What happens when water pipes are replaced with larger water pipes?
Experts have been warning for years about the potential for damage from pipes that are bigger than their original dimensions, and they have been particularly worried about pipes made of concrete.
Now, they’re raising a concern that could be affecting the safety of tens of millions of people across the country.
Water pipe contractors are installing smaller, lighter water pipes to help mitigate the potential of a pipe failure, according to a report released Monday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
“The problem is that the pipe is not designed to withstand this force and that force is not going to be addressed,” FERC chairman Daniel V. Tarullo said in a press conference.
“If you take a concrete block, that’s just going to break.”
A number of pipe components used in water delivery systems have also recently been rated for their vulnerability to rupture.
The new FERC report notes that a majority of water piping in the U.S. was made out of concrete in 2013, and that there is an increased risk of water pipe failures due to the growing use of smaller, lightweight water pipes.
The report notes a number of components, including pipe caps, gaskets, and fittings, were rated for corrosion resistance.
In addition, more than 70 percent of the pipes tested had “moderate” corrosion protection, but were still rated as “high” or “very high” corrosion.
As a result, the FERC has urged companies to replace their existing pipes with lighter, smaller water pipes if possible, because the corrosion risk is much greater.
“A large water pipe failure is not a hypothetical possibility, it is a reality,” Tarullosaid.
“The FERC is currently studying the extent of the corrosion problems in water pipe components, but there is no indication that this problem will be resolved in the near term.
This new report comes as part of a broader effort to ensure that water infrastructure is maintained and maintained well, the commission said.
More than half of the 1.3 million American homes and businesses that were connected to the water supply in 2014 had water lines that had cracks at least once in the last five years, the report found.
Although it has become increasingly common for pipe repairs to be done under the watchful eye of water utilities, it’s important to remember that pipes and fittlings can still fail and damage water systems, Tarullisaid.
Experts are also concerned that water pipes could also be subject to the effects of corrosion, including corrosion on the interior of the pipe itself.”
When the system fails, there is often an opportunity to remove the failure from the system,” Tarulinaid.
Experts are also concerned that water pipes could also be subject to the effects of corrosion, including corrosion on the interior of the pipe itself.