The narrow lanes and numerous bridges in the lagoon city of Venice presented the entire construction team with a real challenge when building pipelines to supply water and extinguish fires. Since open installation was to be avoided where possible to prevent damage to roads, the SLM® RCplus pipes with protective coating were mainly installed using the black box method.

More than 10 years after the terrible fire catastrophe in Venice in which the old Gran Teatro La Fenice burnt down, Venice is the first city in the world to get its own pipeline that is solely intended to provide water for extinguishing fires. This is because of all things it was a lack of water at that time that hindered the Viennese fire service from putting out the fire quickly. The new bright red pipeline providing water for extinguishing fires is more than 22 km long, has the dimensions 125 x 11.4 mm and 225 x 20.5 mm and is designed to prevent these kinds of catastrophes occurring in the future.

A new drinking water pipeline next to this with a total length of 600 m and the dimensions 400 x 36.3 mm is to replace the now antiquated pipelines. The sales company egeplast Italia S.r.l., which was founded in 2005, was awarded the contract for both building projects by Veritas S.p.A., the public utility company responsible. Work was performed in cooperation with the pipeline contractor ANESE S.r.l.

The installation work has been made more difficult not only by the 10 million visitors that come to the city every year, but also in particular by the narrow lanes and numerous bridges. The “latter”, explains Daniele Cucchiarini (sales manager at egeplast Italia), “calls for the deployment of polyethylene pipes since almost no other materials have the same flexibility”. Venice has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 which means that extra care needs to be taken during installation work.

Pipelines were inserted using trenchless installation wherever possible to protect the streets of Venice. Use of this modern technology not only permitted a reduced building period but also guaranteed the minimum disturbance to traffic compared to open installation methods.

The SLM® RCplus with protective coating from the egeplast Werner Strumann GmbH & Co. KG product range was selected both for the new drinking water pipeline and the pipeline for the fire services. In this pipe system the core pipe made from PE 100-RC is additionally protected against grooves and scratches by an abrasion-resistant protective coating made of mineral-reinforced polypropylene; this means that all damage is taken up by the protective coating.

This property enables the pipe to be installed in the Viennese soil using trenchless methods. Construction work to install the drinking water pipeline has already been successfully completed, while the work to install the pipeline carrying water for extinguishing fires is scheduled to take until the middle of 2010.


This article was provided by egeplast Werner Strumann GmbH & Co. KG, which is based in Greven, Germany.

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