PVC pipes are used in a wide variety of piping applications, from transportation of drinking water over drainage solutions to advanced fire-sprinkler systems. This popularity owes to a unique combination of properties: safety, durability/cost-efficiency, environmental performance and recyclability.
PVC pipes are a safe choice for transportation of drinking water. This is due to their high degree of inertness and resistance to corrosion. PVC pipes are therefore free from bio-film contamination that can be a breeding ground for bacteria. By helping provide clean water, PVC pipes are beneficial to public health.
Replacement of lead-based stabilizers in virgin PVC coumpounds was completed in 2015. Because it is used below its glass transition temperature (80°C), PVC can be considered as a functional barrier preventing any low molecular weight substances to migrate to drinking water. Migration tests have demonstrated migration levels far below the detection limit of the most modern analytical techniques.
The first PVC piping systems were installed over 80 years and most of these are still in use. The expected lifespan of a PVC pipe is 100 years or more for underground pipes. Moreover, PVC piping systems show a much lower failure rate than other materials. In comparison with other piping materials, PVC pipes are also the most cost-efficient choice when viewed other their entire lifetime. This includes the costs to purchase pipes, install, operate and maintain and dismantle the pipeline. +100-year durability and low total cost of ownership means utilities can safely choose PVC for their piping infrastructure.