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.

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.”

New C900 Standard for PVC Pipe

May 10, 2017  John Houle

In August 2016, AWWA published the latest edition of its C900 standard. C900-16 is more complicated than most standards, primarily because it now includes the large-diameter sizes previously found in the C905 standard.

AWWA PVC Pipe Standards Over the Years

Mar 22, 2017  John Houle

AWWA has recently published the sixth edition of its C900 standard for PVC pipe. This Tech Brief looks at milestones in the progression of the C900 and C905 standards, culminating in the combining of the two standards into AWWA C900-16.

Today's Thinner-Walled Iron Pipe - More Susceptible to Corrosion

Mar 8, 2017  John Houle

The iron pipe industry likes to brag about pipe that has been in service for a long time – some for more than 100 years. However, it’s important to put this into proper context.

Q & A on Max Test Pressure of Installed PVC Pressure Pipe

Feb 22, 2017  John Houle

Question – one question that I hear quite often about testing of installed PVC pressure pipe is: “What is the maximum test pressure I can use?” Answer – since every component of a pressure pipeline has a pressure rating, the simple reply is: Do not exceed the pressure rating of any of the pipeline components.

Manning's "n" for PVC Gravity Sewer Pipe

Jan 12, 2017  John Houle

“Conservative” design is taught continually to all engineers during college and throughout their employment. I think we can all agree that this is a good idea – we don’t want engineers to cut corners and cause potential problems.

PVC Pipe Bell Direction

Dec 8, 2016  John Houle

Questions sometimes arise about which way the bell should be positioned in a PVC pipeline. Typically there are two concerns: 1. Does bell direction make a difference in pipeline hydraulics? 2. Does it make a difference during installation?

Safety Considerations for Air-Testing of PVC Sewer Pipes

Sep 29, 2016  John Houle

Occasionally I hear a report about safety issues with air-testing of sewer pipes. The story usually starts with “An end-plug let go.” There was a sudden whoosh of air out of the manhole that had potential consequences for nearby personnel.