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Over the last few years, the concrete industry has rightfully been focused on protecting its structural market share from the wood industry. So much so, that many have forgotten another competing material – plastic. Producers of traditional concrete precast products such as manholes, burial vaults, and pipe are suffering market loss to plastic, often in below-grade applications.
Part of the challenge is that reinforced concrete products have played such an important role in below-grade infrastructure for so long, that specifiers take them for granted. Young engineers often look at concrete as a generic material and are willing to try substitutes, not really understanding how to compare long-term performance. Promoting a complete concrete project, including concrete pipe when possible, is in our best interest. Concrete professionals should prefer a concrete trifecta job site– slabs, walls, and pipes—although industry newcomers may not appreciate why concrete pipe should be preferred over plastic.
You can help create this concrete trifecta by participating in the American Concrete Pipe Association’s (ACPA) webinar “Plastic vs Concrete Pipe, an Engineer’s Responsibility,” which will take place on Thursday, October 29th, at 12 p.m. central time. Better yet, invite a design professional to join you.
Don McNutt, P.E., ACPA’s Great Lakes Region engineer, will review the specifying engineer's responsibility when choosing the material for drainage pipe with a side-by-side comparison of these two unique products. By the end of the session, you’ll know the differences between the design and installation requirements for concrete and plastic pipe, understand the provisions of the ASTM Standards for underground installation of concrete pipe and plastic pipe (ASTM C1479-16 and ASTM D2321-20, respectively), and know how to protect yourself with your pipe design. To register, click here.
And, for history buffs, if you want to learn more about concrete pipe’s role in the history of cities, check out “The History of the Sanitary Sewer” (www.sewerhistory.org). This web site hosts a treasure chest of information on the history of sewers and the role its operators, engineers, and builders have played in making our environment, homes, and communities better and healthier places to live.