January 11, 2012

Unsustainable Iron Pipes Leading Cause of Nation’s Corrosion Crisis
and Water Main Break Epidemic

There is a growing awareness in the national media concerning the 300,000 water main breaks annually (850 per day) caused by the continued use of corrosion-prone iron piping in the nation's water and sewer systems. The staggering $50.7 billion cost of corrosion price tag is expected to continue to drag down America's struggling economy and ultimately spike our water and sewer rates to unsustainable levels.

Journalists are also reporting on the need for more open and fair procurement practices and the inclusion of corrosion-proof piping technologies like PVC in municipal bids as a way to make water and wastewater infrastructure more cost-effective, sustainable and durable.

With government budgets over-stretched and the nation deeply in debt we have to return to traditional American values if we are to set the country on the right course again – and open competition is one of our most cherished and defining values, and a driver of innovation.

Municipalities Can Save Taxpayer Dollars by Using Corrosion-Proof Piping Materials, Says Nationally Syndicated Journalist Cal Thomas

I'm pleased to share an article by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, whose weekly column reaches well over 500 newspapers across the country.  Thomas points out how corrosion of metallic pipes are a “$50.7 billion drain on the economy, not including the cost from lost water due to leaking or broken pipes.”

More importantly, he argues that municipalities should be considering corrosion-proof piping materials: “Utilities have generally replaced old corroded pipes with new ones made of the same or similar materials, which also corrode. Other non-corrosive options are available…” Thomas concludes that municipalities could save 30-70 percent on capital improvement plans for water and sewer systems by using corrosion-proof piping technologies: “Since localities spent $103 billion on water supply and sewerage programs in 2009, that’s a lot of savings.” 
Click here to read article.

AWWA Money Matters Columnist Greg Baird Argues a PVC Pipe Solution for Corrosion Crisis in Water/Wastewater Systems

In the first of a two-part series in the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Journal, former utility CFO, columnist and  water infrastructure expert, Greg Baird outlines the numerous types of corrosion which affect metallic piping systems used in drinking water systems, “driving up utility operating, maintenance, and capital costs while also degrading water quality and jeopardizing the public health.”

He states that when the full life-cycle costs of corrosion-prone metallic piping is analyzed and compared against alternative and non-corrosive pipe material like PVC, PVC is “30-70% less expensive, easy to install….environmentally friendly, noncorrosive, and durable with an expected design life of more than 100 years (AwwaRF, 2006) without the extensive and expensive corrosion treatments.”

Furthermore, he also concludes that years of study in corrosion-mitigation have produced no reliable recommendations for industry to follow. Therefore, the only way to really deal with corrosion is to “set in place best practices and standards to allow for the selection and financial analysis of alternative noncorrosive materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC). 
Click here to read article.

Best regards,

Bruce Hollands

Executive Director | Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association

2711 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1000 | Dallas, TX 75234
T. 972.243.3902 ext. 1019 | C. 214.244.9202 | F. 972.243.3907


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