Competition Drives Lower Taxpayer Cost to Replace Sewer and Supply Lines, But Some Material Suppliers Can’t Bid

open competition pipe infrastructure

A U.S. Drainage & Water Pipe Market report by Daedal Research published in January 2017 provides a detailed analysis of markets, trends, growth factors, and other information on key players in the drainage and water pipe arena. Not only is the report itself generating interest, but the public policy implications emerging from its data deserve attention.

Repairing Water Infrastructure

Daedal Research predicts growth of the U.S. drainage & water pipe market will increase “tremendously” between now and 2020, but many advanced materials may not be able to compete for project work!

Growth, according to the report, will be due to macro trends in building and construction among other drivers. Furthering the growth is the fact that water infrastructure is a necessary component of all new building structures and there is an ongoing need for repairing dilapidated, rusted and corroded water supply and drainage infrastructure pipe. Challenges that could stunt this repair and growth include fluctuations in materials availability and pricing. But the biggest challenge in the U.S. might be that in thousands of local jurisdictions, qualified, “built to codes and specs” pipe materials cannot even bid for the job. New technologies that help prevent pipes bursting, help prevent pipes leaking and help prevent costly business area disruptions, don’t even get a chance to bid on the infrastructure repair work. The reason is that many local ordinances restrict the type of materials that can compete for project work.

Problems with Business-as-Usual

The plastic pipe industry is proposing solutions to these challenges. The industry is advocating for open competition to allow all materials that meet the specs and standards for a job to compete for that job. In many jurisdictions across the country, “business-as-usual” county ordinances restrict competition to legacy pipe materials, which can raise costs to taxpayers. By contrast, in other places, local ordinances that allow for multiple materials that meet engineering standards to compete for work can save taxpayer dollars.

open competition pipe infrastructure

Open Competition – Not “Virtual” Monopolies

These “open competition” ordinances and specifications allow local engineers to decide the best material for the job. “This includes not requiring the lowest bid always being selected” according to Cal Dooley of the American Chemistry Council. Open competition drives efficiency and improved outcomes – municipal authorities getting better material technologies and choices, taxpayer funds spent more wisely, and local engineers having broader authority to make the best choices for their local area.

In some cases that will be plastic piping, which is quickly gaining popularity because HDPE and PVC pipes can meet engineering requirements, specs and codes, can cost less per mile to install, can require fewer connectors and can last longer than more traditional pipe options. At other times, legacy material options such as ductile iron and concrete serve their purpose. Regardless, research shows that competition drives down taxpayer costs and will help drive the innovation necessary to meet the rising growth experts predict.

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