have been around since 1975. These standards are developed by committees comprised of three groups: • Product user members (water utilities) • Product manufacturer members • “General interest” members (from consulting engineers, certifying agencies, etc.)

PVC Pipe and Fittings Materials – Testing Requirements

Dec 6, 2017  John Houle

In my three decades in the PVC pipe industry, I have noticed that many design engineers and utility personnel are surprised when they learn about the testing regimen that is followed by PVC pipe manufacturers.

ISO for LCA - Best Practices for Environmental Evaluation of Water and Sewer Pipes

Nov 21, 2017  John Houle

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has developed a series of standards on environmental management. These standards, known collectively as the “14000 series,” were first published almost twenty years ago and have become the “go-to” standards for environmental topics.

PVC Fittings for Sewer Pipe

Nov 7, 2017  John Houle

My tech brief on PVC sewer-pipe fittings begins by comparing outside-diameter controlled dimensions (“OD-controlled”) to inside-diameter controlled dimensions (“ID-controlled”). While this discussion is somewhat dry, it provides essential background information.

Leaching of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM): Not An Issue for AWWA PVC Water Pipe

Oct 24, 2017  John Houle

Despite the allegations of competitors, the bottom line is that leaching of VCM from PVC pipe into drinking water is not an issue for concern.

PVC Pipe Joints - Trenchless Options

Oct 13, 2017  John Houle

In trenchless installations, pipes are typically pushed or pulled into position. This pushing or pulling causes loads on the pipes that are not encountered during open-cut construction. As a result, the PVC pipe industry has developed four types of restrained-joint systems for trenchless projects.

Fittings for PVC Pressure Pipe

Oct 11, 2017  John Houle

There are two materials used for fittings for municipal PVC pipelines: PVC and ductile iron (DI). This tech brief examines both product types.

Many Lessons Have Been Learned About DI Pipe

Sep 20, 2017  John Houle

Lessons Learned from Ductile Iron Pipe is a six-volume study of iron pipe corrosion. The study was undertaken by the American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association in conjunction with several large consulting engineering companies.

Biased Results in Study on Water Pipe Materials

Jun 24, 2017  John Houle

In July 2016 a study was published titled “A Framework to Evaluate the Life Cycle Costs and Environmental Impacts of Water Pipelines.” The study, funded by the Ductile Iron Pipe Association (DIPRA), “aims to develop a Pipe Material Life Cycle Assessment tool (PMLCA) that is capable of analyzing different pipe material scenarios and suggesting the best option to the various decision makers.”