Choosing the Right Pipe Material (Source: WaterWorld)
By Justin Reeves and Philip Wheat
For water and wastewater pipe experts, choosing the right pipe material can be a touchy subject. If we are honest with ourselves, we all have a favorite — something that has served us well or has helped us successfully solve a design, construction, or operational problem. It’s okay to have a favorite, but it’s not okay to consider your favorite a silver bullet for every situation or challenge, forsaking the benefits of other pipe materials. Such an approach discounts decades of studies, testing, material science, manufacturing, and construction advancements and innovations. It also does not serve our community and industry well.
The purpose of this article is not to survey the history of pipe materials or to review every product available today. Something of that magnitude warrants a series, if not a book, to do it justice. Rather, this article’s purpose is to summarize some benefits of various pipe materials common in the water and wastewater industry, to present design or operational scenarios that may cause one material to rise above others, and to challenge us all to remember that in the underground world, there is no one-size-(or-material)-fits-all solution.