Resents Attaek on Cast Iron Pipe
Replying to a recent letter appearing in the New York Herald-Tribune, in which the writer attacked cast iron as a material for water pipe. Thomas F. Wolfe, research engineer of the Cast Iron Pipe Publicity Bureau, writes to that paper, under date of November 13, as follows:
“To the New York Herald-Tribune:
“From some of the statements contained in the letter of Mr. George Sommers, on ‘Water Mains,’ it seems to me that he has been sadly misinformed on pipe matters. He says: ‘In most of the large communities where water mains are being laid today wrought steel only is being considered.’ As a matter of fact, cast iron pipe is the adopted standard all over the world for underground construction and is used in all large communities today for the distribution of both water and gas.
“His tirade against cast iron pipe started because of some breaks that have taken place recently in the City of New York. There is no denying that the breaks did occur, but the error he makes is in jumping at the conclusion that the fault lay in the material of which the pipe line was constructed. Those familiar with the details of these breaks, men well able by education and experience to pass an opinion on them, do not hold the material to be at fault. An underground pipe line is an engineering structure that is entitled to as much care in its construction and maintenance as any other engineering structure. If a steel bridge failed because its foundations were undermined, one would not be inclined to condemn steel as material for bridge construction.
“The reason for the recent breaks in New York was the fact that the earth around the pipe was disturbed during the construction of some other underground utility and proper care was not taken to prevent damage to the pipe. It is not at all difficult to properly support a cast iron pipe line while other underground construction is going on, nor is it difficult to so back-fill the trench that the pipe will not be subjected to stresses that might cause failure. The facts in the case of the recent breaks in New York are that proper care was not always exercised when other underground construction work was being carried on, with the result that these breaks occurred. When you consider that the city of New York has over 3,500 miles of cast iron pipe in its underground system (not including gas mains), and that the breaks that have occurred have almost always been due to outside causes, any fair-minded person will realize that the fault must lie outside of the material.
“THOMAS F. WOLFE,
“Cast Iron Pipe Publicity Bureau.
“Chicago, Ill., Nov. 7, 1925.”