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March/April 2008
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More on Polyethylene Pipe

The letter to the editor by Josh Beakley of the American Concrete Pipe Association on the new standard F 2648, Specification for 2 to 60-inch [50 to 1500 mm] Annular Corrugated Profile Wall Polyethylene (PE) Pipe and Fittings for Land Drainage Applications, misrepresents not only the content of this standard but the product’s application as well (“Polyethylene Pipe,” January/February 2008 SN).

In its scope, F 2648 clearly states it is intended for pipe and fittings for “subsurface and land drainage systems.” Furthermore, Note 2 in this section specifically states, “The products supplied under this specification are not intended for any sanitary sewer or municipal storm sewer applications.” By failing to mention this in his letter, Mr. Beakley insinuates this pipe will be used for American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials/Department of Transportation and municipal projects, which is clearly not the case.

F 2648 was created to address land drainage applications because no ASTM standards for this application existed. The only other ASTM annular corrugated profile wall HDPE pipe standard that previously existed was F 2306, which clearly states its application is for storm sewer systems. It is this standard that meets all the AASHTO design and material requirements and, one can only assume, was the standard Mr. Beakley and the ACPA should have been referencing in the letter.

ASTM develops many standards for specific pipe applications dealing with high pressure gas and water lines, sanitary sewer systems, municipal and DOT storm sewer systems and land drainage systems. Any specifier would be accused of reckless abandon if he or she assumed standards developed for one application (non-pressure gravity flow systems, for example) would be appropriate for another application (high pressure gas or water lines). Yet this is precisely what Mr. Beakley and the ACPA is assuming will take place. A clear distinction is made between municipal storm sewer systems and land drainage systems that any reader of the standards should be able to discern.

There is a major difference in the resin allowed for the manufacturing of the products under these respective standards. F 2306 requires the use of virgin PE compound while F 2648 allows the use of a broader PE compound since it does not mandate the use of virgin material. Both standards reference D 3350, Specification for Polyethylene Plastics Pipe and Fittings Materials, which allows the use of both virgin and recycled materials. As noted in Section 1.2 of the scope of D 3350, “Polyethylene plastic materials, being thermoplastic, are reprocessable and recyclable. This specification allows for the use of those polyethylene materials, provided that all specific requirements of this specification are met.” As our members advance the efforts in addressing ever increasing environmental issues, we view this new standard as progress.

It is plainly evident the two standards are different from each other in both materials and application. The two standards were developed in Committee F17, open to all members (even those with strong competitive interests), and were done to provide clear guidance to the end user as to what raw materials can or cannot be used in different applications.

Tony Radoszewski
Executive Director, Plastics Pipe Institute