The underground war has begun to replace water pipeline

The underground war has begun to replace water pipeline

waterWith the aging water pipeline system in the US the denting task to replace has begun.

There are two industries that are now looking at the estimated $334.8 billion that local governments are going to spend on replacing water and sewer pipes over the next decades.

The plastic and iron industries are going head to head to make their cases.

Traditionally iron like materials or steel make up about two-thirds of the water pipe infrastructure. But in recent years and lesson learned like Flint about iron lead pipe underground, the focus has been on plastic material. It could be as much as 80 percent of the pipeline system could be replaced with plastic.

The Plastics industry has profited of the aftermath of Flint to lobbies through the American Chemistry Council (ACC).  The ACC lobbied in at least five states – Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina to open bids for municipal water projects to all applicable materials like plastic.

Opponents of the bills are viewing the plastic industry tactics by using the legislation to access the market and compete against the traditional pipe suppliers.

The plastic industry is propensity on the American City County Exchange, a new group that helps corporations to influence public policy at the city and county levels. This group works under the American Legislative Exchange Council, mostly funded by Charles G and David H. Koch two petrochemicals billionaires supporting corporations and local politicians to write new legislations.

To access this group members are paying $25,000 to have access to some 1,500 mayors and local council members who have signed up for the initiative.

Plastics could be a preferable replacement material for the country’s aging pipes. It is lightweight, easy to install, corrosion free and cheaper than iron.

Some scientists are cautioning in regards of replacing the infrastructure with plastic. Studies have shown that toxic pollutants like benzene and toluene from spills and soil contamination can penetrate certain types of plastic pipe as they age.

To counter attack the momentum the plastic industry has gained, the iron pipe industry has started a PR campaign voicing their concerns over plastics.

As the battle for the $300 billion is unfolding, we are going to see who will emerge has the stronger player.