Papers # 2010 Vancouver
The service life of our nation’s infrastructure has become a topic of increasing focus 1n recent years. While above-ground infrastructure deterioration is readily apparent, the infrastructure beneath the surface can be much worse and yet is often ignored until it is too late. Since culverts and other buried structures typically aren’t inspected as frequently as above-ground structures such as bridges, the proper assessment and determination of their service life becomes very important. The definition for service life is often unclear and each pipe industry seems to have different requirements. This paper will help clarify the definition of service life for drainage pipe, as well as outline a protocol that has been used to establish 100-year service life for corrugated high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe by utilizing some of the current widely-accepted methods employed by the smooth-walled plastic pipe industry while modifying them somewhat to take into account the unique geometry and installation conditions of buried corrugated pipe. In addition to the pipe material, one also must consider the joints, gaskets, and installed pipe system in assessing service life. Since a pipe system is only as strong as its weakest link, the entire installed system for all pipe types should be assessed.