China's Ministry of Construction announced that the government plans to spend 1 trillion yuan ($125 billion) during the next four years to build new waste-water treatment plants and upgrade water-distribution infrastructure.
Plastic pipe manufacturers long have expected the move to increase the use of plastic pipes in the country.
But Gu Zhidong, president of Beijing China-Union Engineering Co. Ltd., an industrial design firm in Beijing that specializes in infrastructural engineering, environmental protection engineering and architectural engineering, said he thinks manufacturers of plastic pipe should not get too excited.
``Officials in provinces and towns still prefer to use concrete pipes because they are cheaper,'' Gu said in an interview.
He added that many officials only concern themselves with short-term solutions rather than the benefits of using PVC or high density polyethylene pipe. Local officials will be responsible for overseeing how the allotted funds will be spent.
For those reasons, Gu said the central government has required that 30 percent of the waste-water pipes in new projects be plastic. Because of the cost advantage, most will be PVC.
Since the mid-1990s, most commercial and residential construction projects in China have used HDPE pipes for water supply. China first started using plastic pipes in the early 1980s in municipal gas works.
Originally established under the Ministry of Construction, Gu's firm boasts a number of subsidiaries in infrastructural engineering and serves varying levels of governmental clients all over China.
The company has cooperated for more than eight years with multinational firms such as Walker Process Corp., an Aurora, Ill., company that sells water and waste-water equipment and systems.