Bury It and Forget It

WSSC is first in the country to go underground with zinc pipes wrapped in the latest technology

| News Release



LAUREL, MD – October 27, 2016:  Hindsight is 20/20, especially when it comes to infrastructure investment. Water mains, roads, bridges - many need replacing.

While the investment can’t be made overnight, WSSC is making an innovative change to water main replacement, greatly benefitting generations to come.

Zinc-coated ductile iron pipe and V-Bio® Enhanced Polyethylene Encasement are now standard materials.

Why should you care? Because traditional ductile iron pipe lasts about 50-75 years. When it breaks or wears out, WSSC digs up your street to replace a section – sometimes even a mile or two - of old water main. That costs money and it’s an inconvenience.

By switching to zinc-coated, V-Bio® encased ductile iron pipe, WSSC expects to put that pipe in the ground and not come back to replace it for 100 years or more!

The protective zinc coating on the ductile iron pipe provides active corrosion control. The V-Bio® encasement is an additional level of active protection that works in concert with the zinc coating. It targets anaerobic bacteria activity and inhibits the formation of corrosion cells under the wrap.

“Our engineers are always researching, studying and collaborating to come up with sustainable, smart and financially responsible solutions for our customers,” said Carla A. Reid, WSSC General Manager/CEO. “The switch to zinc-coated ductile iron pipe means the replacement cost for future generations will be greatly reduced.”

“Zinc-coatings have been successfully used in Europe for decades and now WSSC is the first water utility in the country to make zinc-coated pipe with V-Bio® film standard materials,” said Allen H. Cox, P.E. Ductile Iron Pipe Research Association Regional Director. “This combination highlights the Commission’s commitment to employing innovative solutions to benefit its customers.”

KC Water in Kansas City, Missouri is believed to be the first water utility in the United States to use zinc-coated ductile iron as a standard material for water main replacement. WSSC is believed to be the first to use the combination of zinc-coated ductile iron pipe and V-Bio® Enhanced Polyethylene Encasement.

WSSC’s Infrastructure Snapshot
Total Miles of
Water Mains
  Water Main Replacement   Age of Water Mains
(in years)
  Water Main Replacement Cost
  • 5,794 miles of water mains
  • Distribution System - 4,947 miles (less than 16-inch diameter pipe)
  • Transmission System – 847 miles (16-inch and greater diameter pipe)
  • 55 miles per year (under 16 inches)
  • 6 miles per year (16 inches and greater)
  • Over 50:   2,229 miles (38 percent)
  • 25 – 50:    2,153 miles (37 percent)
  • 10 – 25:       941 miles (16 percent)
  • Under 10:    462 miles (8 percent)
  • Unknown:        9 miles
  • $1.6 million/mile (small diameter – under 16 inches)


WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.

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