Storm & Sanitary Sewer Pipe

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Through 2026, demand for storm and sanitary sewer pipe in the US is forecast to rise 3.1% per year to $8.2 billion, equivalent to 707 million linear feet. While growth in value terms is projected to decelerate slightly as average prices of plastic and metal pipe moderate from highly inflated levels in 2021, volume gains will accelerate, driven by:

  • increasing water and sewer construction, boosted by recent federal infrastructure legislation such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
  • increased spending on the construction and repair of highways, which tends to coincide with sewer and pipe installation or replacement
  • improvement and repair activity on buildings, which will support gains for drainage pipe, especially in the commercial segment where drainage pipe is needed to prevent water accumulation in parking lots
  • a number of trends in building construction – such as the increase in the number of bathrooms per building – that will place pressure on the existing sewer infrastructure, promoting replacement

Major Spike in PVC & Steel Prices in 2021 Leads to Record Year in Value Terms

In 2021, the average prices of PVC and steel sewer pipe surged 40% and 47%, respectively. The significant increase in prices was due to a number of factors including:

  • major increases in raw material prices, as inflation reached the highest levels in the US in decades
  • significant supply chain issues and shortages

These price increases led to a massive spike in value demand in 2021 that was boosted by elevated residential building construction, which further increased pipe demand above the available supply. However, sewer pipe demand in linear feet terms decreased in that year due to a pandemic-driven decline in state and local government spending on infrastructure construction.

Plastic Pipe to Gain Share in Large-Diameter Sewer Applications

Plastic pipe use dominates in storm and sanitary sewer applications because of its light weight, ease of handling, and corrosion resistance. In many cases, civil engineers and sewer professionals will select plastic pipe – instead of traditional concrete or steel materials – for repair and replacement projects because plastic products:

  • are less costly in terms of both material price and installation
  • are more suitable for trenchless installation and rehabilitation processes

While plastic has traditionally been uncompetitive in large diameters, improvements to resin formulations and processing will open new sales opportunities in these sizes.

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