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PVC vs hdpe/poly for drinking water line

 
Posts: 34
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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We need to hook up a buried drinking water line to one of our buildings, about 150ft.  We happen to have enough of this 1" schedule 40 nsf pvc pipe that was laying around, it's four years old, and spent at least one year outside in the woods, I think the rest of the time it was behind a building but some of the ends would have gotten some sun then too.

I've been reading a lot about types of pipe trying to decide what to do.  I know pvc breaks down in the sun, I've seen cracked pvc at other homesteads outdoors.  I am unsure how damaged our pvc is already just from being outside so long.  I'm reluctant to bury it if it might crack and leak later.  And it's going under the edge of our road so there could be vehicle pressure, we're only going 1.5ft deep.  I also can't quite tell if the pvc is less safe for drinking water.  I've read a lot of places saying pvc is toxic, and other places that say it's not.

pros of hdpe:
- more durable to external forces (vehicle pressure, freezing)
- simpler fittings, simpler installation
- new, so no danger that it's already brittle from UV
- consistent with the rest of our water lines so future repairs are more straightforward, and no need to transition between types
- considered safe for drinking water, while it's unclear to me about the pvc

pros of pvc:
- we already have it here, saves maybe $100

Now that I've written this down I lean strongly toward getting hdpe pipe.  But maybe my pros of hdpe are overblown and it really makes no difference?
 
Posts: 125
Location: Elk Grove, CA
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PVC isn’t potable. HDPE is sometimes rated as potable for cold water only. Me personally, I hate all plastics equally and believe it’s only a matter of time before we learn just how horrid ALL of them are, (pex included)... BPA, estrogen mimicking chemicals, forever chemicals... it’s all crap. I choose copper. It’s more expensive, but it’s durable and the only material I feel is proven safe.

That being said, I also understand that sometimes you gotta do what you have to do, just to get by. So if you do, then go with what you got, and try to fix/correct it once you are able to.

Good Luck!
 
Posts: 593
Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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PVC without softeners is brittle and those softeners are feared for all sorts of bad properties.
So either your PVC pipe has lost the softeners and is now unusable, or it still has them and will leak them into you water...
PVC also burns with lots of toxic smoke.

While copper piping is appealing (and will have to be used or hot drinking water), the cost is simply too high for me at the lengths required. And then is the corrosion issue with the soil, so it would need to be wrapped in another pipe.

I think polypropylene is a pretty good choice and it is quite affordable. (But get the drinking water rated one.)
 
gardener
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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PVC isn't considered safe for potable water by the regulating authorities.
Given the stuff that they will allow,  I think that taking this seriously is a good idea.
CPVC , recognizable by the yellowish color, is considered safe for potable water.
In my experience as a plumber  CPVC becomes brittle over time, especially hot water lines.
I belive that this is due to the plasticizers leaching into the water.
Because of this I prefer to use PEX for potable water lines.
Copper is excellent,  but extremely expensive.

You could also use the PVC and filter the water at the other end, but that seems counter productive.
 
pollinator
Posts: 975
Location: Southern Oregon
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My understanding is that PVC isn't acceptable for hot water lines, but cold water are fine. Everyone around here uses buried PVC to run water lines from the well pump to the houses, it's standard. It switches to copper or PEX when it enters the house. It was a pain when we had a leak, but mostly because we didn't know where the lines were buried, and you can't use metal detectors to find them. So now we have them flagged.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1808
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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For the sake of $100 and having to rebury 150 ft of pipe I think the new pipe is a better idea.
 
Rocket Scientist
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I agree new pipe might be best BUT...
I use both, poly pipe is great to bury and if you use the 200 psi stuff it is tough!
The down side to poly pipe is the internal connectors.  If your pumping from a well with clean water then no problem.
If you are using it like me from an artesian spring then internal connectors are a build up blockage point.
I have had to blow air up my 2200 ft of line to clear out debri.

I use pvc pipe with external connectors down here at the house.  I also increased size from 1.5" to 2" as well.
Ridged pipe is tough stuff as well but it does not bend much at all. It is best being bedded in sand.

I have never heard anything bad about using pvc for drinking water.  
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 1808
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Whats the difference between the plastics

It suggests PVC will last about 3 years in the sun
A separate page shows push fittings not heat fusion joints, they are used on large pipes. Probaly 3inch and greater.
push lock couplings

As for water safety, the best seems to be copper from all accounts.
But nobody can afford it.
The facts are from the guberment and industry that the plastics offered today are safe for human beings.
I have read many papers to come to that conclusion.
Sure there are papers which disagree, but I look at the science, others may not. BUT, read widely and make up your own mind if you are confused.
I have been using HDPE for 42 years, so far I have not encountered any medical issues.
 
thomas rubino
Rocket Scientist
Posts: 4307
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Ok , after reading the information that John supplied.
I have learned that I do not have nor do I know anything about this HDPE pipe.
It sounds like very good stuff.
 
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