Drillers have installed wells using PVC materials for decades. Companies make PVC casing and fittings, and even PVC screen — the components of the whole well system. However, advancements over time have meant that PVC in the field today outperforms the materials contractors had access to when HDPE gained widespread use in the 1960s.

Broadly, the “recipes” companies use to make polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, have gone through subtle changes. Contractors may not know from just looking at the finished product, but today’s PVCs tend to have more corrosion resistance and durability than earlier generations. That makes it a cost-effective option for well installations, even in harsh environments.

Modern PVC pipe can also provide more flexibility. “Flexible” PVC is a type of PVC designed to install in wells located in difficult-to-access areas. Flexible PVC is also more resistant to breakage, which can help to prevent leaks in such wells.

Finally, there have been advancements in the methods used to join PVC pipe. Traditional methods of joining PVC pipe, such as solvent cementing, can prove time-consuming for contractors and difficult correctly execute. Newer methods of joining PVC pipe, such as mechanical joining, are faster and easier to do. Mechanical joining also provides a stronger and more reliable joint than traditional methods.

The advantages of using PVC materials in water well construction include:

  • Strength and durability: PVC pipe can withstand the harsh conditions found in many wells. It resists corrosion over time.
  • Environmental friendliness: PVC pipe does not contain any harmful chemicals that can leach into groundwater. PVC materials can also be recycled at the end of their life.
  • Ease of installation: PVC pipe is relatively easy to install, which can save time and money on the well construction project.
  • Cost-effectiveness: PVC materials are a cost-effective choice for water well contractors versus other materials.
  • Long life: PVC materials offer a long life, and they can help to ensure a long and trouble-free life for your well.

Of course, every material can have trade-offs. PVC is no different and contractors should consider these factors in sourcing decisions. PVC is:

  • Strong, but not as strong as steel: PVC may not be a good option for applications with very high water pressure or the potential for a lot of ground movement.
  • Not as chemical resistant: PVC is susceptible to damage from chlorine and ammonia. The former can make PVC brittle and the latter can cause it to swell or deform.
  • Not as easy to repair: A leak in a PVC well may prove more difficult or expensive to repair versus other materials.

PVC pipe, casing and fittings have proven popular for contractors (and their customers) for many years. Their popularity only grows as companies develop advances in their products. Drillers have materials options when it comes to well installation. PVC has improved over time and contractors should give it another look if they haven’t in a while. It could be just the thing you need to offer your customers a trouble-free water well that lasts a lifetime.