Leaking sewers are a growing problem but a European study could change all that. The independent study called the Sustainable Municipal Pipes or SMP Project compared performance and environmental impact of buried sewer pipelines. Its conclusion that in-service flexible pipes perform better than rigid pipes, opens the door to a greater market demand for plastic pipe systems.
Tony Calton who promoted the technical investigation on behalf of TEPPFA is convinced that its findings will permanently alter the mind set of engineers who specify sewer pipe networks. “Simply stated, we set out to compare environmental impacts of sewer defects and leakage. We looked at performance and we looked at environmental risks.”
“The study concluded overwhelmingly that buried pipes need flexibility. Flexibility is the key to durable performance and without it, there is a much greater risk of sewers losing their integrity (leak tightness).”
“We also learned that fittings for flexible pipeline systems ensure more reliable connections. However, the evidence that these systems significantly reduce the impact to the environment was an important conclusion. The choice of sustainability lies conclusively in favour of flexible pipes as a sound, long service solution.”
The SMP study was based on examination of CCTV video footage in Germany, Netherlands and Sweden. Approximately 1800 km of buried concrete, clay and plastic sewer pipelines were analysed. This footage was accompanied by original inspection reports of observable defects.
Calton strongly urges plastic pipe makers to take up these findings as important marketing messages. “The truth has literally been buried for too long. Now uncovered by technical experts, the evidence prompts a need to differentiate. Endurance and survival have always been about flexibility!”