The Ductile Iron Pipe Research Association (DIPRA) proudly promotes what it calls the “Century Club,” members of which include cities across America that have used iron pipe for more than 100 years.  

But what happens when Century Club cities determine, correctly, that PVC pipe is the better choice, both in terms of reliability and affordability. We couldn’t help but wonder – would DIPRA revoke their Club membership?

Nofolk, VA may soon know the answer.  A local news outlet recently reported that the city’s investment to replace its iron pipe with PVC pipe is “paying off,” exhibited by the remarkable drop in pipe failures that have occurred this year.  According to Harry Kenyon, Management Services Administrator with Norfolk’s Department of Utilities:

"Generally when you get really cold weather like this and then it warms up it makes our pipes contract and expand and often times we'll see main breaks, so this time around we only saw four which is very good."

Kenyon added that there are 900 miles of pipe running under city streets.

"We've been working on infrastructure replacement. Replacing old cast-iron pipes, with PVC plastic pipes. And I think those improvements we're seeing the results of that, so we're seeing fewer main breaks."

For once, we agree with DIPRA – Norfolk, VA is indeed a great example to follow when choosing the best material available to support our nation’s water infrastructure.