D3309 Grey Pipe, is it safe?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Orcacalling, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. Orcacalling

    Orcacalling New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Alert Bay, BC
    D3309 Grey Pipe, is it safe? Is it ok for hot water? Should it be used for drinking water?
  2. Elton Noway

    Elton Noway New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'm "assuming" you are referring to Grey pipe that carries the ASTM D3309 markings. (i.e. pb polybytylene pipe) then the answer would be yes, it is would be safe for both hot water and drinking water. You might see various markings on the pipe similar to :

    NSF-PW .062
    ASTM D-3309 C-1-S
    SDR-11

    That said... be aware there have been "thousands" of lawsuits due to pipe ruptures and failures of polybytylene pipe. In addition to your initial concerns... you should also consider where you plan to use the pipe, how much you plan to install and if it will be accessible after the installation. Plenty have homeowners have been disappointed due to flooding when this pipe bursts inside their walls and ceilings. I personally wouldn't use it in any new construction and would limit its use to an area that wouldn't be damaged by flooding if it busted.

    ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) Polybutylene (PB) plastic pipe and tubing ASTM D 3309 standard test method for polybutylene plastic hot- and cold-water distribution systems.

    Polybutylene (PB) is a flexible plastic piping material, typically gray or black in color, used in an estimated six to ten million hot and cold water plumbing systems in residential site built and manufactured housing between the late 1970’s and 1996. It was not used in drain, waste, and vent applications. All of the model plumbing codes, used for adopting either local or state plumbing codes in most areas of the country, included PB at one time or another as an approved material for use in residential construction. In addition, PB was included as an approved material in manufactured housing. The product was listed by NSF International as meeting an ASTM standard relating to performance (D3309) and as meeting ANSI/NSF 61, the health effects standard. PB also underwent long term hydrostatic testing for a Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI) design basis listing.
  3. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Grey might be potable sch 80 or electrical conduit also.

    I never had a polybutylene failure, I thought the problems were restricted to the fittings.
  4. Elton Noway

    Elton Noway New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Good point... grey PVC could also be electrical conduit but I'm pretty sure electrical conduit wouldn't carry the ASTM D-3309 marking since it specifically pertains to water supply systems and distribution.

    Yes sir... I never had a "pipe" fail either. Of all the failures I've seen they either occured at the fitting (both plastic and metal) as well as at the manifold. That said, while I've never seen it myself, there have been reports of pipe failure due to degeneration of the physical plastic piping and/or fittings caused by water quality (typically high levels of chlorine) resulting in brittle pipes that break or crumble when flexed.
  5. AFSarge

    AFSarge New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Arizona
    I've had plenty of trouble with PBC or Polyethylene Gray pipe. Leaks do not just happen at the fittings it also happens in the lines. PBC cannot handle any type of water that has been treated with Chlorine. The water where I live has been treated with chlorine but the levels are low and there is very little to no taste or smell of chlorine in the water like there are in other parts of the country and larger cities. The chlorine makes the PBC plastic hard and susceptible to splitting or cracking. This becomes a big problem where water hammering can occur when a faucet or valve is turned off. It also happens in areas where water pressure is high or where the water pressure can vary, like in neighborhoods that have high usage at certain times of the day, week or year. Many times the leak is small and will go unnoticed for days or sometimes weeks and only gets noticed when mold starts to grow and smell. I strongly do not recommend the use of PBC plumbing in any construction or residence. As far as I know and have been told by county inspectors, PBC is no longer allowed to be used and has been replaced by PEX Tubing but in order to install PEX tubing you need special tools as it is not glued. I favor the PVC or CPVC schedule II when I replaced all my PBC. It is easier to work with and you do not need special tooling to install or repair it and it is readily available and so are the fittings and glue. On a special note here, our water pressure is on the high side 60 to 80 PSI. So I took the advice of an old plumber friend who suggested that I take a 4" PVC thick wall about 18" in length, cap both ends and run the main in and out tubing to one end so that it would create an air bumper or dampener and eliminates the stress on the plumbing and joints due to water hammering caused when a faucet is shut off fast or when pressure varies.
    I know that there are some that have not had problems with PBC plumbing, yet. It was 13 years after my house was built that I had my first leak and it was in the line not at a fitting. It was just luck that it happened on a weekend and I was at home. It was the 3/4" main line and the water cut through the drywall before I could shut it off. The same thing happened to my neighbor but they were out of town on vacation. I caught it when I was coming home from work and saw water flowing down the driveway from under the garage door. I shut it off at the water main but it caused considerable damage to the house and its contents. Be warned, if you have PBC it is only a matter of time before it springs a leak! Change it out as soon as you can.
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