What kind of distribution pipes are there?

Old Water Main with Heavy TuberculationWater distribution mains range from sizes of 16 inches to 4 inches. They are typically constructed of iron; either lined or unlined.

  • Unlined pipe was the usual type of water main installed pre 1950s. Although strong, iron will rust and form tuberculation (seen in picture). Tuberculation will get so thick that it will restrict water flow and weaken the pipe. There are still sections of Amesbury with cast iron pipe serving the distribution system over a hundred years old. These are the common types of water breaks,
  • Lined pipes are a stronger version of cast iron called ductile. Ductile lined pipes are lined inside with a thin layer of cement to prevent corrosion. The outside is coated with an asphalt product to protect it. Ductile iron pipe is the standard pipe installed today.

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1. What are water main breaks?
2. What kind of distribution pipes are there?
3. Why do water breaks occur?
4. When do water breaks occur?