After more than 175 years, concrete pipe continues to be a product of choice for specifiers, contractors, and design engineers.
Throughout its 111-year history, the American Concrete Pipe Association and its members have met the demands of infrastructure owners while improving the quality and performance of concrete drainage and collection systems through advancements in product design, plant production, and concrete mixes. Contemporary de-signs of production plants in automated and robotic facilities ensure quality of products, health and safety, especially built to overcome severe weather conditions.
Article by Russell Tripp, P.E., President, American Concrete Pipe Association, USA, and published in CPI - Concrete Plant international May 2018. To read the entire article go to the introductory page at American Concrete Pipe Association's web site.
The U.S. has sustained 230 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including Consumer Price Index adjustment to 2018). The total cost of these 230 events exceeded $1.5 trillion (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions). As of April 6, 2018, there have been 3 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States.  The California wildﬁres, which burned more than 9.8 million acres in 2017, destroyed over 15,000 homes and businesses, caused 44 deaths, and racked up a cost of $18 billion. 
Following disaster events, news reports documented pipeline systems and culverts that were irreparably damaged. Failed thermoplastic or corrugated metal drainage systems, from the wild ﬁres in California to the hurricane damage in Texas and Florida, were identiﬁed as the primary cause of many road failures.
Unlike concrete, thermoplastic pipes will melt and burn. Based on recent ﬁres in California, damage to a thermoplastic drainage system has extended far beyond the damaged pipe itself to include sidewalks, roadway, gas/oil pipelines, drinking water systems and nearby structures. Thermoplastic pipe materials installed close to the surface or where there is an ex-posed pipeline inlet or outlet run the risk of being damaged or destroyed by ﬁre regardless of the use of special end treatments. Fires in concrete pipeline systems generally don’t affect structural strength or ﬂow capacity; the two fundamental requirements of a gravity pipeline drainage or collection system. The repair or replacement of infrastructure is incredibly expensive, and the community impacts include the interruption of service, localize ﬂooding and damaged roadways that severely disrupt trafﬁc based on damaged thermoplastic or metal pipelines found in, or adjacent to road rights of way. Thermoplastic pipe culvert failures have been documented recently where access by emergency service vehicles were blocked resulting in loss of property and more threats to health and safety.
Before and after burn. Using the QR-Code you can see the ACPA Comparative Flammability Demonstration October 21, 2015 on www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoXuyWnaJm4
Concrete pipe production facilities produce one of the world’s most enduring products for storm drainage and sewage collection systems. The long-lasting performance of precast concrete pipe and box drainage systems is well documented in severe weather conditions. Compared to thermo-plastic drainage systems, concrete pipe has always been and will continue to be rigid, rugged, and resilient.
Russell Tripp, P.E., Clemson University alumnus, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1982. He spent the ﬁrst 21 years of his professional career working in the natural gas industry. He then served three years in the PVC sheet pile industry and four years in the plastic drainage industry before joining the ACPA.
Precast Concrete Manufacturing Resources from the American Concrete Pipe Association
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