Dallas — The Newsletter of the Mayors Water Council of the U.S. Conference of Mayors featured an article on the first industry-wide, peer reviewed environmental product declaration (EPD) for water and sewer piping in North America, which has been verified by NSF Sustainability, a division of global public health organization NSF International. This internationally recognized certification helps municipalities meet their green building and infrastructure goals. The EPD can be useful to municipal pipe procurement officials as it sets performance benchmarks and allows for life cycle comparisons between multiple pipe materials.
The EPD was developed in compliance with international environmental management guidelines (ISO 14025) and benchmarks the impacts of seven PVC pipe products across their life cycles. This includes PVC pressure pipe for potable water, reclaimed water and sewer force main systems as well as PVC non-pressure pipe for storm sewer and sanitary sewer systems. NSF Sustainability reviewed and verified the life cycle assessment (on which the EPD is based) and EPD documents to ensure that no unsubstantiated claims were made and that the EPD followed all applicable rules.
The EPD pinpoints areas of greatest environmental impact as well as the environmental benefits of utilizing PVC piping. For example, the use phase of pressurized potable water pipe, during which pumps overcome friction to move water through pipe, was found to contribute the greatest environmental impacts throughout the product’s entire life cycle. The EPD also identified advantages in this stage such as the smooth interior surface of PVC pipe that minimizes friction and energy consumption. PVC pipe is also corrosion resistant and has a proven durability in excess of 100 years, requiring less frequent replacement.
Environmental impact categories analyzed include global warming potential, ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, smog formation and cumulative energy demand. PVC pipe is designed to minimize environmental impacts due to its corrosion resistance, enabling long-term durability.
PVC water and sewer pipe are available in sizes up to 60 inches. Learn more about PVC piping at www.uni-bell.org.