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QUESTION: Is there such a thing as lead free pvc stormwater pipe? 12 May 2004, New South Wales Australia

I m looking for a lead free stormwater pipe for water from roof to water tank in a rural area.

is there such a thing as lead free pvc stormwater pipe?

John Peart

NSWER: 12 May 2004

Dear John,

Love your work by the way!

It is my understanding that PVC stormwater pipes are generally only intended to be used to take away waste water or storm water ie are laid underground or at the end of downpipes.
The pipes used for potable water are called pressure pipes and, for example, Alan Whittle, Technical Advisor of Iplex Pipelines in Gladesville has written to me on June 28, 2002, to say that: "Iplex Pipelines manufactures and distributes PVC pressure pipes and fittings to AS/NZS 4765 [Modified PVC (PVC-M) pipes for pressure applications] and AS/NZS 1477 [PVC Pipes and fittings for pressure applications]. The products are available in a wide range of diameters from 15mm to over 400mm. In the diameters likely to be used for rain water collection [the smaller diameters?] there is available a large range of fittings of various configurations such as bends, tees and adaptors.

"All the products Iplex makes to these two Standards also meet the requirements of AS/NZS 4020 [Products for use in contact with drinking water].

"In order to demonstrate compliance with AS/NZS 4020, products are subjected to a wide range of tests including extraction of metals such as lead. To pass the test, the amount of lead extracted from the product into the water must be less than that specified in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines [1996, published by NHMRC].

"Using Iplex Pipelines PVC products that comply with AS/NZS 4020 eliminates the risk that the extraction of lead from the pipe system could contribute to a high lead content in rain water collected for drinking purposes." One could not therefore state from the above that there is such a thing as lead free PVC rain water pipe, merely that there is water-guideline-compliant PVC pipe in relation to lead. Timon Visser, Product Development Manager, EnviroFLO Systems Ltd in Newcastle (ph 1800642339, 49575900, mob 0417686740) told me that polyethylene pipes are the only food-safe plastic pipes available. Timon said polyethylene pipes are 2-3 times more expensive than PVC pressure pipes but they are non-porous so don't take up or leach anything into the water.

I trust this helps.
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

Update 2011: Art Plastics has a diverse range of Storm Water products, manufactured from lead free PVC.

Pipeworx Plus has a range of both SWJ (Solvent Weld Joint) and RRJ (Rubber Ring Joint) pipes for use in the irrigation industry which are all lead free.

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