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OK, with the Flint MI water issue,, Hmmm,,,

they say the water pipes are lead,, if that is true, all we have to do is be standing there when these cities start digging up the hundreds of miles of LARGE lead water pipes,, and we can get some lead,,, FREE!

I am sure they will happily give you all you want to just get rid of it.

Now all we need is a pass around mold like the tire sipping tool,, we can each cast our own wheel weights.

I say this partly in jest,, has anyone EVER seen a lead water pipe?? :dunno:

OR, are they just talking about lead used in the joints connecting the pipes?

I have been around plumbing for almost 60 years,, I have never seen a lead pipe in use.

First of all lead would fail quickly (months) from a metallurgical term called "creep",,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creep_(deformation)

The water pressure typically seen in most cities would be high enough to cause lead pipe failure by creep.

So, is this just a news reporting failure,, ??

Is the issue just lead used in the joints of other materials? (cast iron, copper,, etc??)

Somebody please show me a real lead pipe,,,,
 

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OK, with the Flint MI water issue,, Hmmm,,,

they say the water pipes are lead,, if that is true, all we have to do is be standing there when these cities start digging up the hundreds of miles of LARGE lead water pipes,, and we can get some lead,,, FREE!

I am sure they will happily give you all you want to just get rid of it.

Now all we need is a pass around mold like the tire sipping tool,, we can each cast our own wheel weights.

I say this partly in jest,, has anyone EVER seen a lead water pipe?? :dunno:

OR, are they just talking about lead used in the joints connecting the pipes?

I have been around plumbing for almost 60 years,, I have never seen a lead pipe in use.

First of all lead would fail quickly (months) from a metallurgical term called "creep",,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creep_(deformation)

The water pressure typically seen in most cities would be high enough to cause lead pipe failure by creep.

So, is this just a news reporting failure,, ??

Is the issue just lead used in the joints of other materials? (cast iron, copper,, etc??)

Somebody please show me a real lead pipe,,,,
I own an older rental property that was built in the '20's. Purchased it back in 1983 and the first thing I did was to update the plumbing and electrical. The feed from the street was lead pipe and it was replaced at that time. Not sure what the water main in the street is / was. To the best of my knowledge the main has not been replaced. Lead pipe has a very thick wall and is obviously very heavy. It's also very recyclable so that could be a small cost offset for the project.
 

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Do a Google image search on "Lead Water Main" and you'll get plenty of pics.

I've never had to deal with it as a pressurized line but I know my dad's house (Which was built in the early 1960s) used 5" lead waste pipe for the toilet drains.
 

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I own an older rental property that was built in the '20's. Purchased it back in 1983 and the first thing I did was to update the plumbing and electrical. The feed from the street was lead pipe and it was replaced at that time. Not sure what the water main in the street is / was. To the best of my knowledge the main has not been replaced. Lead pipe has a very thick wall and is obviously very heavy. It's also very recyclable so that could be a small cost offset for the project.
It is also bendable so they could dig a trench and leave large rocks in place. They just bent the pipe around obstacles. :good2:
 

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Yup, most older cities have their fair share of lead pipes-terracotta was widely used also, but most of it has been lined by various methods to make it safer and more reliable. Here is one process: Cured-in-place-piping (CIPP) - trenchless lining | Aqua-Pipe

On a semi-related note, Ma-Bell and the electric companies used lead sheathed cables in the air and the ground from the early 1900's clear through the 1950's when "alpeth" or plastic sheathed cables became the norm. There are untold thousands of miles of this lead cable still in use today producing revenue.
 

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When I was in the HVAC wholesale business it was common to see lead waste lines in homes in the older cities. We stocked an array of adapters plus sold quite a bit of oakum.

One master plumber in Reading Pa showed me part of the pressure water line diagram for the city - of which were still some wooden pipes.

As far as the OP talking about the lead - I doubt very much they would let anyone get their hands on it. Not only the recyclable value but also will probably be considered "toxic" or "hazardous" waste.
 

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The lead pipes in question are the "service" from the main to the meter at your house, generally 1/2" to 1" for houses and perhaps 2-4" for larger commercial services. They were hand bendable (almost pure lead) thick walled and in use from the late 1800's to the 50's and 60' in some places. I have never heard of one bursting or failing simply due to it being under pressure. I have seen corps, unions and other fittings fail, failures from rocks and shallow services freeze but the pipe used was designed for a pressurized services.

There are no lead supply mains-they were hollow wood with steel bands and covered in creosote to start, then cast iron (with lead and rope joint seals), a mix of other materials have been tried including what were called AC or paper main (fiberglass), steel, etc-most of which have all been abandoned for newer style ductile iron or HDPE and some PVC mains.

The Flint issue is one of chemistry not necessarily materials. The DPW treated the river water yes, but they left it with a ph that eroded the protective layer of oxidation that naturally forms inside lead services quickly after their installed and put into use. There was a standard compound they could have used to avert this erosion, but they didn't use it for whatever reason. Since they didn't and the ph was off the water services started giving lead contamination to the end users. As previously stated most municipal systems were constructed with lead services and have no detectible lead entering drinking water supplies at the tap.

Waste/sewer mains and storm drains were constructed with a type of terra cotta called Vitrified clay, but it's open jointed nature would preclude it's use in pressurized supply.

coaltrain is correct most contractors bidding the work would offset their costs with the perceived value of the scrap materials removed in order to lower their overall bid and get the work, I doubt any of it would be available for the taking.
 

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I will share with my tractor enthusiasts my jaded and prejudiced opinion on this matter.
For one thing one of the latest "ghetto lottery" maneuvers has been the presentation of children for blood tests that show the presence of lead in their system. Freddy Grey, the one who died from injuries in a Baltimore police van was one example of "children" who received payment or disability benefits from this poisoning. Some rumor that children have deliberately ingested paint chips prior to presenting themselves for the blood tests. As of late these activities have brought scrutiny to drinking fountains across the country.
I tried to determine from available news articles whether in fact gross negligence had occurred or just the makings of a fat class action lawsuit for the benefit of the victims. To no avail...
There was one article that mentioned that the lead levels were found in private homes where flushing the pipes or running the water for several minutes was not done. Apparently flushing provided acceptable levels.
Most articles mention that somehow the water was improperly treated that was taken from the river, and the old source was directly from a city water supply.
I am ignorant of the normal treatment of public water other than that there is surely some standard for safe consumption. There may be extra steps that are routinely taken with regard to a city's possible legacy circumstances.
It could well be a case of gross negligence or an expensive vehicle for political kingslaying. I can't fairly say yet.
 
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