Jones introduces new pipe material reform

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Tuesday introduced legislation designed to help reduce the cost of replacing Michigan’s aging water infrastructure.

“Many of our state’s pipes are nearing or have passed their effective life, making it critical that we address Michigan’s aging water infrastructure,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Much of the problem lies with the tremendous costs of replacing miles of water and sewer pipes. Thankfully, new technology now offers us plastic pipes that could effectively replace much of our failing infrastructure at a lower cost to taxpayers.

“My bill would ensure that Michigan communities consider all qualified materials for public works projects — potentially enabling them to save money that could be used for other priorities or passed on to area residents.”

Senate Bill 157 would require that when state funds are used for water infrastructure projects, all materials that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards should be considered. Under the bill, if a pipe or piping material meets or exceeds the recognized standards for similar projects as determined by the ASTM or AWWA, then a public entity shall not exclude that piping material when soliciting bids for a public works project.

“This reform would allow new technologies that meet current standards for safety, strength, temperature and performance to be given a fair chance in the bidding process,” Jones said. “Replacing Michigan’s aging water infrastructure will be costly; by removing a virtual monopoly of outdated legacy materials and allowing all materials to be considered on projects, we could significantly lower costs to taxpayers.”

SB 157 has been sent to the Senate Michigan Competitiveness Committee for consideration.