According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “resilient” is:

a: capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture.

b: tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Water utilities must consider the resiliency of their systems every day to address a number of expected, and unexpected challenges, including:

  • Aging infrastructure
  • Corrosive soil conditions
  • Shifting ground conditions due to natural disasters or everyday stress

Aging water delivery infrastructure

Water transmission pipes around the country are at, or have exceeded their service life expectancy. When considering replacement projects, as well as new installations that are intended to last for generations to come, Ductile iron pipe is designed to provide a minimum average service life of 100+ years. Many municipalities can boast of cast iron pipe, the predecessor of ductile iron, still in service, some for 150 years. Other pipe materials, such as plastic (PVC and HDPE) and concrete, are not as resilient when it comes to withstanding the ever-changing environment over decades of service.

photo of DIPRA pipe
Installation of new Ductile iron pipe with V-Bio® enhanced polyethylene encasement.

Corrosive soil

Municipalities in areas with aggressive soils must take resilience into account. Many factors must be weighed equally when choosing the right water delivery pipe. Plastic pipe is less prone to soil corrosion but has demonstrated weakness under applied differential stress in service. If plastic pipe fails because of a lack of resilience, it doesn’t matter that the failure wasn’t due to galvanic corrosion. We can protect Ductile iron pipe from corrosive soils…but we can’t make plastic pipe stronger.

Ductile iron pipe addresses the corrosion issue with extra protection to both the inside and outside of the pipe. Cement-mortar lining of the pipe’s interior has a proven record of performance in improving the hydraulic characteristics of the flow through Ductile iron pipe—and maintaining that advantage throughout its service life. V-Bio® enhanced polyethylene encasement is infused with a corrosion inhibitor and an anti-microbial additive that provide active corrosion control, enhancing the success of traditional polyethylene encasement that has been protecting iron pipe for some 65 years. With proper installation, V-Bio® can ensure your Ductile iron pipe will achieve its desired performance at an economical cost, even in the most corrosive environments.

photo of DIPRA pipe
Cement-mortar lined Ductile iron pipe provides the resilience needed in extreme conditions.

Shifting ground conditions

Seismic events are a concern to all buried pipe materials. The strength of Ductile iron pipe and the availability of specialized seismic joints make Ductile the best available pipe when earthquakes happen. This strength also provides resilience against unforeseen events such as sudden failures of unstable slopes or ground erosion due to flooding.

Learn more about Ductile iron pipe’s resilience here, and reach out to knowledgeable DIPRA Regional Engineers to talk to them about specific resiliency factors to take into consideration in your particular area.

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