I read Matt Griswold's Oct. 23 column on the refurbishment of water piping systems [“Plastic pipe is now proven commodity,” Page 6] only to be envious that the U.S. water authorities are at least replacing it with something.
I have been involved with development of plastic refurbishment piping systems in the United Kingdom, where relining of old mains with swaged plastic pipes must be one of the most cost-effective ways of upgrading any piping system.
Even with the reduced inside diameter, the liners have a lower K value, which basically means a lower friction value, allowing more water to pass through with the same pumping forces.
The pipes are also joint-free, being welded into long sections before being pulled through the old mains with exit and entry points every 600 feet reducing delays in complete excavation, which is required for metal pipes. No scale buildup, no turbulent flow at socketed joints every 20 feet. No corrosion.
Alas, we still have some water authorities losing 30-35 percent of their clean water through leaks; this is more to do with “shares than cares,” where annual profits are more important. But it won't take much of a rise in price of a commodity to get the water companies to sit up and start improving their systems, just like the oil companies are opening up old wells or sifting sand for oil.
Another spoke in the wheel of progression to plastic can be the vintage of the local utilities directors; I've been subjected to “You ain't from 'round these parts, are ya boy?”
With a little education, at all levels, we can safeguard the essential commodity of water for many years to come.
Pipe Coil Technology Ltd.
Tyne and Wear, England