Why should you specify and install PVC Pipe?

Corrosion free, sustainable and the lowest failure rate of all piping products, these phrases are a snapshot of the key messages associated with PVC pipe. However, it’s hard to really understand how important these words are if they aren’t given a value. Our industry is fortunate that third party organizations have taken the time to study water and sewer piping products. Take the Utah State University Board of Buried Structures Laboratory for example, they published a study entitled “Water Main Breaks in the USA & Canada: A Comprehensive Study,” in April of 2012.

The survey included all products which have seen substantial use for water applications over the past 50 years including asbestos cement, cast iron, concrete, ductile iron, PVC and steel. The Utah State study found that PVC pipe had the lowest failure rate, which was 2.6 breaks per 100 miles/year, while cast iron has an average break rate of 24.4 per 100 miles/year with the failure ratings of the other products tested falling between the two.

When it comes to sewer pipe, Trenchless Technology, an industry publication, recently performed a survey amongst municipalities. In the survey, it was discovered that 90 percent of municipalities that replied specify and install PVC pipe, with 79 percent stating PVC is the most common piping solution. PVC was also noted as the easiest piping material to maintain by 66 percent of those answering and 52 percent found it to have the longest life cycle.

Water Main Break Rates

Needless to say, these two studies prove that the support for PVC is overwhelming but it's important to remember that these studies are just a snapshot of the entire value that PVC brings to the table. Feel free to further explore the benefits of PVC pipe by learning about this sustainable, cost efficient piping solution that is committed to the environment with the additional information that is provided below.


PVC leads all other piping materials in sustainability. Its durability, cleanliness and energy efficient manufacturing and transportation have made it the material of choice for water and waste water applications.

A study by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation put the life expectancy of PVC pipe at more than 110 years which truly shows that sustainability is at work.

With over 2 million miles of PVC in service throughout North America, it's easy to see that it's a trusted piping solution that works for a long time.

Environmental Commitment

When it comes to the production of PVC pipe, manufacturing practices are extremely efficient and clean. There is virtually no waste during production because the excess PVC compound can be reground and used again without compromising the material’s integrity and the small amount of waste is 100 percent recyclable.

PVC pipe continues to be environmentally friendly after production and installation. The smooth interior walls allow for reduced pumping costs and the leak free joints eliminate water loss. This can increase system efficiency up to 40 percent compared to various types of old technology and corrosion prone piping systems which saves precious resources.

With these factors working together, you’re using a product that not only is produced in an environmentally friendly way, but is also functioning without leaving a large footprint behind.

Cost Efficiency

When you have a product such as PVC pipe that is not only committed to the environment but also an extremely sustainable piping solution, you will receive a great return on your investment. From lower failure ratings to leak free joints and easy installation methods, you’re saving money in many ways when you specify and install PVC pipe.

According to recent pricing research, 8" DR18 PVC pipe is currently selling for $6.89 a foot and a comparable Ductile piping product, class 50, is selling for $27.33 a foot, making the cost of ductile iron nearly four times that of PVC. PVC also won the price battle for sewer piping solutions where 8" clay pipe was selling for $7.48 a foot while SDR35 PVC pipe was selling for $3.20 a foot. These numbers further drive home the fact that PVC is always working for you.