April Newsline: New Orleans reinstates sewer/water program; Keystone Pipeline grabs; raising rates to fund infrastructure and more

April 2010 Vol. 65 No. 4

The lawsuit alleges J-M deceived its customers by specially producing pipe samples tested by outside certification agencies such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), International Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and NSF International, while continuing in its day-to-day operations to use a cheaper manufacturing process that produced weaker pipes but enabled the company to increase its profits.

Despite these significant production changes, J-M failed to re-qualify its pipe as industry standards require and instead falsely represented that the pipes were unchanged, according to the lawsuit.

Formosa Plastics required J-M to use its resins and compounds for much of the PVC pipe at issue in this case and actively participated in the fraud, according to the lawsuit.

Localities could save big on infrastructure with competition, better materials
As the infrastructure that delivers water to homes begins to deteriorate, governments at all levels need to take steps to ensure they're not flushing taxpayer dollars down the drain when replacing the pipes, according to a brief published by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU).

"By opening municipal procurement and ensuring that more competitive bidding is tied to federal funds for underground infrastructure, the U.S. will save hundreds of billions of dollars in the short term," wrote Bruce Hollands, executive director of the Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association and the author of the brief. "This would also pave the way to an economy that wastes less energy, utilities that are more efficient, and pipe networks with much longer life cycles."

NTU Issue Brief #176, The Underground Infrastructure Crisis: Rebuilding Water and Sewer Systems without a Flood of Red Ink, reports:
1. Infrastructure for water, electricity, sewer, and transportation services is deteriorating at a rate that will cause all four to need replacement at the same time. At a minimum, this will cost $6.5T in the next 25 years.
2. Corrosion of pipes costs water and sewer systems $50.7B annually, and 17 percent of all water pumped in the United States is lost to leakage from corroded pipes.
3. Federal policy over the past 50 years has encouraged the use of plastic and PVC piping that reduces corrosion and minimizes transportation, maintenance, and construction costs to municipalities.
4. Pending legislation to address infrastructure renewal does not address corrosion problems or encourage use of more sustainable materials.

The complete NTU Issue Brief is available in PDF.