New Survey Highlights PVC Pipe as Popular for Water Infrastructure Projects

Respondents anticipated specifying PVC for an average of nearly 65% on both new and replacement pipe projects

New Survey Highlights PVC Pipe as Popular for Water Infrastructure Projects

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A new survey, conducted by Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM), showed that PVC piping is a preferred material for water infrastructure projects. 

The survey, which was based on feedback from engineers, contractors, and municipal employees throughout the country, was commissioned by the Vinyl Institute, the U.S. trade association representing manufacturers of vinyl, vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), additives, and modifiers.

“According to ASCE (the American Society of Civil Engineers), there is a water main break every two minutes and an estimated 6 billion gallons of treated water lost each day in the U.S.,” says Jim Nowakowski, president of AIM, a marketing research company specializing in business-to-business sales channels. “Combine that with what’s going on in wastewater, and you have some addressable issues for piping. We know the critical component that influences the well-being of any community is its system for removing and treating wastewater for the protection of human and environmental health. This survey made a lot of sense in order to find out about the materials that are going to be used to bring those grades up.”

The AIM survey brought in 239 individuals from across the U.S. in spring 2021 with the objective of learning more about the market’s satisfaction with PVC pipe and gaining a better understanding about pipe material in water infrastructure projects. Questions about various piping materials, including PVC, cast iron, asbestos cement, concrete steel cylinder, galvanized steel, ductile iron, and other plastics in their use of potable water, wastewater, agricultural, and drain, waste, or vent applications were explored in the comprehensive research. Respondents were not aware that the Vinyl Institute was conducting this research, bringing objectivity and validity to the findings.

“We’re extremely pleased to have heard that PVC is a material of choice in many piping applications,” says Ned Monroe, Vinyl Institute president and CEO. “PVC pipe offers unsurpassed reliability and durability, and it continues to play a critical role in clean water delivery. We’re glad to see that those who specify and purchase piping materials are recognizing the benefits that PVC offers.”

Some of the key research findings include:

  • The majority of existing pipes, and the pipes being specified by professionals in all applications, were PVC.
  • The majority of projects over the next five years will be installing new pipelines.
  • In all water applications, respondents anticipated they will specify PVC pipe for an average of nearly 65% on both new and replacement pipe projects.

“What was insightful was the participants’ high level of satisfaction with the many characteristics of PVC pipes,” Nowakowski says. “AIM used a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being completely satisfied. When we saw characteristics of PVC such as pipe corrosivity pulling an 8.8 or the ease of installation 8.7 or the overall satisfaction of PVC 8.4, it told us something about this material. It works.”

The survey was conducted via email from April 20 to May 3 and sent to more than 100,000 individuals identified from industry proprietary lists. The respondent audience was made up of 13% contractors, 43% municipal workers, and 44% engineers located in all areas of the U.S. (18% West, 17% Northeast, 31% Midwest, and 34% South). The confidence level was 95%.

“Nationwide, the drinking water and wastewater pipes underground are on average 45 years old according to the ASCE’s Wastewater Report Card,” Nowakowski says. “Some systems have components more than a century old. Replacing them with an easy to install, easy to maintain material like PVC makes it much easier, especially when the professionals doing the work tell us that’s why they use it. Besides, PVC has a service life of 100 years, and that’s good news for infrastructure everywhere, isn’t it?”

For more information on the Vinyl Institute, contact Sara Goodwin, director of communications at 202-765-2288 or sgoodwin@vinylinfo.org. Or visit vinylinfo.org.



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