Plastic – new material used for Leesburg water system
In an effort to better serve the community, The Town of Leesburg constantly researches new materials to implement in the town’s utility systems. Recently, the utility department decided to conduct a pilot program to test a new material for the town’s water system. Officials didn’t need to look far to find a worthy material.
Locally headquartered REHAU North America has developed MUNICIPEX, also known as PEX, which is a cross-linked polyethylene for use in water system piping.
Leesburg installed a new piping system in early October near Trailview Boulevard and Cardinal Park Drive as part of the pilot program.
According to REHAU officials, the product offers increased durability and longer service life than conventional copper tubing and other high-density polyethylenes. It also minimizes maintenance and long-term replacement costs.
Leesburg Utility Maintenance Manager John Creamer made the decision to implement the pilot program and noted the industry seems to be moving in a new direction.
“Over the last several years, there has been a lot of development in different materials like plastic and high-density plastic. Gas companies have switched to the high-density plastic and it is an incredibly durable material,” Creamer said. “I think the industry is going to lean toward plastics because of industry problems like corrosion and straight electrical currents because it is a nonconductor.”
Creamer noted the town has used plastics in the past and even used some high-density plastics, which he really likes, but the new material from REHAU is better.
“We have used plastic before, but the structure and chemistry of this pipe is a little bit different. It has a proven track record and has been used in Canada. Obviously, REHAU is right here as well,” Creamer said. “Modern plastics are molded much differently now and the high-density plastic is actually a pressurized material and this MUNICIPEX has a chemistry bonding that has changed it even more dramatically than the high-density plastic. Having been in the industry a long time I have always been an iron pipe and copper water service type of guy, but I think the industry is changing completely.”
While Creamer noted they haven’t received any feedback on the new system since its installment, that is the best he could hope for.
“In this case, when you hear nothing that is all good,” Creamer said.