What is the environmental impact of PE pipe?

The environmental impact of a pipe in service is a function of the leakage of transported material that it permits to the surrounding environment.

The environmental impact from leakage of PE pipe is less than that from the equivalent iron or steel pipe due to the lower frequency of leakage. However consideration should be given to the nature of the fluid being transported and the potential effect on the environment should third party damage occur.

Exfiltration occurs from the permeation of the fluid, particularly gas, from within the pipe through the pipe wall to the external environment. The level of permeation depends upon the type of fluid being carried, the internal pressure and the wall thickness of the pipe. National and international standards set the maximum allowable level of permeation, for example the transmission rate per millimetre of pipe thickness for methane may not exceed 75 cm3/m3/24h/bar.

Where particularly hazardous fluids are being transported then sensible precautions should be taken on the location of such pipelines near to potable water pipes, aquifers or watercourses. This is true for all pipe materials.

Created Sunday 08 February 2009
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