Battle Over Fused PVC

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | October 2008 Vol. 63 No. 10

Following the press release retraction, UGSI issued another letter to customers that stated: "The retraction by PPI validates UGSI's assertions that the information contained in the news release was false and misleading."

Did Underground Solutions initiate or threaten legal action forcing the retraction?

"No," said Andrew Seidel, UGSI chief executive officer and president. "There is a question about the quality of information in the press release, and the responsible thing to do was to retract claims made in the press release.

"In addition to the competitive issues, what concerns us is that such actions cause people to question the integrity of research and can slow the adoption of new technologies because owners and engineers won't trust research."

Bob Walker, P.E., Uni Bell executive director and Atlantic region engineer of the Uni Bell PVC Pipe Association, provided this statement:

"We were pleased that PPI retracted the contents of their news release regarding PVC pipe. PPI has done the right thing by retracting their earlier release. Our industry's utility customers report fewer problems and improved performance with PVC pipes and this continues to generate growing demand for PVC pipes."

Why the retraction?

PPI was asked to comment about why the press release was retracted, why several weeks elapsed before the retraction, who the original release was sent to and what publications printed information from it, and whether PPI represents all of the plastic pipe industry or only the HDPE segment.

Tony Radoszewski, PPI executive director, responded. Much of the information provided deals with the structure of PPI. Below are portions of Radoszewski's written reply responding to the questions:

"In the June 11, 2008 News Release, the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) expressed concern regarding issues relating to a new method of joining polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe using heat fusion. This release was sent to various trade publications like Underground Construction magazine and distributed through various wire services.

"One manufacturer of fused PVC pipe, Underground Solutions Inc. (UGSI), has made several demands regarding the information included in the June 11th news release, and has requested that PPI retract it. We have repeatedly agreed to meet with UGSI representatives regarding its fusible PVC product. To this date, UGSI has not scheduled a meeting with PPI.