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Self-Cleaning networks concept presented at annual meeting of American PVC pipe association

The PVC pipe association held its annual meeting at Key West, Florida. Mirjam Blokker presented the concept of self-cleaning networks as an opportunity to improve the water quality in drinking water networks, typically laid out in PVC pipes. This can enhance the PVC pipes market share over e.g. ductile iron pipes. Other presentations included the study on water mains break rates in Northern America, a study on the drives for using plastics or other pipe materials for non-pressurized sewers in four European countries and a comparison between PVC and fiberglass pipes.

The self-cleaning network to enhance market share for PVC pipes

The PVC pipe association held its annual meeting at Key West, Florida. The association supports its members (PVC pipe manufacturers, suppliers and consultants) with technical documentation (design guidelines, manuals, fact sheets etc.) and training and research highlighting the advantages of PVC pipes for drinking water networks, pressurized and non-pressurized sewer systems and in-house installation. At the annual meeting Mirjam Blokker presented the concept of self-cleaning networks as an opportunity to improve the water quality (avoiding discolouration) in drinking water networks. These networks are typically laid out in PVC pipes, and for the utilities means shorter pipe lengths and less valves required, i.e. a cheaper network. This can enhance the PVC pipes market share over e.g. ductile iron pipes. The presentation was well received, the concept was new to most of the audience and there was a lot of interest for it. The PVC pipe association typically uses reference cities to show neighbouring utilities PVC pipes are a reliable product. Finding a reference city to pilot the self-cleaning network concept could be the next step.

Other presentation topics

Other presentations included the study on water mains break rates in Northern America, a study on the drives for using plastics or other pipe materials for non-pressurized sewers in four European countries and a comparison between PVC and fiberglass pipes. The first was a well-received study  that showed PVC has the lowest break rates. It also showed that small utilities had higher break rates, probably due to installation problems. It could be very interesting to see how the USA and Canadian figures compare to the Dutch data that we can retrieve from USTORE. The representative of the European Plastics Pipes Association (TEPPFA) expressed interest into doing a similar study of pipe mains break rates in Europe. The second showed how PVC is the material of choice in some countries, where in others concrete or clay are used, it also showed how unwillingness to change still plays a role: in renovation typically the same pipe (material, diameter) is put back in the ground. The idea of improving the network, and preparing for this with a blue print (such as the Dutch drinking water networks do) has not yet found firm ground. The third compared PVC pipes to fiberglass pipes, e.g. by showing a movie clip of stress testing a pipe on compressive and impact strength. This was also a nice example of how PVC manufacturers are willing to share the information with each other.