By now, you’ve likely read countless stories about bursting pipes wreaking havoc on natural gas infrastructure. These pipes are often more than 50 years old and are made from cast iron or steel, which used to be standard materials though they are subject to corrosion over time. A CBS investigation found that nearly a quarter of gas pipelines in Florida fall into this category of pipes that are more than half a century old and in need of replacement or repair.
To address this aging infrastructure and prevent future failures, many utilities and private companies are replacing cast iron and steel pipes with plastic gas lines. In states like New Jersey that were hit hard by storm surges in recent years, it is especially important to consider factors such as corrosion when selecting new materials. The threat of salt water exposure and pressure changes must be factored into the infrastructure replacement strategy.
Even in states without major flood zones, aging cast iron and steel pipes represent a major problem. More than 20% of Pennsylvania’s gas distribution pipe is older than 50 years, and has exceeded its anticipated lifespan. With gas line replacement plans continuing through the next few decades, most replacement lines will be made of durable plastic.
According to the American Gas Association, as of 2007, plastic natural gas service lines accounted for 63% of those installed in the United States. This is a step in the right direction as we work to improve the durability and cost efficiency of infrastructure throughout North America. The Association has long been collecting data to ensure the safety and effectiveness of materials used in natural gas pipelines, and is satisfied with the results of plastic pipe performance.
As more pipelines are updated with plastic materials, it will be interesting to witness the benefits of the updated systems over time. We look forward to working with manufacturers of plastic and composite piping. TCA Technologies has a wealth of knowledge in the development of processes and machinery systems for the plastics and composites sector. To discuss your project, please contact us online or call 519.824.8711.