Are there any specific situations where PVC is not recommended?

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a webinar covering multiple states and 300 participants.  The topic was PVC pipe applications and design considerations.  Over 20 questions and requests were submitted and I decided to respond to one on the Pipe Blog – knowing that many of you may also have had a similar question. Hopefully, this provides some insight and value. The first question that I’d like to tackle is below.

Are there any specific situations where PVC is not recommended?

There are specific situations where PVC pipes are not recommended, but it is pipe-type / application / engineering parameter dependent.  That really opens it up, doesn’t it?  There are so many scenarios that could be discussed.  A gravity sanitary PVC sewer pipe, for example, would not be recommended for pressurized potable water transmission. 

Some of the key engineering parameters that come up from time to time, include:

  • Type of conveyance material (e.g. hydrocarbons, non-compatible chemicals, extremely high temperatures, etc.)
  • Maximum or minimum height of cover and/or loading conditions (e.g. airplane loading or extreme depths)
  • Pressure rating requirements
  • Buried exposure to soils, or groundwater, contaminated with high concentrations of certain non-compatible chemicals.
  • Above ground applications and supporting concerns / limitations.

The above are parameters that could be met but, in some instances, might not match up with certain PVC pipe types or may be completely unusable.

It depends on which PVC pipe you are considering and what application.  There are many types of PVC pipes for various applications.  The applications include:

  • Gravity drainage or pressurized systems
  • Potable water
  • Sanitary sewer
  • Storm sewer
  • Cross drains / culverts (e.g. highway, railroad crossings etc.)
  • Irrigation
  • Perforated underdrain
  • Plumbing – waste drain
  • Plumbing – water lines
  • Grey water or recycled water lines
  • Gas lines
  • Electrical conduit
  • Slip lining for rehabilitation purposes

As you can see, due to the wide range of applications, there would be many different types of PVC pipe and tubing engineered for the individual application’s need.  To answer  the original question, we need to ask a lot more questions about the application itself.

Please reach out to your local Contech representative if you have any specific situations that you are currently trying to engineer. We have experts across the country who would love to provide some additional information.

BTW – Contech’s A-2000™ PVC pipe is approved for use for AREMA projects and railroad drainage applications.