May 2017 Vol. 72 No. 5


SSC Releases Environmental Review Of Underground Piping

Sustainable Solutions Corporation (SSC), an industry leader in life-cycle analysis and sustainable product design and analysis, has released the first comprehensive environmental review of underground piping systems in North America.

Based on a 100-year life-cycle assessment methodology, the Life Cycle Assessment of PVC Water and Sewer Pipe and Comparative Sustainability Analysis of Pipe Materials includes a study of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe conducted according to life-cycle assessment (LCA) standards ISO 14040 series. The review also references the 2015 Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for PVC Pipe, which complies with ISO 14025 standards and was independently certified by global health organization NSF International.

Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association commissioned SSC as independent experts to perform an LCA for commonly used PVC pipes for drinking water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer piping covering the 4- to 60-inch rigid PVC pipe market.

At a time when aging piping infrastructure, underground corroded pipe materials and water quality issues are at the forefront, the report helps address significant issues with the national water and wastewater infrastructure. Based on the results, PVC pipe provides both environmental and economic advantages to solving the water infrastructure needs for utilities and municipal projects. PVC pipe is shown to have fewer environmental impacts from a life-cycle and carbon footprint perspective when compared to alternative materials, including lower embodied energy, lower use-phase energy, and longer life attributes.

Among its many findings, the study shows that the energy required to pump water through PVC pipe over a 100-year design life remains constant because PVC pipe walls are smooth and do not roughen over time. This generates overall life-cycle cost savings and a lower carbon footprint compared to alternative materials that require more pumping energy over time due to corrosion, leaks and internal degradation. SSC encourages municipal officials and other stakeholders to consider this report when evaluating the life-cycle costing of water infrastructure and making sustainable piping decisions.

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