A judge issued a temporary restraining order April 4 against Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association, after Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., the largest U.S. extruder of corrugated high density polyethylene pipe, sued Uni-Bell. The debate centers on Uni-Bell's interpretation of tests the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation conducted on buried HDPE pipe for highway drainage.
Beginning in 1987, PennDOT buried single- and double-wall pipe made by Advanced Drainage Systems in an embankment. Researchers tested the pipe at depths of 75 and 100 feet.
ADS filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Dallas charging that Uni-Bell distributed false and misleading information about the test results through an ``interpretive summary'' sent to members of several Uni-Bell committees.
Uni-Bell is a trade association based in Dallas representing makers of PVC pipe. ADS is based in Columbus, Ohio.
Judge Robert Maloney issued a temporary restraining order against Uni-Bell. Maloney is expected to hold a hearing on ADS' request for a permanent injunction in early May.
According to ADS, Uni-Bell took information out of context, focusing only on problems at 100 feet -more than three times deeper than the normal highway installation for HDPE pipe. Uni-Bell also did not detail results of the 75-foot test, where the pipe had no problems, according to Tony Radoszewski, marketing director at Advanced Drainage.
ADS issued a news release about the case April 11. Contacted April 18, George E. Rahn, lawyer for Uni-Bell, said he is not free to comment because of the restraining order. But he said: ``We stand by our interpretation of the report.''
Uni-Bell is barred from distributing its interpretation of the PennDOT test until the court settles the issue.
According to ADS, at the maximum depth, the single-wall pipe experienced minor isolated cracking.
Double-wall pipe had a slight buckling of the liner. However, ADS said researchers observed none of those problems at depths of 75 feet or less.