Did you know that the plumbing pipes at your home, commercial real estate, or industrial building may be dangerous to your health, and the health of others that live or work there? Properties that were constructed prior to 1990 may have plumbing systems that were constructed with materials that are no longer used today. In fact, the Unites States federal government has banned the use of particular piping materials due to safety issues and other plumbing related problems. Since plumbing pipes are contained within walls inside of your property, and underground outside of your property, the only way to truly determine if you have dangerous pipes is through the use of a professional video pipe inspection. The following types of pipe material are considered to be dangerous.

Lead Pipes

Lead happens to be one of the oldest metals used for piping, and was mainly used for sewer and water main lines. This was due to the fact that lead is an extremely pliable metal, which means it was easy to bend into pipes. However, lead is highly toxic and regular contact can result in joint and gastrointestinal pain, irritability, memory loss, and even physical and mental development issues in children. The use of lead was restricted in 1920, but it wasn’t banned in full until Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1986. If your property is 75 years old or older, and the plumbing pipes were never replaced, you most likely have lead pipes. Although most lead plumbing pipes across the country have been replaced, a few do slip through the cracks. A video camera inspection will tell for sure.

Galvanized Pipes

Galvanized pipes are made from iron and then coated with a layer of zinc. While the piping itself can last almost 60 years, the zinc erodes over time and can cause the pipes to become clogged with rust. That presents a negative situation on two fronts. First, rust can enter into the drinking water, which of course is unhealthy. Second and just as important, rusted sewer pipes lead directly to sewer leaks. That means you could be facing the backup of raw sewage both inside and outside of your property, which could lead to thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars in clean up costs and fines.

Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene pipes were once considered to be a more cost effective alternative to copper piping based on the fact that it was easy to install, and the material was cheap. However, the manufacturer was forced to pay out millions of dollars when a lawsuit alleged the pipes of being defective. The plastic experienced a chemical reaction with oxidants in public water that led to the plastic flaking, become brittle, and then cracking. This type of material no longer meets US building codes and should be replaced in any home, commercial, or industrial building before the pipes fail and cause a significant amount of damage.

Orangeburg Pipes

Orangeburg pipes are built out of wood and then sealed with a coal tar material. These pipes saw widespread use during WWII in housing developments due to a shortage of cast iron that was needed for the war effort. Although Orangeburg pipes were expected to last for 50 plus years, they typically fell apart after 10-15 years. That being stated, they can still be found in older homes across the country. If your property contains Orangeburg plumbing pipes they are literally a ticking time bomb that could burst at any time. Burst water pipes can cause significant damage to your property. Burst sewage pipes can cause a severe health hazard.

In conclusion, if you are unaware of how old your plumbing pipes are, or what material they are made of, it is time to invest in a professional video pipe inspection. You certainly need to know if there is a potential a problem within the walls or brewing underground. If you have any questions or would like to schedule service we are happy to help. Jolin Paving & Excavating, Inc. is your New England connection for a vast variety of environmentally related services. Our company has been serving Boston Massachusetts, Southern NH, VT & ME as well as Northern CT & RI since 1952. Please Contact us to learn more today.

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