Taking Stock of the Pipe Market

It’s hard to believe but there was a time in the United States when there were few choices when it came to choosing pipe materials. More than 100 years ago, brick was a popular choice but many cities chose a more convenient conduit, namely local rivers and streams. An old hollow log was also an option.

But that was then. Over the years, a plethora of pipe choices have given sewer owners options their predecessors two centuries ago didn’t have. The method of installation has evolved as well and includes trenchless techniques such as pipe bursting, sliplining, pipe jacking and horizontal directional drilling.
As a result, today’s sewers comprise a variety of pipe materials. So what are cities putting in the ground and how are they installing it or rehabbing their existing pipe?

To get some perspective for what is already in the ground and what is going in the ground — as well as the criteria affecting an owner’s decisions — Trenchless Technology informally polled sewer system operators and consulting engineers from around the United States. The results of that poll are revealed over the next three pages.

(Editor’s Note: For some questions, respondents were allowed to check more than one answer, making some of the percentages exceed 100 percent.)

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