Intended to assist policy makers and utility professionals in their efforts to improve underground infrastructure, this report is the first comprehensive environmental review of underground piping systems in North America. Based on a 100-year life cycle assessment methodology, the review includes a study of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe conducted according to life cycle assessment (LCA) standards ISO 14040 series. The pipe encompassed by this study is representative of PVC pipe manufactured in the U.S. and Canada, which uses a tin-based stabilizer and does not contain phthalates, lead, or cadmium. This comprehensive study also contains a comparative review of the corresponding alternative pipe products based on publicly available information on durability, smoothness factors, and statistical data, as well as environmental data when available.
At a time when aging piping infrastructure, underground corroded pipe materials, and water quality issues are at the forefront, the intention of this report is to help to address significant issues with the national water and wastewater infrastructure. Based on the results of this study, PVC pipe provides both environmental and economic advantages to solving the water infrastructure needs for utilities and municipal projects.
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