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New standard for pipes on contaminated land welcomed

Pipe specialists have welcomed the agreement of a new British Standard for potable water pipes conveying drinking water across contaminated land.

Polyethylene barrier pipes are widely used on brownfield sitesPolyethylene barrier pipes are widely used on brownfield sites

The new standard (BS 8588) outlines the requirements for polyethylene pressure pipe with an aluminium barrier layer and associated fittings, which are typically used for potable water supply in contaminated ground such as brownfield sites.

It has been welcomed by the BPF (British Plastics Federation) Pipes Group, the trade association which represents manufacturers of plastic piping systems across the UK.

Since 2007, Water Industry Specification (WIS) 4-32-19 has specified the materials and performance of piping systems.  At the time, these products offered a new and innovative means to transport drinking water through brownfield sites without the need for extensive remedial work.

Now 10 years on and with an increasing emphasis on land reuse, polyethylene pipes with an aluminium barrier layer are routinely used on large development sites. The long lengths offered by coiled pipes minimise the number of joints required, saving time and the risk of contamination.

The Water Industry Specification and the products manufactured to it are now so successful in dealing with the problem of laying potable water pipes through contaminated land that manufacturers and water suppliers have been keen to ensure protection offered to consumers through rigorous testing was further encouraged through translation of the requirements into a British Standard.

Mike Shepherd, Water UK Standards Manager, who chaired the drafting group, said: “The water companies, WRAS and manufacturers have worked together to accomplish the publication of BS 8588.  I am pleased that the British Standard retains all elements of the Water Industry Specification and ensures that systems tested to its requirements will continue to be a reliable solution for protecting drinking water.”

The BPF Pipes Group members remind purchasers that WRAS approval is given to the whole piping system. 

Dominic O’Sullivan, GPS PE Piping Systems, explained: “The true benefit of installing these barrier systems is peace of mind for water suppliers and their consumers when it comes to the quality of water at the tap.  Integrity is assessed through the test for resistance to permeation which is designed to demonstrate that components in a system can together adequately resist the ingress of hydrocarbon contaminants.  To comply with BS 8588, manufacturers will need to declare the combinations of pipes, fittings and fusion joints which have been proven to meet this standard. Purchasing from a member of the BPF Pipes Group will ensure that confidence in the whole system can be assured.”

Water UK will archive WIS 4-32-19 when the new British Standard is published, and will encourage specifiers to reference the new standard.  Over the following 12 months, manufacturers will be updating their certification from WIS 4-32-19 to BS 8588.

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Pipes & Pipelines
Tags: Water supply , Pipes

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