A water pipe is any pipe or tube designed to transport treated drinking water to consumers. The varieties include large diameter main pipes, which supply entire towns, smaller branch lines that supply a street or group of buildings, or small diameter pipes located within individual buildings. Materials commonly used to construct water pipes include cast iron, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), copper, steel, or concrete.
A water pipe is any pipe or tube designed to transport drinking water to consumers. If the water is treated before distribution or at the point of use (POU) depends on the context. In well planned and designed water distribution networks, water is generally treated before distribution and sometimes also chlorinated, in order to prevent recontamination on the way to the end user. The varieties of water pipes include large diameter main pipes, which supply entire towns, smaller branch lines that supply a street or group of buildings, or small diameter pipes located within individual buildings. Water pipes can range in size from giant mains of up to 3.65 m in diameter to small 12.7 mm pipes used to feed individual outlets within a building. Materials commonly used to construct water pipes include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), cast iron, copper, steel and in older systems concrete or fired clay. Joining individual water pipe lengths to make up extended runs is possible with flange, nipple, compression or soldered joints (SCOTT 2011).
Types of pipes
Pipes come in several types and sizes. They can be divided into three main categories: metallic pipes, cement pipes and plastic pipes. Metallic pipes include steel pipes, galvanised iron pipes and cast iron pipes. Cement pipes include concrete cement pipes and asbestos cement pipes. Plastic pipes include plasticised polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes (LEE n.y.).
Steel pipes are comparatively expensive, but they are the strongest and most durable of all water supply pipes. They can withstand high water pressure, come in convenient (longer) lengths than most other pipes and thus incur lower installation/transportation costs. They can also be easily welded (LEE n.y.)
Galvanised steel or iron pipes
Galvanised steel or iron is the traditional piping material in the plumbing industry for the conveyance of water and wastewater. Although still used throughout the world, its popularity is declining. The use of galvanised steel or iron as a conveyer for drinking water is problematic where water flow is slow or static for periods of time because it causes rust from internal corrosion. Galvanised steel or iron piping may also give an unpalatable taste and smell to the water conveyed under corrosive conditions (WHO 2006).
Cast iron pipes
Cast iron pipes are quite stable and well suited for high water pressure. However, cast iron pipes are heavy, which makes them unsuitable for inaccessible places due to transportation problems. In addition, due to their weight, they generally come in short lengths increasing costs for layout and jointing.
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