Exova statement on UKWIR report on leaking water pipes

Correction from Exova to UKWIR report about failures on water PE pipes

In early 2011 the well reputed UK Water Industry Research Limited (UKWIR) published a comprehensive report about the integrity of water supply systems made of PE in the United Kingdom.

The report was promoted to the interested public under the somewhat misleading heading "Did you know that up to 20% of PE electro fusion joints may well fail before they reach their design life time, according to failure data analysis?". This statement caused quite some concern and uncertainty with end users.

Consequently the PE100+ Association approached Exova (UK) who carried out the research work the report is based on and received a clarifying statement indicating that PE pipes have the lowest failure rate amongst all the different materials used in the construction of water mains.

Full text below:

April  2012

UKWIR Report "Leakage from PE Pipe Systems"

In early 2011 the well reputed UK Water Industry Research Limited (UKWIR) published a comprehensive report about the integrity of water supply systems made of PE in the United Kingdom.

The report was promoted to the interested public under the somewhat misleading heading "Did you know that up to 20% of PE electro fusion joints may well fail before they reach their design life time, according to failure data analysis?". This statement caused quite some concern and uncertainty with end users.

Consequently the PE100+ Association approached Exova (UK) who carried out the research work the report is based on and received the following statement:

"Exova Response to the Abstract for UKWIR Report Reference 10/WM/08/43

Recently UKWIR published an abstract on their website based on work carried out on their behalf by Exova that implied that 20% of all electrofusion joints contained defects which would cause the premature failure of polyethylene pipe systems. We wish to make clear that this is not the case in respect of our findings from the work we carried out, which have been misrepresented in this abstract.

In fact the new study confirms that PE pipes have the lowest failure rate amongst all the different materials used in the construction of water mains at between 3 & 4 failures/ 100 km / year. Approximately 40% of the recorded failures are at joints and poorly constructed electrofusion joints are a major cause for concern in the UK. In the report we offer recommendations to reduce the risk of failure from electrofusion joints through testing to ensure that the most robust electrofusion fittings are used and by the use of improved installation standards, training, certification schemes and auditing of installations."

The above statement is self-explanatory and confirms again the reliability of PE pipes and fittings used in utility systems.

Created Friday 18 May 2012


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