I am writing to clarify the comments that you attributed to me in your article "Napco settles PVC pipe suit for $800,000" (July 31, Page 1) concerning the American Water Works Association´s standards for testing PVC pipe. According to the article, I said that the rules changed three years ago to allow the purchaser or supplier of PVC) pipe to decide whether the manufacturer must test 100 percent of the pipe.
I am concerned that, by itself, this statement may lead those unfamiliar with the standards to the erroneous belief that a manufacturer could also be a supplier, which can decide whether or not to test 100 percent of its pipe. This is not the case.
The AWWA standards for PVC pipe have always required that the manufacturer pressure-test each pipe. In 1997 a provision for exception to 100 percent testing was added, but only when a manufacturer customer is willing to accept a lower test frequency.
The standard uses the term "supplier" to describe a distributor or wholesale supplier that may be the manufacturer´s customer. A manufacturer, therefore, is not a supplier as defined by the AWWA standard. Uni-Bell has proposed that the standard be changed so that only the end user can agree to accept less than 100 percent testing, and not the distributor or "supplier."
Uni-Bell believes that the option for less than 100 percent testing is rarely employed because manufacturers do not manufacture most of their products for specific purchasers. In any event, I want to reiterate that under the AWWA standards for PVC pipe, manufacturers are required to pressure-test all pipe unless a lower testing frequency is specifically agreed to by the purchaser.
Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association