The Future of America’s Water Pipe Infrastructure

Learn more about the future of America's water pipe technology and the future of infrastructure in the article below. ...
The Future of America’s Water Pipe Infrastructure
Written by Brian Wallace
  • Since 4,000 BCE, humans have transported water from one place to another. While humans have far evolved from the wood pipes used in Ancient Crete, the means have stayed the same since then. Fast forward to the United States today, where we have laid over 2.2 million miles of water pipe.

    Within these 2 million miles of water pipe installed, there are various types of pipes used. Steel pipes, made in 1820, are common in the U.S. with a longevity of 85 years. However, these pipes were expensive to create and were plagued with corrosion issues, which often cut this longevity short. In its place, Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipes (PCCP), made in 1942, arose to replace them. While these pipes were cheaper, they were much more prone to breaking. Premature failure, a shorter longevity, and the same corrosion issues necessitate the creation of another pipe.

    So, 13 years later, the Ductile Iron Pipe (DIP) was created. These pipes negated the premature failure but created more issues. They were susceptible to corrosion, just like the pipes before them, but corroded DIP pipes had significant health ramifications. Adults saw kidney, liver, and bone damage while children had developmental delays. There was also a larger environmental impact with the implementation of these pipes. DIP pipes emitted nearly 128 kg of CO2 for every meter of pipe. Corroded DIP pipes also resulted in a reduction in plant root growth of over 40%.

    Issues and Solutions in Water Pipe Technologies

    These frequent corrosion issues tie into the larger maintenance issues with the U.S. piping system. With over 2 million miles of water pipes, only 0.5% of it gets replaced annually. This means that water pipes can go as long as 200 years without being properly replaced. This becomes problematic when you consider the lifespan of the pipes being used, which are often shortened by corrosion as well. On top of this, decaying pipe infrastructure can lead to catastrophic results, namely sinkholes on public roads.

    Ultimately, the piping issues lead to major inefficiencies across the nation. On average, the U.S. has a water main burst about every 2 minutes. Consequently, the U.S. wastes 6 billion gallons of treated water on a daily basis. This equates to roughly 9,000 swimming pools worth of water lost due to poor water pipes.

    Fortunately, modern innovation has arrived at a solution. Hobas’s Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Mortar (FRPM) pipes serve to last over 150 years of usage. Additionally, these pipes no longer corrode, which is sure to make it last much longer than its predecessors. On top of the other benefits, these pipes have the lowest carbon footprint and can easily be implemented into new and existing water mains alike.


    Piping changes alone cannot fix the problem. The Federal Government pledged $5.8 billion to update water pipe infrastructure, which is a major step in the right direction. In order to cut the maintenance needs, reduce emissions, and prevent sinkholes in public roads, the U.S. needs to combine FRPM pipes with infrastructure funding. Together with funding, FRPM pipes can bring America’s water infrastructure to the future.

    The Water Fiberglass Pipe – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

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