In France in 1664, Louis XIV ordered the construction of a 15-mile-long cast-iron pipeline to supply water from a pumping station on the River Seine to the royal palace at Versailles. In the late 1940s, ductile iron was invented, and today it’s the most commonly used material in the U.S. for both potable water and sewage. Although ductile iron can have a lifespan of up to 100 years, this is very much dependent on soil and other conditions, including corrosion.
For all ferrous material, corrosion is a significant problem. There are a number of methods used to fight it, including coatings, sleeving and cathodic protection. But coatings and sleeving can be damaged during installation, and cathodic protection means additional equipment and maintenance throughout the entire life of the pipe.
There are some less immediate costs, too. Corrosion can lead to deposits that affect hydraulic performance. It’s a bit like plaque inside the arteries of a guy who’s too fond of barbecued pork ribs. For a pipeline, this corrosion means costly maintenance or the need to compensate by adding pumping capacity.
The simple cure for all this is Flowtite® FRP. It’s the sworn enemy of corrosion and resists attack by inhospitable soil conditions. With superior, sustainable hydraulic characteristics, ‘plaque buildup’ is a thing of the past — and you don’t even have to give up barbecue.
Looking at the total lifetime costs of pipe material, all the hidden repair and maintenance costs are clearly revealed. Keeping these things in mind may be why more and more owners and engineers are choosing FRP and thereby reducing some of the immediate and long-term costs of infrastructure development and rehabilitation, which are such a strain on their budgets.
Things have certainly come a long way since 1664. The days of the despotic monarch are long over. I’m glad to report that the age of pipeline corrosion may also soon be as out-of-date as the Sun King himself.
P.S. Still doubt the wisdom of specifying FRP for your pressure and sewage applications? Skeptics should look forward to our March webinar. How’s that for a teaser? Just watch this space and all will be revealed.