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Water Main Break Rates in the USA and Canada

Utah State University, Buried Structures Laboratory

Major Findings:

  • PVC pipe has the lowest overall failure rate when compared to cast iron, ductile iron, steel and asbestos cement pipes;
  • Corrosion is a major cause of water main breaks;
  • Newer, thinner-walled ductile iron pipe is experiencing failures more rapidly than older cast iron pipes.

According to Utah State University, from 2012 to 2018:

  • In North America, water main breaks have increased by 27%
  • Asbestos cement pipe breaks have increased by 46%
  • Cast iron pipe breaks have increased by 43%
  • Ductile iron (DI) pipe failure rates have increased by 13%
  • PVC pipe breaks have decreased by 10%

Water Pipe Break Rates, 2012 -2018

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