No other pipe materials can match the economic benefits of plastic pipe systems. They afford very high levels of reliability by allowing leak-free transport of services. And being leak-free, they provide for maximum efficiency in the delivery of water, gas and other services from supply to distribution and to ultimately the point of use. Their smoothness of pipe bore not only ensures excellent hydraulic performance but also a consistency unrivalled by competing materials.
Public health and safety should never be compromised. For this reason, water quality has to be maintained throughout the life of the pipeline.
Optimal use of pressure classes (pipe system wall thickness/Standard Dimension Ratios) are possible due to the very high levels of material durability offering pipeline life expectancy of often greater than 100 years. This without compromise of performance.
While in service, plastic pipelines are energy neutral. But as they end their life phase, they become energy positive as they can be recycled, minimising their environmental impact.
Plastic pipe systems have a proven long-term track record in the utility sector. For over fifty years, they have retained their designed safety factor. In "traditional" materials, only the initial material strength is determined. Long-term strength (above 50 and even over 100 years) of plastics pipe systems is determined by prolonged testing at different temperatures (ISO 9080). Studies are on-going but recent independent investigation has already predicted a service lifespan of over 100 years.
The search to develop plastic materials never ceases in the quest to further extend performance and the lifespan of future pipes.
Testing is also a continuous process. A design coefficient is used in this testing. It is applied over the long-term strength value, giving high additional safety margins. PE and PVC-U pipes display high levels of toughness and excellent resistance to crack initiation and growth - even under the most arduous conditions.
In the interests of public health and safety, plastic pipe systems for drinking water distribution are also severely tested for effects on drinking water quality. It is important to note that materials containing heavy metals (e.g. Lead, Cadmium) are not permitted in the manufacturing process for plastic pipes designed for either water or gas distribution.
Cost Effective Installation, Operation and Maintenance
Plastic pipe systems are available in standard straight lengths, coils and also bespoke lengths. Coils and bespoke lengths of pipes allow for maximum advantage to be taken of their cold bending properties thereby minimising joints & fittings used. Various installation techniques are used including:
- Open Cut
- No-Dig (Minimal public inconvenience and disruption)
- Directional drilling
- Slip Lining (Rehabilitation)
- Pipe Bursting (Rehabilitation)
This choice enables the most appropriate and cost effective installation method to be used. This versatility is further enhanced by a choice of jointing methods. Options are therefore maximised and the designer and installer benefit from other cost effective solutions such as:
- Butt Fusion
Because plastic pipes are lightweight, lower energy is required in transporting and handling. Greater efficiencies can thus be gained. The environmental impact is minimised. And for some projects, pipes can even be floated to installation sites by lake, sea and even across oceans.
Plastic pipes are hydraulically smooth and have a non-porous structure. They are also non-corrodible. Slime build-up or scaling on inner wall surfaces is consequently minimal. This full bore capacity means full efficiency for fluid transport.
The quality of the drinking water is thus maintained. No corrosion or unwanted mineral sediments. Odour and taste are not soured. The clarity of fresh drinking water persists.
Standards and Quality
Plastic pipe systems are subject to the strict requirements of international product standards. However, the plastic pipe industry insists on even greater requirements in the form of Quality Marks. Independent third party technical certification bodies issue these national and international Quality Marks. Technical control is stringent and highly respected. For drinking water, these quality requirements ensure that the best interests of public health and safety are served.
No more brown water piped through corroded pipes. Waters flow clear. And in Denmark, the brewers of beer are distributing their precious thirst quenching libation through plastic pipes. It is hardly surprising - the Danish know a thing or two about the finer things in life.