Water pipe leaks due to bad installation, says BPF
By Anthony Clark
Posted 14 May 2012
The British Plastics Federation’s (BPF) plastic pipes group has attacked Ofwat for its ill-advised and groundless comments about leak problems with HDPE water pipes.
The gas industry uses the same HDPE pipes but does not have a comparable leakage problem.
“The problems referred to do not relate to the pipes themselves but to the quality of installation,” said a BPF spokesman.
“It is well known that the water utilities companies operate variable jointing and installation standards and that this can compromise the performance of the system. A lack of training, correct tooling and supervision result in poor installation, which is susceptible to leakage.”
The gas industry uses the same HDPE pipes but does not have a comparable leakage problem, added the BPF. This is because the gas industry, mindful of the fatal consequences of gas leaks, has a more thoroughgoing and uniformly standardised approach to installation.
“HDPE pipe systems are used throughout Europe as the preferred system for water distribution," the BPF spokesman said.
The UK water system operates at quite modest pressures well within the competence of HDPE pipework. HDPE pipe systems remain the preferred system for water distribution in Europe,” he added.
The BPF’s plastic pipes group is working with Water UK to help it resolve the difficulties experienced by the water utility companies.
“The water utility companies need to address issues of workmanship, installation and training of installers,” added the federation.
● According to Ofwat, the Sky News story about leak problems associated with HDPE water pipes was based on a quote that was taken out of context. When asked about the potential to cut leaks to near zero, an Ofwat spokesperson said that even the latest generation of plastic pipes could fail due to the external physical forces.
The water regulator told PRW that it accepts that HDPE pipes are the best available option and fully supports their installation.
Plastic water pipes – an easy media target…
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