Plastics Pipe Institute Issues Cautionary Advisory on Fusible PVC(TM)

Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:59pm EDT

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Rapid Crack Propagation Can Plague Fused PVC Pipelines
IRVING, Texas--(Business Wire)--
The Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) today issued a cautionary
advisory regarding the integrity of fusible polyvinyl chloride
(fusible PVC) pipe.

   The focus is the pipe's susceptibility to rapid crack propagation
(RCP), which has led to a number of recent water pipeline failures.
RCP can be caused by various reasons including defects in the pipe,
damage incurred during production and shipping, in-service damage
from third party impact, hot tapping or rock impingement. Other
variables may include the base resin and thin wall of the fusible PVC
pipe that is being promoted for trenchless applications. Once a crack
forms in a fused PVC system it can continue unabated at up to 1,900
feet a second and can affect the entire length of the pipeline due to
its monolithic structure. Traditionally, PVC pipe sections have been
joined by using a bell and spigot.

   "Recent failures of new water lines using this novel fusible PVC
material and its fusion method have exposed a critical problem to the
industry," stated Tony Radoszewski, executive director, PPI, the
non-profit trade association for the plastic piping industry. "Because
pipe made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), however, has a high
resistance to rapid crack propagation, RCP is not a significant issue
for HDPE pipe installations."

   "Fusing together lengths of HDPE pipe is a time-proven method and
the PPI has spent decades researching and evaluating fusion techniques
of HDPE to earn the confidence of the underground utility industry.
However, this long history of proven performance does not necessarily
translate to new materials. Employing HDPE fusion techniques for other
materials, without extensive, industry-wide testing is risky. The
potential for injury, and loss of natural and economic resources
requires pipe system specifiers, engineers and owners to take a
cautious approach."

   PPI will host an educational webinar about the subject on July 17.
There is no charge, but registration is requested at

   HDPE pipe is manufactured and installed in accordance with
numerous industry standards from organizations such as AWWA, ASTM,

   "By including an AWWA standard in its print line," Radoszewski
remarked, "the manufacturer is assuring customers that the pipe
product complies with the requirements of the standard, including
physical properties, joining, and installation methods.

   "I'm concerned by reports indicating AWWA standards are appearing
on the fusible PVC print string because the thermal joining or
butt-fusing of PVC pipe is not covered by AWWA C900, C905 and C605.

   "We hope the industry will join our webinar to explore these and
other issues relating to fusible PVC and to discuss the long-term
benefits of HDPE pipe," Radoszewski said. "Our goal is to educate the
market and assist with the proper selection of products."

   For additional information about HDPE pipe visit

SCA Communications, Inc.
Steve Cooper, 516-623-7615
The Plastics Pipe Institute
Tony Radoszewski, 469-499-1046

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