Gray Water Subsurface Irrigation: PVC Pipe

Gray water subsurface irrigation systems recycle non-industrial wastewater generated from...

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) piping is the most widely used plastic piping material. It is available...

Benefit of Material to Systems Application

More footage of PVC piping is used in the world today than any other piping material mainly due to its durability, safety and ease of installation, cost-effectiveness and environmental soundness. For these reasons, PVC gray water piping is the material of choice in most applications. Gray water piping is available for subsurface irrigation, reclaimed non-potable water and rain-water harvesting. PVC piping is recognized as acceptable for use in gray water systems in all major model plumbing codes.

System Application and Material Usage

For gray water applications solid walled PVC pipe of either Schedule 40 or constant pressure rated [(Standard Dimensional Ration (SDR)] is used. (Schedule and SDR designations indicate the pressure capacity of the pipe.)

Solvent cementing is the most commonly used method of joining these piping systems. For subsurface irrigation applications, 3-inch perforated pipe is typically used for field drainage. For transporting reclaimed water, solid wall purple colored pipe is used with the words printed on the pipe exterior stating “Do Not Use for Potable Water”. The purple color also points out to the installer not to mix the reclaimed water lines with any potable water lines.

In rain-harvesting applications PVC piping is used to transport the rainwater to above or belowground reservoirs which may be used in irrigation or other non-potable water applications. 

Standard PVC pressure piping is available in Schedule 40 and SDR pipe dimensions and from ½ inch to 24 inch diameters. Pipe comes normally in 10 foot or 20 foot lengths. PVC pipe may be used above or below ground. If used aboveground and exposed to the sun’s rays, it is advisable to protect the pipe with an approved shield. The most commonly used protection is a coat of water-based latex paint.

For aboveground installations of PVC pipe, solvent cementing is used almost exclusively. Cemented joints are easy and safe to make requiring no expensive or special tools. The joint, if made properly, is stronger than the pipe or fitting.

In underground applications, solvent cementing is also used; however, elastomeric gasketed-spigot joints may be an alternate method of joining. Schedule 40 and SDR pipe cannot be directly threaded (only Schedule 80 and 120 dimensional pipe can). If threaded connections are required use unions or other socket transition adapters. To ensure a leak-free system, completely follow the manufacturer’s joining and installation instructions. In testing any PVC piping systems, test hydrostatically—DO NOT TEST WITH AIR.  
Other alternate PVC gray water piping materials for consideration may be: ABS, PE, PP, or Styrene. However in almost all cases, PVC is the preferred piping material. For more information visit the PPFA Website.

Manufacturers and Suppliers Participating in OPUS

Asahi/America, Inc.

Asahi/America pioneered the market for thermoplastic valves in the United States and Latin......
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Charlotte Pipe & Foundry

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry is the only manufacturer that offers a system of cast iron, PVC......
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F.W. Webb Company

F.W. Webb Company is a multi-faceted distributor of plumbing and heating, HVAC and controls,......
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Ferguson specializes in providing PVF, Plumbing, HVAC and Related Specialty Products and......
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Galloup Company

J.O. Galloup Company is a premier distributor of commercial and industrial piping products,......
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Hajoca Corporation

Founded in 1858, the Hajoca Corporation is the largest privately owned wholesale distributor of......
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Jomar Valve

Founded in 1966 by former Navy Commander Joseph Martin, Jomar Valve set out to change the way......
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MORSCO is a leading U.S. distributor of commercial and residential plumbing, HVAC, and PVF, with......
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NIBCO Inc. is a recognized industry leader of flow control solutions to the residential and......
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The Commonwealth Group

The Commonwealth Group is the industry’s newest, 100-percent member owned, $8.5......
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Wade Drainage Products

Wade Drains is the oldest drain company in the United States. Founded in 1865 by J.J. Wade, it......
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Weldbend Corporation

Weldbend Corporation is a manufacturer of carbon steel welding fittings and forged steel......
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WinWholesale, Inc. is comprised of over 525 wholesale distribution locations. Along with Noland......
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