What is the history of clay pipes?
The use of clay pipe dates back as far as 4000 BCE in Babylonia. It was considered a popular material for city plumbing and drainage systems throughout the early 1900s. You will still find fully functioning clay pipe systems dating back to this era in use today – this just shows the longevity of clay!
Today, clay pipes are still widely used in public sewer systems and drainage installations. Modern clay sewer pipes are air dried for 24 hours and fired in a kiln for over two days to create a ceramic type end product. The benefit of this is that the material is much stronger and joins together more tightly than older clay pipes. In contrast to older installations, clay pipe is now also often encased in concrete to protect against root intrusion and ground shifting.
Why use clay pipes?
Clay pipes still hold up against other modern drainage materials as an excellent choice for sewer and drainage installations. The main benefits to using clay are its inherent strength, longevity and impermeability. It also considered more environmentally friendly.
The inherent strength of clay pipes means that it is less likely to be prone to accidental damage when it is being laid or disturbed during any works subsequent to its installation.
The impervious nature of clay pipes also means that the risk of effluent leaking out is greatly reduced. It’s resistance to chemical attack also makes it a safe conduit for almost all chemicals.
Clay pipes are also considered environmentally friendly due to the fact that they are made from recycled clay, water and other organic materials. From an installation perspective they are also considered much greener. The ability to use shorter pipe lengths can result in trenches being open for briefer periods of time. Trenchless installation techniques also minimise disruption and enable the normal use of land and facilities both above the pipeline and near the project.