US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

Initiative to Remove Lead Service Pipes a Boon to Construction Industry

Some of the more searing images to hit the collective US conscience over the past few years have been the scenes of people in Flint, Michigan lining up to receive bottled water due to concerns about the safety of their city’s water supply. This process – caused by the realization that their network of lead pipes were decaying and thus contaminating local water supplies – called attention to a nationwide problem: thousands of localities across the US still have lead service pipes that carry potable water into homes and businesses. Efforts to remove these pipes have been stymied by the large numbers of pipe installed, the difficulty of the work (often requiring much excavation), and the cost of replacement pipe.

Recently, though, the US government announced a new initiative to replace all of nation’s lead pipes. This $15 billion initiative will enable the removal of pipe networks to the nearly 10 million residences in the US with lead pipes and their replacement with newer and safer materials. Work on these projects, which is scheduled to begin in 2022, will boost demand for a wide range of building materials, key among them:

  • pipe – depending on local building codes, these pipes can be made from plastics, precast concrete, galvanized steel, and clay
  • fittings, such as flanges, wyes, connectors, and other pipe system components
  • plumbing fittings, such as faucets and tips, that have also come into contact with lead-contaminated water
  • paving materials – in many cases, pipes lie underneath streets, driveways, and porches, requiring the replacement of concrete and asphalt

In addition to these materials, thousands of plumbers, pipefitters, and other trained construction personnel will be needed to complete these tasks. Furthermore, such equipment as excavators, bulldozers, jack hammers, augers, and other specialized products will be required for the work – a not unimportant consideration for suppliers of construction equipment. 

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, particularly our series of studies in the Construction and Building Products catalog. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.