Plastic Pipe Facts™

Driscopipe 8000 HDPE Gas Pipe Failures in the Southwestern United States:

In March 2012, the US Department of Transportation (Docket No. PHMSA-2012-0044) issued a Pipeline Safety Notice to "Operators of Driscopipe® 8000 High Density Polyethylene Pipe of the Potential for Material Degradation" (Driscopipe® is a trademark of the Chevron Phillips Chemical Company - Performance Pipe division).1 Operators of HDPE gas distribution pipe (1/2" to 2" CTS) in Nevada and Arizona have discovered gas leaks in degraded HDPE lines. The degradation is manifesting itself as "delamination and surface cracking . . ." on pipe installed between 1978 and 1999 in the desert Southwest. Failures in 2004 and 2007 have caused pipeline operators to implement replacement and leak detection programs.

The manufacturer (Performance Pipe, a division of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company) issued a "Response to Questions" dated February 8, 2012, which identifies no cause for the problems nor does it indicate how widespread the HDPE degradation issues might be.2 Pictures of the degraded pipe are attached for review:

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  1. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Docket No. PHMSA-2012-0044, Pipeline Safety: Notice to Operators of Driscopipe® 8000 High Density Polyethylene Pipe for Potential for Material Degradation.
  2. Letter from Karen Lively of Performance Pipe to Max Kieba (Department of Transportation) 2/8/2012