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Jail and Prison
Housing Units
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Continuing Education
The objective of this chapter is to help the designer under-
tion will affect when and for how long the peak hot water
The first part of this chapter discusses generally some of
the design criteria and areas of special concern involved in
The design criteria used to design hot water systems
to house people awaiting trial or serving short sentences.

The generally used standard temperature is 105F (41C).

to deliver hot water of this temperature to the showers and
lavatories. Occasionally an owner will require that a shower
temperature be provided. New security type valves provide
nished at the fixture because of the lower-than-usual water
temperature and the self-closing features of inmate control
Hot Water Demand
ens or serving areas, which may have additional sinks and
mendedthattherebeoneshower for every eightinmates
and a lavatory in each cell.
The number and location of
shower operation is the factor that determines the required
Primary considerations
1. Thestandardrecommendationofeightinmatesper
2. Showersarethemainfactoraffectingwaterheatersize.
3. Theefficiencyofstoragesystemsvariesfrommanu-
1. Willtheinmatesberequiredtoshowerataspecifictime?
2. Willallthecellpodsreleasetheirinmatesforshowering
3. Willtheshowerdurationperinmatebelimited?
4. Doesthefacilityanticipatedoublebunkinginmates,either
Calculations for Jail Housing Units
The ratio of 140 to 50F (60 to 10C) water flowing at the
shower can be calculated using the mixed-water formula,
Jail and Prison Housing Units
American Corrections Association, Adult Corrections Institutions, 3d ed.
Note: All decimal equivalencies in the metric calculations are rounded. Therefore, the metric conversions
shown in the text may vary slightly from the answers shown in the metric equations.
Sept/Oct 2005 PlumbingSystems&Design 57
14050 90
6010 50



Auxiliary Equipment Demand

Assuming that operation of the auxiliary equipment does
not coincide with the peak hour demand, sizing the heater
and storage tank to handle the additional load will not be
necessary. The heater size required for inmate showering is
Heater sizing
60 and 100% of the total demand. In prison housing units
some redundancy in the water heating system is necessary.
Storage tank sizing
handle the peak shower demand, the storage tank may be
sized to handle approximately 50% of the shower demand
during the period of peak use. The storage tank should be
large enough to prevent the heater from cycling on and off
more than four times per hour during off-peak hours. This




The selected size of a 481.6-gal (1837.5-L) storage tank is
This is an example of a housing facility for 384 inmates. It
Design Criteria and Assumptions
1. Inmatelavatoriesandshowerswillbesuppliedwith105F
2. Therewillbeseparatesystemsforthekitchenandlaun-
3. Thewatertemperatureforthelaundryareawillbe180F
4. Waterat140F(60C)willbesuppliedtothedishwasher.
5. Thestoragetankcapacityvariesconsiderablyfrom
Reprinted from Domestic Water Heating Design Manual, 2nd ed. 2003. Chicago: American Society of Plumbing Engineers. Chapter 9, Jail
and Prison Housing Units (pp. 179-188). 2003, American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
Continuing Education: Jail and Prison Housing Units
5 PlumbingSystems&Design Sept/Oct 2005
6. Lookforadditionalsupportfacilities,suchasthebarber
7. Althoughoperatinghoursforthelaundryareaaregener-
8. Sourcesofheat:Theselectionofsteam,naturalgas,or
9. Themethodtouseforsizingthewaterheaterandstorage
1. Willtheinmatesberequiredtoshowerataspecifictime?
2. Willtheshowerdurationperinmatebelimitedordo
3. Willallofthecellpodsreleasetheirinmatesfor
4. Doesthefacilityanticipatedoublebunkingtheinmates
5. Doesthefacilityhaveawork-releaseprogram?
6. Whatisthetimeallocatedforthework-releaseinmates
Calculations for Inmate Housing Units
odology for determining the 1.53 gpm (0.1 L/sec) flow per


Storage Tank Sizing
If the water heater is sized to meet the recovery required
sized to handle approximately 50% of the shower demand
during the period of peak use. The storage tank should be
large enough to prevent the heater from cycling on and off
more than four times per hour during off-peak hours. This

Kitchen Considerations
1. Theitemthathasthegreatesteffectonhotwaterdemand
2. Thetemperatureofthehotwatergoingtokitchenlavato-
3. Checktoseeifthedishwasherhasaboosterheater
4. Afterdishwashers,compartmentsinksarethenextlargest
5. Otherkitchenitemsthatusehotwateraretheprerinsefor
6. Alwayscheckthekitchenconsultantsplansforhotwater
7. RefertotheHospitalschapterforadditionalinformation
Laundry Considerations
1. Reviewthelaundryconsultantsplansanddeterminethe
Sept/Oct 2005 PlumbingSystems&Design 5
of machines are normally decided by the owner or the
2. Inmates each generate about 30 lb (13.61 kg) of laundry a
week. This consists of 1 pillowcase, 2 sheets, 1 towel, and
3. Additionally, prison laundries usually handle the uniforms
of the correctional officers.
4. Sometimes prison laundries do laundry for outside hospi-
tals as a prison industry.
5. Consider the feasibility of a heat recovery system that uses
the wash-water discharge. The laundry consultant can
probably advise you about this.
6. Laundry equipment suppliers are the only reliable source
of information on the hot water demands and required
temperaures of their washers. They can tell you how
many gallons (liters) of water the machines require and
the maximum number of cycles per hour they will oper-
7. Washers demand their hot water fast. It is not unusual for
a 2-in. (DN50) hot water line to be connected to the larger
washers. Therefore, larger than normal storage capacity is
needed to handle the surges in hot water demand. One
rule of thumb is to provide 75% of the maximum hourly
demand in storage; dont provide less than 50% of that
8. In 1992 a new federal law (Bloodborne Pathogen) was
passed to protect workers against the human immunodefi-
ciency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). All deten-
tion facilities are now under this new federal regulation.
A major/critical new standard was created by the law:
When an officers uniform becomes contaminated with
blood products, the officer cannot leave his workplace
with the uniform on. The facility must clean that uniform
and reissue it to the officer. The law states further that
inmate labor cannot be used when handling blood con-
taminated items.
A washer and dryer for the aforementioned are required
to achieve compliance with the law. They should be
located in a space that is under the direct supervision of
an officer so the security of the officers uniforms will not
be jeopardized. n
Continuing Education: Jail and Prison Housing Units
60 PlumbingSystems&Design Sept/Oct 2005
1. The sizing of a domestic water storage tank shall be large
enough to prevent the water heaters from cycling no more
than ____________ times per hour during off-peak hours.
a. two
b. four
c. six
d. eight
2. What are some of the most important factors to consider
when sizing a domestic hot water storage tank?
a. operating costs
b. initial costs
c. unit performance
d. all of the above
. The American Corrections Association ____________.
a. has established the hot water requirements for jails and
b. requires the temperature of the hot water at inmate
showers be between 100
F and 110
c. has established the generally used standard of 105
F for
inmate showers
d. requires the use of push button type showers
4. A typical hot water delivered temperature for inmate
lavatories is ____________
a. 95
b. 100
c. 105
d. 110
. If the water heater is sized to meet the recovery required
to handle the peak shower demand of a jail housing unit,
a. the storage tank may be sized to handle approximately
50% of the shower demand
b. the storage tank should be large enough to prevent the
heater from cycling on and off more than four times per
hour during off-peak hours
c. the storage tank should be 481.6 gallons
d. both a and b
6. The main factor to consider in sizing a water heating
system for a jail is ____________.
a. showers
b. the many lavatories in housing units
c. the temperature of the hot water to be provided and the
duration of the peak flow
d. the efficiency of the storage system
. Each inmate generates approximately ____________
pounds of laundry per week.
a. 10
b. 20
c. 30
d. 40
8. In what year was the Bloodborne Pathogen law passed
that was intended to protect workers against human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis B virus
a. 1986
b. 1992
c. 1998
d. 2004
. Auxiliary equipment demand ____________.
a. must be included in the water heating sizing
b. must be assumed to not be in operation during the
shower period
c. should be determined whether or not it will be operating
during the peak hour
d. is equal to 69 gallons per hour
10. The item of kitchen equipment that has the greatest effect
on the hot water demand is the ____________.
a. vegetable prep sink
b. triple pot sink
c. dishwasher
d. exhaust hood washdown system
11. A jail housing pod of 20 cells, each with one inmate, would
require how many showers?
a. one per cell
b. three
c. four
d. the number is determined by the architect
12. The objective of this chapter is ____________.
a. to help government authorities determine how the
building will operate
b. to help the designer understand and deal with the
problems of designing water heating systems for jail and
prison housing units
c. to help the designer understand and deal with the
problems of designing water heating equipment for jail
and prison housing units
d. all of the above
Do you find it difficult to obtain continuing education units
(CEUs)? Is it hard for you to attend technical seminars? Through
Plumbing Systems & Design (PSD), ASPE can help you accumulate
the CEUs required for maintaining your Certified in Plumbing Design
(CPD) status.
ASPE features a technical article in every issue of PSD, excerpted
from its own publications. Each article is followed by a multiple-
choice test and a simple reporting form.
Reading the article and completing the form will allow you
to apply to ASPE for CEU credit. For most people, this process
will require approximately 1 hour. A nominal processing fee is
charged$25 for ASPE members and $35 for nonmembers (until
further notice, the member fee is waived). If you earn a grade of
90% or higher on the test, you will be notified that you have logged
0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD renewal requirement
or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs. (Please note that it is
your responsibility to determine the acceptance policy of a particular
agency.) CEU information will be kept on file at the ASPE office for 3
No certificates will be issued in addition to the notification letter.
You can apply for CEU credit on any technical article that has
appeared in PSD within the past 12 months. However, CEU credit only
can be obtained on a total of eight PSD articles in a 12-month period.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only
the material presented in the continuing education article. Using
other information may result in a wrong answer.
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson, Chicago Chapter President
CE QuestionsJail and Prison Housing Units (PSD 129)
Sept/Oct 2005 PlumbingSystems&Design 1

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Continuing Education
Reprinted from American Society of Plumbing Engineers Data Book Volume 4: Plumbing Components and Equipment, Chapter 3: Valves.
2003, American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
vice piping. They come in many shapes, sizes, design types, and
best for all services. This chapter is limited to manually operated
1. Startingandstoppingflow
2. Regulating(throttling)flow
3. Preventingthereversalofflow
4. Regulatingorrelievingtheflowpressure.
Service Considerations
1. Pressure
2. Temperature
3. Typeoffluid
A. Liquid
B. Gas,i.e.,steamorair
C. Dirtyorabrasive(erosive)
D. Corrosive
4. Flow
A. On-off
B. Throttling
C. Needtopreventflowreversal
D. Concernforpressuredrop
E. Velocity
5. Operatingconditions
A. Frequencyofoperation
B. Accessibility
C. Overallspace/sizeavailable
D. Manualorautomatedcontrol
E. Needforbubble-tightshut-off
F. Concernsaboutbodyjointleaks
G. Firesafedesign
H. Speedofclosure.
1. ManufacturersStandardizationSociety(MSS)
2. Fireprotection:ULandFactoryMutual(FM)
3. Stateandlocalcodes
4. AmericanPetroleumIndustries(API).
Types of Valve
Gate Valve
With starting and stopping flow its prime function, the gate valve
From an examination of Figure 1, it becomes readily apparent
valve is not suited for regulating or throttling flow. Flow through
ates vibration and chattering
and subjects the disc and seat
There is a wide variety of
ditions under which the valve
pressures and temperatures
and for ordinary fluids, seating
materials are not a particularly
difficult problem. Bronze and
or bronze-faced seating sur-
faces; iron valves may be all
Gate discs can be classified
as solid-wedge discs, double
discs or split-wedge discs. In
into its seat (as with any other gate valve), but on the final turns
of the wheel, the spreader
forces the discs outward
against the seats, effecting
Bypass valves should be
and 100 psi (689 kPa) on
valves 8 in. (203.2 mm) or
larger. Bypass valves should
Globe Valve
The globe valve (which is
named for the shape of its
to flow than the gate valve,
the path of flow through it
(Figure 2). Its main advan-
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PlumbingSystems&Design Nov/Dec 2005
Because all contact between seat and
disc ends when flow begins, the effects of
wire drawing (seat erosion) are minimized.
The valve can operate just barely open or
fully open with little change in wear. Also,
and fully closed, with fewer turns of the
wheel required, an operator can gauge the
rate of flow by the number of turns of the
of disc and seat arrangements. These are
classified as conventional disc, plug type,
The conventional disc is relatively flat,
with beveled edges. On closure it
Plug type discs differ only
in that they are far more tapered,
thereby increasing the contact sur-
face between disc and seat. This
characteristic has the effect of
increasing their resistance to the
cutting effects of dirt, scale, and
The composition disc differs
from the others in that it does not
fit into the seat opening but over
services, including use with hard-to-hold
substances such as compressed air, and
Angle Valve
valve (Figure 3) can cut down on piping
installation time, labor, and materials by
serving as both valve and 90 elbow. It is
Ball Valve
The ball valve derives its name from the
drilled ball that swivels on its vertical axis
and is operated by a handle, as shown in
Figure 4. Its advantages are its straight-
through flow, minimum turbulence, low
ball valve popular in industrial, chemical,
Butterfy Valve
valves advantages is that it can be placed
Screwed-lug type valves should be pro-
vided so that equipment may be removed
Check Valve
Swing checks and lift checks are the most
common forms of check valve. Both are
designed to prevent reversal of flow in a
pipe. The swing check, Figure 6, permits
straight-through flow when open and is,
Note: Awordofcautionregard-
ing the swing check: There have
a point that, when closure finally
the resulting shock to the valve
sibility is a lever and weight or a
spring to ensure immediate closure upon
The lift check, Figure 7, is primarily for
Valve Materials
A single valve may be constructed of sev-
rial specifications depend on the operating
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Nov/Dec 2005 PlumbingSystems&Design 1
Brass and Bronze
Brass usually consists of 85% copper, 5%
lead, 5% tin, and 5% zinc. Bronze has a
higher copper content, ranging from 86 to
Of particular importance is the zinc
Under certain circumstances, a phe-
nomenon known as dezincifcation will
action is a result of electrolysis; in effect,
brittle, and weakened material. The higher
be used for operating temperatures above
450F (232.2C). The maximum for bronze
Standard A26. Although iron-bodied valves
are manufactured in sizes as small as -in.
(6.4-mm) nominal diameter, they are most
when fguring hanger spacing and loads.
A typical 2-in. (50.8-mm) screwed, bronze,
globe valve rated at 125 psi (861.3 kPa)
Malleable Iron
Malleable iron valves are stronger, stiffer,
and tougher than iron-bodied valves and
hold tighter pressures. Toughness is most
Stainless Steel
For highly corrosive fluids, stainless steel
valves provide the maximum corrosion
materials in the fluids handled could have
Valve Ratings
Most valve manufacturers rate their prod-
ucts in terms of saturated steam pressure;
or pressure of nonshock cold water, oil,
or gas (WOG); or both. These ratings usu-
ally appear on the body of the valve. For
instance, a valve with the markings 125
with200 WOG will operate safely at 125
keep them in mind during construction
inspection. A ruptured valve can do much
Valve Components
rising stem with outside screw, rising stem
Rising stem with outside screw This
design is ideal where the valve is infre-
quently used and the possibility of stick-
fire-protection system. In this arrangement,
the screws are not subject to corrosion or
elements in the line fluid that might cause
As with any other rising stem valve, suf-
Rising stem with inside screw This
design is the simplest and most common
Nonrising stem These are ideal where
headroom is limited. They are generally
Sliding stem These are applied where
quick opening and closing are required. A
lever replaces the hand wheel, and stem
In choosing valves, the service characteris-
looked. Bonnets and bonnet joints must
provide a leakproof closure for the body.
screwed union-ring bonnet, and bolted
Screwed-in bonnet This is the simplest
used on bronze gate, globe, and angle
valves and recommended where frequent
dismantling is not needed. When properly
assembled, the screwed-in bonnet makes a
Screwed union-ring bonnet This con-
struction is convenient where valves need
frequent inspection or cleaningalso for
composition disc valves. A separate union
hold the pressure-tight joint with the body.
is split between the shoulders of the ring
and bonnet. Hence, the point of seal con-
added strength and rigidity against internal
union-ring bonnet is impractical on large
Bolted bonnet joint A practical and
for higher-pressure applications, the bolted
bonnet joint has multiple boltings with
smaller diameter bolts that permit equal-
ized sealing pressure without the excessive
End Connections
Valves are available with screwed, welded,
brazed, soldered, flared, flanged, and hub
Screwed End
end connection. It is found in brass, iron,
for all pressures but is usually confined
to smaller pipe sizes. The larger the pipe
Welded End
This type of end is available only in steel
Continuing Education: Valves
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PlumbingSystems&Design Nov/Dec 2005
ommended for lines not requiring frequent
socket-welding ends are usually limited to
Brazed End
When the equipment and brazing material
perature required by the alloy, a tight seal
is formed between the pipe and valve or
fitting. While made in a manner similar to
a solder joint, a brazed joint can withstand
higher temperatures due to the brazing
Soldered Joint
Flared End
This is commonly used on valves and fit-
Flanged End
This is generally used when screwed ends
become impractical because of cost, size,
erally used for larger-diameter lines due to
ease of assembly and dismantling. Flanged
facings are available in various designs
depending on service requirements. One
important rule is to match facings. When
bolting iron valves to forged steel flanges,
Hub End
supply and sewage piping. The joint is
AGA AmericanGasAssociation
AISI AmericanIronandSteelInstitute
ANSI AmericanNationalStandardsInstitute
API AmericanPetroleumInstitute
ASME AmericanSocietyofMechanical
ASTM AmericanStandardforTestingand
AWWA AmericanWaterWorksAssociation
BUNA-N Butadieneandacryloni-
trile (nitrilerubber)
CSA CanadianStandardsAssociation(also
CWP Coldworkingpressure
EPDM Ethylene-propylenedienemonomer
IBBM Ironbody,bronzemounted(trim)
IS Insidescrew
MSS ManufacturersStandardizationSociety
NBR Acrylonitrile-butadienerubber
NFPA NationalFireProtectionAssociation
NRS Nonrisingstem
OS&Y Outsidescrewandyoke
PSI Poundspersquareinch
PTFE Polytetrafluoroethyleneplastic
RS Risingstem
SWP Steamworkingpressure
TFE Tetrafluoroethyleneplastic
WCB Wroughtcarbon,gradeB
WOG Water,oil,gas(coldworkingpres-
WWP Waterworkingpressure
Ball Avalveconsistingofasingledrilled
ball that is operated by a handle attached
to the vertical axis of the ball, which per-
mits fluid flow in a straight-through direc-
Body Thatpartofthevalvethatattaches
Bonnet The part of the valve housing
support and protection to the stem and
Butterfly A type of valve consisting of
a single disc that is operated by a handle
Cap The top part of the housing of a
check valve (equivalent to the bonnet of a
gate or globe valve), which may be either
Check valve An automatic, self-closing
valve that permits flow in only one direc-
Clapper A common term that is used
Disc The disc-shaped device that is
seating surfaces to close or open a globe
Flanged bonnet A type of bonnet so
constructed that it attaches to the body
by means of a flanged, bolted connection.
The whole bonnet assembly, including the
removed by unscrewing the nuts from the
Gatevalve Avalvethatisusedtoopen
double-seated sluice to permit full flow or
completely shut off flow. The passageway
through a gate valve is straight through,
uninterrupted, and is the full size of the
Glandbushing Ametalbushinginstalled
Globevalve Avalvethatisusedforthrot-
to permit full flow or lifted only slightly to
Hand wheel The wheel-shaped turning
Hingepin Thevalvepartthatthediscor
Outside screw and yoke A type of
bonnet so constructed that the operating
threads of the stem are outside the valve
housing, where they may be easily lubri-
Packing A general term describing any
Packinggland Adevicethatholdsand
compresses the packing and provides for
additional compression by manual adjust-
ment of the gland as wear of the packing
Packing nut A nut that is screwed into
ing, which transmits the force exerted by
Nov/Dec 2005 PlumbingSystems&Design 1
Risingstem Athreadedcomponentthat
Screwed bonnet A type of bonnet so
constructed that it attaches to the body by
attached to the body by screwing over the
Solidwedge Awedgeconsistingofone
solid piece into which the valve stem is
attached, so it seals against the valve seat-
Split wedge A wedge consisting of two
so it expands the two pieces against the
Standard port The area through the
Stem Theusuallythreadedshafttowhich
is attached the hand wheel at the top and
Stopplug Anadjustingscrewthatextends
Swing check valve A check valve that
uses a hinged disc or clapper to limit the
direction of flow. The pressure exerted by
the fluid flowing through the valve forces
the disc away from the seating surface.
When the flow ceases, the clapper falls to
its original position, preventing flow in the
Union A coupling fitting consisting of
of pipe sections. Adjoining faces of shoul-
der and thread pieces are lapped together
to form a tight joint. Unions permit easy
Union bonnet A type of bonnet that is
bly, including the hand wheel, stem, and
disc assembly, may be quickly removed by
Unionring Alargenut-likecomponent
shoulder together. It slips over and against
the shoulder piece and screws onto the
Union shoulder piece A part of the
union fastened to the pipe that retains the
Union threaded piece That part of the
union that is fastened to the pipe and has
external threads over which the union ring
Wedge (Seealsodisc.)Thewedge-shaped
pushed down into contact with the seating
100%area(fullport) Theareathrough
MSS Standard Practices
SP-25 Standard Marking System for Valves,
Fittings, Flanges and Unions
SP-42 150 lb. Corrosion Resistant Cast
Flanged Valves
SP-67 Butterfy Valves
SP-70 Cast Iron Gate Valves, Flanged and
Threaded Ends
SP-71 Cast Iron Swing Check Valves, Flanged
and Threaded Ends
SP-72 Ball Valves with Flanged or Butt-Weld-
ing Ends for General Service
SP-78 Cast Iron Plug Valves
SP-80 Bronze Gate, Globe, Angle and Check
SP-81 Stainless Steel, Bonnetless, Flanged,
Wafer, Knife Gate Valves
SP-82 Valve Pressure Testing Methods
SP-85 Cast Iron Valves
SP-110 Ball Valves
Notes: 1. Use of the last approved revi-
sion of all standards shall be used. 2. A
tices have been approved by the American
Standards. To maintain a single source of
Valve Design Choices
1. Multiturntype
A. Gate
B. Globe/angle-globe
C. Endconnection
2. Checktype(backflowprevention)
A. Swing
B. Lift
C. Silentornonslam
D. Endconnection
3. Quarter-turntype
A. Ball
B. Butterfly-resilientseated
C. Plug
D. Endconnection.
Design Detail: Gate Valves
Advantages and Recommendations
1. Goodchoiceforon-offservice
2. Fullflow,lowpressuredrop
3. Bidirectional
4. Bypassvalvesshouldbeprovided
1. Notforthrottling:Usefullyopenorfully
2. Metal-to-metalseatingmeansnotbest
3. Difficulttoautomate.
Disc and Seat Designs
1. Bronzeorbronze-facedseatingsurfaces
2. Nonmetallic,compositiondiscsare
3. Solid-wedgediscdesignisthinneratthe
4. Double-discorsplit-wedgediscdesign
5. Resilientwedgeisarubberencapsu-
Design Detail: Globe/Angle-Globe
Advantages and Recommendations
1. Recommendedforthrottlingapplica-
2. Positivebubble-tightshut-offwhen
3. Goodforfrequentoperation.
4. Easytorepair.
Continuing Education: Valves
1 PlumbingSystems&Design Nov/Dec 2005
1. Flowpathcausesasignificantpressure
2. Globevalvesaremorecostlythanalter-
Disc and Seat Designs
1. Resilient(soft)seatdiscsarepreferred
2. Automatic,steam,stop-check,angle-
3. Wheretheslidingactionofthesemiplug
Design Detail: Check Valves (Backfow
1. Swingtypecheckvalvesoffertheleast
2. Liftcheckscomeinanin-lineorglobe-
3. Somestylesarespringactuatedand
4. Double-disccheckvalveshavetwin
Design Detail: Quarter-Turn Ball
Advantages and Recommendations
1. Bubble-tightshut-offfromresilient(TFE)
2. Quick,90open/close,nottorque
3. Straight-through,unobstructedflow,
4. Easiertoautomatethanmultiturnvalves
5. Morecompactthanmultiturnvalves
6. Offerlongcyclelife.
1. Temperatureandpressurerangelimited
2. Cavityaroundballtrapsmediaanddoes
Body Styles
1. One-piecevalveshavenopotential
2. Two-pieceendentriesareusedmost
3. Three-piecetypevalvesaremorecostly
Port Size
1. Full-portballvalvesprovideapressure
2. Standard-(conventional-)portballsare
3. Reduced-portballvalveshavegreater
End Connections
1. ThreadedballvalveswithANSIfemale
2. Soldered-endvalvespermitthedirect
Handle Extensions
1. Insulatedhandleextensionsorextended
Design Detail: Quarter-Turn Butterfy
Advantages and Recommendations
1. Bubble-tightshut-offfromresilientseats
2. Quick,90open/close;easiertoauto-
3. Verycost-effectivecomparedtoalterna-
4. Broadselectionoftrimmaterialsto
5. Morecompactthanmultiturnvalves
6. Offerlongcyclelife
7. Dead-endservice.
1. Nottobeusedwithsteam.
2. Gearoperatorsareneededfor8in.and
Body Styles
1. Waferstylevalvesareheldinplace
betweentwopipeflanges. Theyare
2. Lug-stylevalveshavewaferbodiesbut
3. Groovebutterflyvalvesdirectlyconnect
Design Detail: Quarter-Turn Valves,
Lubricated Plug Cocks
Advantages and Recommendations
1. Bubble-tightshut-offfromstemsealof
2. Quick,90open/close,notdependent
Nov/Dec 2005 PlumbingSystems&Design
3. Straight-through,unobstructedflow,
4. Offerslongcyclelife.
5. Adjustablestopforbalancingorthrot-
6. Canbesuppliedwithround,diamond,
7. Mechanismforpoweroperationor
1. Temperatureandpressurerangelimited
General Valve Specifcation by Service
Hot and Cold Domestic Water Service
Gate valve
2in.andsmaller Valves2in.andsmaller
shall be class 125, rated 125 psi SWP, 200
bonnet, and solid wedge shall be of ASTM
shall be of dezincification-resistant silicon
B-99. Packing glands shall be of bronze,
ASTM B-62, with aramid fiber, nonasbes-
tos packing, complete with malleable hand
2 in. and larger Valves 21 in. and
150 psi nonshock CWP; and have an iron
body, bronze-mounted outside screw and
that are buried in the ground shall be iron
body, bronze-fitted, with O-ring stem seal;
and a resilient-seated gate valve with non-
ends as required. All valves furnished shall
open left. All internal parts shall be acces-
the line. Valves shall conform to AWWA
C509-89, Standard for Resilient-Seated
Gate Valves. Epoxy coating shall conform
to AWWA C550-90, Standard for Protective
Epoxy Interior Coating for Valves.
Ball valves
2in.andsmaller Valves2in.andsmaller
1 in., conventional-port 12 in., blow-
out-proof stems, chrome-plated brass ball,
Globe valves
2in.andsmaller Valves2in.andsmaller
psi nonshock CWP; body and bonnet shall
be of ASTM B-62 cast-bronze composition
2 in. and larger Valves 21 in. and
200 psi nonshock CWP; and have an iron
body, bronze-mounted OS&Y, with body
and bolted bonnet conforming to ASTM
A-126 class B cast-iron, flanged ends, with
piece packing gland assembly. Valves shall
Butterfy valves
2 in. and larger Valves 2 1 in. and
and have a lug or IPS grooved type body
molded to seat. Sizes 21 to 6 in. shall be
lever operated with a ten-position throt-
as recommended by the manufacturer, on
Note: Butterfly valves in dead-end ser-
flanges for proper shut-off and retention
or must be certified by the manufacturer
for dead-end service without downstream
Check valves
2in.andsmaller Valves2in.andsmaller
nonshock CWP; and have threaded or sol-
to ASTM B-62 cast bronze composition, y-
Note: Class150valvesmeetingtheabove
specifications may be used where system
pressure requires. For class 125 seat disc,
2 in. and larger Valves 21 in. and
200 psi nonshock CWP; iron body, bronze
forming to ASTM A-126 class B cast-iron,
flanged ends, swing type disc, and nonas-
Alternative check valves (21 in. and
larger) shall be class 125/250 iron body,
bronze mounted, wafer check valve, with
aluminum bronze disc, EPDM seats, 316
A spring-actuated check valve is to be
is to be used on sewage ejectors or storm-
Fire-Protection System
Gate valves
2 in. and smaller Valves 2 in. and
ing pressure (WWP) or greater, with body
bronze composition, threaded ends, OS&Y,
solid disc and listed by UL, FM approved,
2 in. and larger Valves 21 in. and
with resilient rubber encapsulated wedge,
A-126, class B cast-iron, OS&Y, class 125
flanged or grooved ends. If of resilient
C509-89,Standard for Protective Epoxy Inte-
rior Coating for Valves.ValvesaretobeUL
Valves 4 in. and larger for under-
or greater, with body and bonnet con-
forming to ASTM A-126, class B cast iron,
furnished shall open left. All internal parts
shall be accessible without removing the
valve body from the line. Valves shall con-
formtoAWWAC509-89,Standard for Resil-
ient-Seated Gate Valves. Epoxycoatingshall
conform to AWWA C550-90, Standard for
Protective Epoxy Interior Coating for Valves.
Valves shall come complete with mounting
Continuing Education: Valves
PlumbingSystems&Design Nov/Dec 2005
When required, a vertical indicator post
may be used on underground valves. Posts
must provide a means of knowing if the
valve is open or shut. Indicator posts must
be UL listed and FM approved.
High-Rise Service
Gate valves
2- to 12-in. Gate valves 2 to 10 in.
shall be rated 300 psi WWP or greater, 12
in. shall be rated 250 psi WWP, and have an
iron body, bronze mounted, with body and
bonnet conforming to ASTM A-126, class B,
cast iron, OS & Y, with flanged ends for use
with class 250/300 flanges. They shall be UL
listed, FM approved, and in compliance with
MSS SP-70.
Check valves
2- to 12-in. Check valves 2 to 10 in.
shall be rated 300 psi WWP or greater, 12 in.
shall be rated 250 psi WWP, and have an iron
body, bronze mounted, with a horizontal
swing check design, with body and bonnet
conforming to ASTM A 126 Class B, cast
iron, with flanged ends for use with class
250/300 flanges. They shall be UL listed, FM
approved, and in compliance with MSS SP-
Note: In New York City, valves are to be
approved by the New York City Materials
and Equipment Acceptance Division (MEA),
in addition to the above specifications.
Ball valves
2 in. and smaller Valves 2 in. and smaller
shall be constructed of commercial bronze,
ASTM B 584, rated 175 psi WWP or higher,
with reinforced TFE seats. Valves shall have
a gear operator with a raised position indi-
cator and two internal supervisory switches.
Valves shall have threaded or IPS grooved
ends and shall have blowout-proof stems
and chrome-plated balls. They shall be UL
listed, FM approved, and in compliance with
MSS SP-110 for fire-protection service.
Butterfy valves
4 to 12 in. Butterfly valves may be sub-
stituted for gate valves, where appropri-
ate. Valves shall be rated for 250 psi WWP,
175 psig working pressure, UL listed, FM
approved and in compliance with MSS SP-
Valves furnished shall have ductile-iron
ASTM A-536 body, and may have ductile-iron
ASTM A-395 (nickel-plated) discs or alumi-
num bronze discs, depending upon the local
water conditions. In addition, wafer style for
installation between class 125/150 flanges or
lug style or grooved body may be specified,
depending upon the system needs.
Valves shall be equipped with weather-
proof gear operator rated for indoor/out-
door use, with hand wheel and raised posi-
tion indicator with two internal supervisory
Check valves Valves 2 in. and larger
shall be 500 psi WWP, bolted bonnet, with
body and bonnet conforming to ASTM A-
126, class B cast iron, flanged end with com-
position y-pattern, horizontal, swing type
disc. They shall be UL listed, FM approved,
and in compliance with MSS SP-71 type 1 for
fire-protection service. n
Nov/Dec 2005 PlumbingSystems&Design 57
Continuing Education: Valves
1. Dezincification occurs in valves as a result of _________.
a. electrolysis
b. high velocity
c. high pressure
d. water hammer
2. All domestic water gate valves 4 inches and larger that
are buried in the ground shall be iron body, bronze
fitted with __________.
a. o-ring stem seal
b. epoxy coating inside and out
c. resilient seats
d. all of the above
. MSS withdraws its standard practices when __________.
a. they have been revised
b. they are approved as ANSI standards
c. they are in conflict with local codes
d. none of the above
4. The valve type that is best suited for all services is a
__________ valve.
a. ball
b. gate
c. globe
d. none of the above
. When a gate valve is fully open, it __________.
a. has the highest resistance to flow of all valve types
b. has the least resistance to flow of all valve types
c. causes water hammer in the piping system
d. creates velocity surges
6. Butterfly valves in dead-end service require __________.
a. flanges upstream and down stream for shut-off and
proper retention
b. lock nuts on the flange bolts
c. certification by the manufacture for dead-end service
without downstream flanges
d. a or c but not b
. Bypass valves should be provided where the differential
pressure exceeds __________ psi on valves sized 4-6
a. 100
b. 150
c. 200
d. 250
8. Two-inch and smaller ball valves rated 10 psi SWP,
600 psi non-shock CPW with two-piece, cast brass
bodies, replaceable reinforced Teflon seats, blowout-
proof stems, chrome plated brass ball and threaded or
soldered ends must comply with MSS __________.
a. SP-110
b. standard practices
c. SP-72
d. all of the above
. The cap of a check valve is the equivalent to the ______.
a. bonnet of a gate or globe valve
b. operating pressure
c. packing gland of a ball valve
d. none of the above
10. By-pass valves __________.
a. are required when differential pressure exceeds 200
psi on gate valves 4-6 inches and 100 psi gate valves 8
inches and larger
b. must be 2 inches in diameter
c. should be provided where the differential pressure
exceeds 200 psi on gate valves 4-6 inches and 100 psi
on gate valves 8 inches and larger
d. must be inch or inch only
11. One advantage of the butterfly valve is that it can be
placed in very small spaces between __________.
a. other valves
b. equipment
c. piping
d. pipe flanges
12. When flow begins in a globe valve, __________.
a. wire drawing is minimized
b. contact between the seat and disk ends
c. a and b above
d. none of the above
Do you find it difficult to obtain continuing education units
(CEUs)? Is it hard for you to attend technical seminars? Through
Plumbing Systems & Design (PS&D), ASPE can help you accumulate
the CEUs required for maintaining your Certified in Plumbing Design
(CPD) status.
ASPE features a technical article in every issue of PS&D, excerpted
from its own publications. Each article is followed by a multiple-
choice test and a simple reporting form.
Reading the article and completing the form will allow you
to apply to ASPE for CEU credit. For most people, this process
will require approximately 1 hour. A nominal processing fee is
charged$25 for ASPE members and $35 for nonmembers (until
further notice, the member fee is waived). If you earn a grade of
90% or higher on the test, you will be notified that you have logged
0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD renewal requirement
or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs. (Please note that it is
your responsibility to determine the acceptance policy of a particular
agency.) CEU information will be kept on file at the ASPE office for 3
No certificates will be issued in addition to the notification letter.
You can apply for CEU credit on any technical article that has
appeared in PS&D within the past 12 months. However, CEU credit
only can be obtained on a total of eight PS&D articles in a 12-month
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only
the material presented in the continuing education article. Using
other information may result in a wrong answer.
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson, Chicago Chapter President
CE QuestionsValves (PSD 130)
PlumbingSystems&Design Nov/Dec 2005

Medical Gas
and Vacuum
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Health care is in a constant state of change, which forces the
plumbing engineer to keep up with new technology to provide
innovative approaches to the design of medical-gas systems. In
Tis section focuses on design parameters and current stan-
dards required for the design of nonfammable medical-gas and
vacuum systems used in therapeutic and anesthetic care. Te
plumbing engineer must determine the needs of the health-care
1. Howmanyoutlet/inletsarerequestedbystaf?
2. Howmanyoutlet/inletsarerequired?
3. Basedoncurrentconditions,howoftenistheoutlet/inlet
4. Basedoncurrentconditions,whatistheaveragedurationof
5. Whatistheproperusage(diversity)factortobeused?
As any hospital facility must be specially designed to meet the
Following are the essential steps to a well-designed and func-
1. Analyzeeachspecifcareaofthehealth-carefacilitytodeter-
A. Whichpipedmedical-gassystemsarerequired?
B. Howmanyofeachdiferenttypeofmedical-gasoutlet/inlet
C. Whereshouldtheoutlet/inletterminalsbelocatedfor
D. Whichtypeandstyleofoutlet/inletterminalbestmeetthe
2. Anticipateanybuildingexpansionandplaninwhichdirec-
3. Determinelocationsforthevariousmedical-gassupply
A. Bulkoxygen(O
B. High-pressurecylindermanifolds(O
C. Vacuumpumps(VAC).
D. Medical-aircompressors(MA).
4. Preparetheschematicpipinglayoutlocatingthefollowing:
A. Zonevalves.
B. Isolationvalves.
C. Masteralarms.
D. Areaalarms.
5. Calculatetheanticipatedpeakdemandsforeachmedical-gas
system.Appropriatelysizeeachparticularsectionso asto
6. Sizeandselectthevariousmedical-gasandvacuumsupply
A. Whatmedicalgasesarecurrentlyprovidedandwhatare
B. Canthecurrentgassupplier(orthehospitalspurchasing
C. Arethecapacitiesoftheexistingmedical-gassupplysys-
D. Areanyexistingsystemsvalvedthatcouldbeusedforan
E. Whattypeofequipmentisinuseandwhoisthemanufac-
F. Isitfeasibletomanifoldthenewandexistingequipment?
G. Whatisthephysicalconditionoftheexistingequipment?
H. Isthereadequatespaceavailableforthenewmedical-gas
I. Isexistingequipmentscheduledtobereplaced?(Amain-
architect. Tis program is a list of all the rooms and areas in the
not been prepared, the foor plans for the proposed facility shall
Tere is no code that specifcally mandates the exact number
stations are actually required in the facility areas. Guidelines are
Medical Gas and
Vacuum Systems
Reprinted from American Society of Plumbing Engineers Data Book Volume 3: Special Plumbing Systems, Chapter 2: Medical Gas and Vacuum
Systems. 2000, American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
published by the American Institute of Architects
and ASPE that recommend the minimum number
Te most often-used recommendations in deter-
for the Accreditation of Hospitals Organization
Medicaid compensation. Te JCAHO publishes a
mum number of stations for oxygen, medical air,
accreditation. If this is a factor for the facility, these
requirements are mandatory. Other jurisdictions,
such as state or local authorities, may require plans
to be approved by local health or building ofcials.
Tese approvals may require adhering to the state
If accreditation or the approval of authorities is
not a factor, the number and area locations of sta-
tions are not mandated. Te actual count then will
depend upon requirements determined by each
team using both past experience and anticipated
future use, often using the guideline recommenda-
proper functioning of connected equipment under
diversity factors vary for individual stations in each
out regard for any diversity, is called the total con-
system, since not all of the stations in the facility will
be used at the same time. A diversity, or simultane-
parts of the distribution system. Tis factor varies for
Total demand for medical-gas systems varies as a function of
time of day, month, patient-care requirements, and facility type.
Te number of stations needed for patient care is subjective and
cannot be qualifed based on physical measurements. Knowing
demand and simultaneous-use factors (diversities), which are
gas piping systems must be clearly identifed using an approved
Medical-gas outlet/inlet terminals Most manufacturers of
medical-gas system equipment ofer various types of medical-
the requirements of the local jurisdictional authority and NFPA
99. All outlets must be properly identifed and confrmed. Care
patient headwall units, the medical-gas outlets are generally fur-
nished by the equipment manufacturer, and it is very important
table 1 Outlet Rating Chart for Medical-Vacuum Piping Systems
Free-Air Allowance, cfm
(L/min) at 1 atmosphere
Zone Allowances Corridors,
Risers, Main Supply Line,
Location of Medical-Surgical Vacuum
Outlets Per Room Per Outlet
Usage Factor
Air to Be
cfm (L/min)
Operating rooms:
Major A(Radical, open heart; organ
transplant; radical thoracic) 3.5 (100) 100 3.5 (100)
Major B(All other major ORs) 2.0 (60) 100 2.0 (60)
Minor 1.0 (30) 100 1.0 (30)
Delivery rooms 1.0 (30) 100 1.0 (30)
Recovery room (post anesthesia) and
intensive-care units (a minimum of 2
outlets per bed in each such department):
1st outlet at each bed 3 (85) 50 1.5 (40)
2nd outlet at each bed 1.0 (30) 50 0.5 (15)
3rd outlet at each bed 1.0 (30) 10 0.1 (3)
All others at each bed 1.0 (30) 10 0.1 (3)
Emergency rooms 1.0 (30) 100 1.0 (30)
Patient rooms:
Surgical 1.0 (30) 50 0.5 (15)
Medical 1.0 (30) 10 0.1 (3)
Nurseries 1.0 (30) 10 0.1 (3)
Treatment & examining rooms 0.5 (15) 10 0.05 (1)
Autopsy 2.0 (60) 20 0.04 (1)
Inhalation therapy, central supply &
instructional areas 1.0 (30) 10 0.1 (3)
Free air at 1 atmosphere.
table 2 Color Coding for Piped Medical Gases
Gas Intended for Medical Use United States Color Canada Color
Oxygen Green Green on white
Carbon dioxide Gray Black on gray
Nitrous oxide Blue Silver on blue
Cyclopropane Orange Silver on orange
Helium Brown Silver on brown
Nitrogen Black Silver on black
Air Yellow* White and black on black and white
Vacuum White Silver on yellow
Gas mixtures (other than
mixtures of oxygen and nitrogen)
Color marking of mixtures shall be a combination of color
corresponding to each component gas.
Gas mixtures of oxygen and
19.5 to 23.5% oxygen
All other oxygen concentrations
Black and green
Black and white
Source: Compressed Gas Association, Inc.
Historically, white has been used in the United States and yellow has been used in Canada to identify vacuum systems.
Therefore, it is recommended that white not be used in the United States and yellow not be used in Canada as a marking
to identify containers for use with any medical gas. Other countries may have difering specifc requirements.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design 45
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: MedicaI Cas and Vacuum Systems
the-bed medical-gas service consoles, these consoles are often
specifed in the electrical or equipment section of the specifca-
Gas-outlet sequence, center-line spacing, and multiple-gang-
service outlets are some of the considerations to be taken into
the hospitals anesthesia machines, fow meters, vacuum regula-
Patient head-wall systems A recent and growing trend in
hospital construction is the requirement for patient head-wall
systems, which incorporate many services for the patients care.
1. Medical-gasoutlets.
2. Electrical-serviceoutlets(includingemergencypower).
3. Directandindirectlighting.
4. Nurse-callsystem.
5. Isolationtransformers.
6. Groundingoutlets.
7. Patient-monitoringreceptacles.
8. VacuumslideandIVbrackets.
9. Nightlights.
Bed locator units are also available, which serve to provide
and standard power. Tese units
also function to protect the walls
from damage as beds are moved
Head walls currently vary in
shape, size, type, and cost from a
simple over-the-patient-bed stan-
dard confguration to elaborate
total-wall units. Most manufactur-
medical-gas outlets for all types
of patient consoles available in
todays market. When specifying
head-walls outlets, the plumbing
engineer should consider the fol-
1. Istheserviceoutletselected
2. Doesthepatienthead-wall
Special types of ceiling-
mounted, medical-gas out-
lets In critical-care areas, which are generally considered by
placement of the medical-gas service equipment must be done
Manufacturers of medical-gas service equipment usually pro-
vide a wide range of equipment that is available for use in these
areas. Depending upon the customers preference and the avail-
able budget, the equipment is selected to provide the necessary
Example 1
Te following illustrative example presents some of the most
1. Oxygen.
2. Nitrousoxide.
3. Nitrogen.
4. Medicalcompressedair.
5. Vacuum.
6. Wasteanesthetic-gasdisposal.
1. Ceiling outlets Individualmedical-gasoutletsmountedinthe
table 3 Types of Dispensing Equipment for Specifc Areas
Hospital Areas
Medical Gas Outlet Dispensing Equipment
Care Head
Outlets with
Hose Stops
with Gas
Autopsy rooms

Delivery rooms

Emergency examination and treatment

Emergency operating rooms

Induction rooms

Labor rooms

Major surgery rooms

Minor surgery, cystoscopy

Neonatal intensive care units

Normal nursery rooms

Nursery workrooms

O.B. recovery rooms

Patient rooms

Pediatric and youth intensive care unit

Post-operative recovery rooms

Premature and pediatric nursery rooms

Pre-op holding rooms

Radiology rooms

Respiratory care unit

Specialized surgeries (cardiac and neuro)

2. Surgical ceiling columns Surgicalceilingcolumnsareusu-
3. Surgical gas tracks Surgicalgastracksareformsofceiling
4. Articulating ceiling-service center Articulatedceiling-ser-
High-pressure nitrogen (N
) dispensing equipment Special
consideration must be given by the plumbing engineer to the
these turbo-surgical instruments, in both their manufacture and
pressure levels be available. For this reason, it is necessary that
the engineer provide an adjustable pressure-regulating device
near the nitrogen gas outlet. A nitrogen control panel is usually
located on the wall (in the surgery room) opposite the operating
ity, the engineer should determine the storage capacity and the
pipe sizing required and possible locations for the source. Local
Because of the unique characteristics of each medical-gas
source, the gases are described separately in this section. Also,
an explanation of the techniques currently employed to exhaust
Oxygen (O
) Severalfactorsmustbeknownwhenestimating
the monthly consumption of oxygen in new or existing health-
1. Typeofmedicalcareprovided.
2. Numberofoxygenoutletsor
3. Numberofpatientbeds.
4. Futureexpansionoffacility.
5. Inexistingfacilities,approximateconsumption.
Two methods can be used by the plumbing engineer to esti-
the supplier, use consumption records from a comparably sized
Te second method is to apply the following rule of thumb to
estimate the monthly supply of oxygen. Tis estimating method
1. Innon-acute-careareas,allow500ft
2. Inacute-careareas,allow1000ft
oxygen systems and (2)cylinder-manifold-supply systems. Bulk-
oxygen systems should be considered for health-care facilities
with an estimated monthly demand above 35,000 ft
(991 m
) or
equal to 70 oxygen outlets. Manifold systems are used in small
Bulk-oxygen systems Whenselectingandplacingbulk-oxygen
port truck size, truck access to bulk-storage tanks, and NFPA 50,
Standard for Bulk Oxygen Systems at Consumer Sites.Bulk-oxygen
with NFPA 50 recommendations. If liquid oxygen is spilled or
oxygen at low pressures (225 psi [1551.3 kPa] or less). Cryogenic
sure vessels. Liquid oxygen has a boiling point (nbp) of 297.3F
(182.9C) and a liquid density of 71.27 lb/ft
(1141.8 kg/cm
ity is maximized and the introduction of atmospheric impurities
relief valve vented to the atmosphere should the liquid oxygen
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design 47
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: MedicaI Cas and Vacuum Systems
Most bulk-oxygen storage systems are furnished with vapor-
izers. Vaporizers are banks of fnned-tube heat exchangers that
eral stylesincluding atmospheric, powered (forced-air, steam,
and electric), waste-heat, and hybridand sizes. Te selec-
tion of vaporizers should be based on demand, intermittent or
continuous usage, energy costs, and temperature zones. Poorly
ventilated sites or undersized heat exchangers can cause ice to
form on vaporizers during the conversion process. Excessive ice
formations can clog and damage the vaporizer. Also, ice could
system; damage the valves, alarms, and medical components;
line regulator. Tus, a constant supply of oxygen at a regulated
In case of mechanical difculty or the depletion of the liquid-
An alarm signal should alert appropriate hospital personnel
when the liquid in the oxygen storage tank reaches a predeter-
mined level. Te alarm signals should indicate low liquid levels,
Cylinder-manifold supply systems Compressed-oxygen
systems are comprised of cylinder manifolds that allow a pri-
Te controls of the cylinder manifold will automatically shift the
fow of the oxygen gas from the service side to the reserve side
Manifold systems can be located indoors or outdoors. When
manifolds are located indoors, the engineer should observe the
Location Preferably,themanifoldshouldbeinadedicated
Adjacent areas Tereshouldbenodoors,vents,orother
Fire rating Tefre-resistanceratingoftheroomshouldbeat
Ventilation Outsideventilationisrequired.
Security Teroom(orarea)mustbeprovidedwithadoorora
Oxygen manifolds are sized taking into consideration the fol-
1. Tesizeofthecylinders,244ft
2. Tehospitalsusageofoxygen,inft
Figure 1 Typical Bulk Supply System (Schematic)
table 4 Selection Chart for Oxygen Manifolds
Hospital Usage Duplex Manifold Size
Cu. Ft. (10
L) per month Total Cylinders Cylinders per Side
5,856 (165.8) 6 3
9,760 (276.4) 10 5
13,664 (386.9) 14 7
17,568 (497.5) 18 9
21,472 (608.0) 22 11
25,376 (718.6) 26 13
29,280 (829.1) 30 15
33,154 (938.8) 34 17
Note: Based on use of 244 ft
(6909.35 L) H-cylinders.
Nitrous oxide(N
O) Tecommonsourceofnitrousoxideisa
cylinder-manifold system. High-pressure manifold systems con-
sist of two banks of cylinders, primary and reserve. (See discus-
ies scheduled, the types and lengths of surgery, and the admin-
istering techniques used by the anesthesiologists cause extreme
variations in the amount of nitrous oxide used. Because of this
variation, considerations must be given to the size and selection
Avoid locating the nitrous-oxide manifold system outdoors in
fed at its vapor pressure of 745 psi (5136.6 kPa) at 70F (21.1C).
At extremely cold temperatures, the cylinder pressure will drop
dramatically, reducing the cylinder pressure to a point where it is
Te following should be considered when selecting and sizing
1. Tesizeofthecylinders:489ft
2. Tenumberofanesthetizinglocationsoroperatingrooms.
3. Provideof1cylinderperoperatingroomforin-serviceand
table 5 Sizing Chart for Nitrous Oxide Cylinder Manifolds
Number of
Duplex Manifold Size
Indoor Outdoor
Total Cylinders
Cylinders per
Side Total Cylinders
Cylinders per
4 4 2 4 2
8 8 4 10 5
10 10 5 12 5
12 12 6 14 7
16 16 8 20 10
Note: Based on use of 489 ft
(13.85 103 L) K-cylinders.
Medical compressed air Medical compressed air may be
supplied by two types of system: (1) a high-pressure cylinder-
Oxygen, above). Air supplied from cylinders or that has been
asaminimum,withGradeDinANSIZE86.I,Commodity Specif-
cation for Air.
Medical compressed air can be produced on site from atmo-
spheric air using air compressors designed for medical applica-
place today: the centrifugal, reciprocating, and rotary screw. Te
reciprocating and rotary screw are positive-displacement type
units, while the centrifugal compressor is a dynamic type com-
pressor. Te medical air compressor shall be designed to prevent
pressor are the liquid ring, rotary screw, and permanently sealed
cating or the rotary screw compressor. Te centrifugal compres-
sors capacity, however, is afected slightly by the inlet air condi-
as the air temperature decreases, the capacity of the dynamic
compressor will increase. Te capacity of a centrifugal compres-
much confusion because many people do not fully understand
how to convert from acfm or icfm to scfm. Te design engineer
specifying scfm must defne a typical inlet air condition at the
psia [101.4 kPa], 60F [15.6C], and 0% relative humidity). Typi-
cally, the warmest normal condition is specifed because as the
Equation 1
scfm =acfm


) T
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design 49
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: MedicaI Cas and Vacuum Systems
Equation 1a


conditions are inserted into the above formula and multiplied
by the acfm capacity of the unit. It makes no diference what the
design conditions are for that compressor, as these do not fgure
fow at the given inlet conditions is inserted in place of the acfm
aware of is how altitude afects the output of the compressor. At
altitudes above sea level, all medical-air systems have reduced
fow. In these cases, the required sizing will need to be adjusted
table 6 Altitude Correction Factors for Medical-Air Systems
Altitude, ft (m)
Normal Barometric
Pressure, in. Hg (mm Hg)
Factor for SCFM
Sea level 29.92 (759.97) 1.0 (28.31)
1,000 (304.8) 28.86 (733.04) 1.01 (28.6)
2,000 (609.6) 27.82 (706.63) 1.03 (29.16)
3,000 (914.4) 26.82 (681.23) 1.05 (29.73)
4,000 (1219.2) 25.84 (656.33) 1.06 (30.01)
5,000 (1524) 24.90 (632.46) 1.08 (30.58)
6,000 (1828.8) 23.98 (609.09) 1.10 (31.14)
7,000 (2133.6) 23.09 (586.48) 1.12 (31.71)
8,000 (2438.4) 22.23 (564.64) 1.15 (32.56)
9,000 (2743.2) 21.39 (543.3) 1.17 (33.13)
10,000 (3048) 20.58 (522.7) 1.19 (33.69)
In other words, to correctly size the medical-air system, you
Example 2
demand is 29.4 SCFM. Take the 29.4 scfm and multiply it by 1.08
(correction factor from Table 5) to get the adjusted scfm require-
Another handy formula for compressed-air systems is the fol-
Each compressor must be capable of maintaining 100% of the
medical-air peak demand regardless of the standby compressors
operating status. Te basic compressor package consists of flter
intakes, duplex compressors, after-coolers, receiving tanks, air
dryers, in-line flters, regulators, dew-point monitors, and valves.
Te compressor components are connected by piping that allows
equipment isolation, provides pressure relief, and removes con-
densate from receivers. Medical-air compressors must draw out-
to remove carbon monoxide and other contaminants. Refer to
units must be capable of supplying the peak calculated demands.
Provide automatic alternators (duty-cycling controls) to ensure
Medical compressed air produced by compressors may be
been added by the compressor system. Not every compressor is
care facilities. Only those compressor units specifcally designed
a reliable source of oil-free, moisture-free, and low-temperature
less, and liquid-ring compressors. Separation of the oil-contain-
for this purpose only and should not be used for other applica-
table 7 Minimum Pipe Sizes for Medical Air-Compressor Intake Risers
Pipe size, in.
Flow rate, cfm
2.5 (63.5) 50 (1416)
3 (76.2) 70 (1985)
4 (101.6) 210 (5950)
5 (127.0) 400 (11330)
pressor intake risers. Consult with the compressor manufacturer
on intake recommendations and allowable friction loss for the
1. When Iiquid oxygen is vaporized into a gas, it
produces ________ times its Iiquid voIume.
a. 0
b. 450
c. 900
d. 1,350
2. Nitrous oxide (N
0) is typicaIIy used by whom in the
surgery room!
a. the attending physician
b. the attending physicians assistant
c. the surgical nurse
d. the anesthesiologist
3. 7he medicaI-gas and vacuum piping systems must be
designed to ________.
a. meet the specifc requirements of each hospital
b. anticipate any building expansion
c. not cross connect to any existing system
d. all of the above
4. 7he primary use of nitrogen gas in hospitaIs is ______
a. driving turbo-surgical instruments
b. pressurizing piping systems
c. in the laboratory Bunsen burners
d. none of the above
5. MedicaI-gas ow rates ________.
a. must include diversifcation
b. must provide for the total connected load
c. must provide the minimum required fow for the
proper functioning of connected equipment
d. must be estimated
6. Providing medicaI-gas service outIets in the surgery
room may be accompIished by Iocating them in
a. the ceiling
b. the surgical ceiling columns
c. the surgical gas tracks
d. any of the above noted areas and others not listed
7. In acute-care areas, aIIow ________ cubic feet per bed
per month for suppIy and reserve oxygen storage.
a. 250
b. 500
c. 750
d. 1,000
8. 7he exact number of medicaI-gas outIets required in
the various areas or rooms is mandated by ________.
a. the various codes that apply to work at the project
b. the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
c. the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
d. none of the above
9. MedicaI-gas outIet types and congurations must
meet the requirements of the IocaI jurisdictionaI
authority and ________.
a. ANSI 1416
b. NFPA 99
c. NFPA 50
d. ANSI 1763
10. SeveraI factors must be known when estimating the
monthIy consumption of oxygen, such as ________.
a. the number of patient beds
b. the type of medical care provided
c. the future expansion plans of the facility
d. all of the above
11. What is the SCFM correction factor for a medicaI-air
system Iocated in a faciIity at an aItitude of 7,000 feet
above sea IeveI!
a. 1.05
b. 1.08
c. 1.12
d. 1.17
12. 7he goaI in designing medicaI-gas and vacuum
systems is ________.
a. to provide a safe system
b. to provide a sufcient fow of gas or vacuum
c. to provide the required pressure
d. all of the above
Is it hard for you to attend technical seminars? Trough Plumbing
Systems & Design (PS&D), ASPE can help you accumulate the CEUs
required for maintaining your Certifed in Plumbing Design (CPD)
to ASPE for CEU credit. For most people, this process will require
approximately 1 hour. A nominal processing fee is charged$25 for
ASPE members and $35 for nonmembers (until further notice, the
CE programs. (Please note that it is your responsibility to determine
No certifcates will be issued in addition to the notifcation letter.
material presented in the continuing education article. Using other
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD
CE QuestionsMedical Gas and Vacuum Systems (PSD 131)

Design for
Health Care
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Health-care facilities, nursing homes, medical schools,
and medical laboratories require plumbing systems that
ing. Te plumbing designer should work closely with the
architect and facility staf and be involved in meetings and
ments for any new or special medical equipment. Te plumb-
ing design must be coordinated with the civil, architectural,
structural, mechanical, and electrical designs to ensure that
adequate provisions have been made for utility capacities, for
requirements or be exempt from some codes and standards,
such as water and energy conservation codes and regulations
regarding the physically challenged. Te plumbing engineer
should consult with the administrative authority in order to
Tis chapter discusses the provisions that may be encoun-
facility, including the following: plumbing fxtures and related
tem, laboratory waste and vent systems, pure-water systems,
Following the meetings held with the architect and hospital
ing fxtures and related equipment. A guide to the required
plumbing fxtures and equipment for health-care facilities is
hospital authorities, the state hospital or health-department
and Human Services. Te architect may investigate these spe-
cial requirements; however, the plumbing designer must be
familiar with them since they contain many other applicable
Plumbing fxtures in health-care facilities should be of dense,
of vitreous china, enameled cast iron, and stainless steel are
ers, escutcheons, stops, and suppliesshould be chromium
plated in a manner approved by the administrative author-
ity. Die-cast metals should not be used. Faucets should have
a laminar fow device (no alternative) of brass, Monel metal,
or stainless-steel trim. Each plumbing fxture in health-care
facilities should be provided with individual stop valves. Each
water-service main, branch main, and riser shall have valves.
approved vacuum breakers. Backfow-prevention devices shall
General-use staf and public areas
Water closets Vitreouschina,siphon-jetwaterclosetwithelon-
gated bowl design with open-front seat, less cover, should be
jurisdictions. All water closets should be operated by water-
Lavatories and sinks Vitreous china, enameled cast iron
or stainless-steel lavatories and sinks should be specifed. Te
most commonly specifed size is 20 18 7 in. deep (508
457.2 190.5 mm deep). Hands-free controls (foot or knee
Plumbing Design for
Health Care Facilities
Reprinted from American Society of Plumbing Engineers Data Book Volume 3: Special Plumbing Systems, Chapter 2: Plumbing Design for
Health Care Facilities. 2000, American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
56 PlumbingSystems&Design MARCH/APRIL 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
controls) are generally employed for staf use and for scrub-up
sinks. In public areas, codes should be checked for the require-
ment of self-closing valves and/or metered valves. Stops should
be provided for all supply lines. Aerators are not permitted; use
laminar fow devices. Insulated and/or ofset p-traps should be
used for handicapped fxtures.
Faucets Valves should be operable without hands, i.e., with
wrist blades or foot controls or electronically. If wrist blades
are used, blade handles used by the medical and nursing staf,
patients, and food handlers shall not exceed 4 in. (11.43 cm) in
length. Handles on scrub sinks and clinical sinks shall be at least
6 in. (15.24 cm) long. Water spigots used in lavatories and sinks
shall have clearances adequate to avoid contaminating utensils
and the contents of carafes, etc.
Urinals Vitreous china wall-hung urinals with fush valves.
Flush valves should be equipped with stops and may be of the
exposed or concealed design.
Showers Te shower enclosures and foor specifed by the
plumbing engineer may be constructed of masonry and tile or
of prefabricated fberglass. Showers and tubs shall have nonslip
walking surfaces. Te shower valve should automatically com-
pensate for variations in the water-supply pressure and tem-
perature to deliver the discharge water at a set temperature that
will prevent scaldings.
Drinking fountains and water coolers Drinking fountains
are available in vitreous china, steel and stainless steel. Units for
exterior installations are available in suitable materials. Refrig-
erated water coolers are available in steel or stainless steel. All
of these materials are acceptable by most local administrative
Table 1 RecommendedPlumbingFixturesandRelatedEquipment
Public/Staf Restrooms l l l l l l l
Staf Lounge l l l l l l
Patient Rooms l l l l
Isolation Rooms l l l l
Nurse Stations l
Nursery l l
Formula Room l l l
Intensive-Care Room l l l
Outpatient-Services Area l l l l
Emergency Rooms l l l l l
Exam/Treatment Room l l l
Labor Room l l l
Janitors Closet l l l
Clean Linen Holding l
Soiled Linen Holding l l
Nourishment Station l l l
Patient Bathing Area l l l l l
Critical-Care Area l l l l l
Pharmacy l
Surgical Scrub-up l
Anesthesia Workroom l
Surgical Supply Services l
Surgical Cleanup Room l
Doctors Locker Room l l l l
Nurses Locker Room l l l
Recovery Room l l l
Fracture Room l l
Cleanup/Utility Room l l l l
Sub-Sterilizing Room l
Medical Laboratory l l l l l l l l l l l
Physical Therapy Room l l l l l l l
Cystoscopic Room l l l l l l
Autopsy Room l l l l l l l l
Dietary Services l l l l l l l l l l
Laundry Facility l l l l
Family Waiting Room l l l













































MARCH/APRIL 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design 57
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: PIumbing Design for HeaIth Care FaciIities
authorities. Tese units may be of the surface-mounted, semi-
Chilled water for drinking purposes should be provided
between 45 and 50F (7.2 and 10.0C) and obtained by chill-
be enclosed in a cabinet with the dispenser (water cooler),
installed unit for multiple dispensers (central system) should
Mop-service basins Floor-mounted mop-service basins
can be obtained in precast or (terazzo) molded-stone units of
various sizes. Te plumbing engineer should specify the most
Floor drains Floordrainsintoiletroomsareoptionalinmost
are required by the applicable codes. Te plumbing designer
drain through the use of deep-seal p-traps and/or trap prim-
Patient rooms Teserooms(privateorsemiprivate)usually
tory, and a shower or bathtub. (Some hospitals use common
shower and bath facilities for a group of patient rooms.) Te
plumbing fxtures should conform with the following recom-
be operated by a fush valve. Water closets should have open-
required by the local codes. Bedpan-fushing devices shall be
provided in each inpatient toilet room; however, installation is
optional in psychiatric and alcohol-abuse units, where patients
Te lavatory should be a minimum of 20 18 7 in. (508
in. (863.6 mm) above the foor. Mixing faucets should be of the
gooseneck-spout design and provided with wrist-blade handles,
or fberglass. Te shower bases should be nonslip surfaces. Te
the water-supply pressure and temperature to deliver the dis-
Bathtubs can be constructed of cast iron, fberglass, acryl-
heads may be of the stationary design, but in many locations
pital staf is sometimes required by the local ordinances. Tis
particular lavatory is usually located on the wall near the door
A water closet and lavatory, with a fxed or fold-away water
Ward rooms Ward rooms are infrequently found in health-
care facilities, particularly in the private hospital feld. Tese
or stainless steel. Te faucet should be of the gooseneck-spout
design and provided with wrist-blade handles or hands-free
Nurseries Te hospitals nursery is usually provided with a
free controls and a high gooseneck spout. An infants bathtub,
over the basins with separate hand-valve controls. Te spout
and the spray are usually supplied and controlled through a
thermostatic mixing valve. Te ultimate in maintaining a safe
Intensive-care rooms Teseroomsusuallyhaveutilitysinks
with hands-free controls with high gooseneck spouts. A water-
the room) should be provided. Newer designs have included
Emergency (triage) rooms Te plumbing fxtures provided
in emergency rooms include a utility sink with an integral tray
and a water-supply ftting with a gooseneck spout and wrist-
blade handles. A vitreous china clinic sink (or a fushing-rim
sink), for the disposal of solids, with the water-supply ftting
consisting of a fush valve and a separate combination faucet
Examination and treatment rooms Tese rooms are usu-
ally provided with vitreous china or stainless-steel lavatories.
with a high, rigid, gooseneck spout. For a particular examina-
a specimen-collecting bedpan. Te toilet room also requires a
Physical-therapy treatment rooms Te plumbing fxtures
and related equipment for these rooms usually include hydro-
are generally furnished with electric-motor-driven whirlpool
enclosure by means of a thermostatic control valve to prevent
scalding, usually wall mounted adjacent to the bath for opera-
tion by a hospital attendant. Te water supply should be sized
A hydrotherapy shower is sometimes required. Tese showers
usually consist of multiple shower heads, sometimes as many
58 PlumbingSystems&Design MARCH/APRIL 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Cystoscopic rooms Among the various plumbing fxtures
tings and gooseneck spouts; and, in a separate adjacent room,
in cystoscopy, it shall contain a nonsplash, horizontal-fow
Autopsy room Te autopsy room table is usually provided
with cold and hot-water supplies, with a vacuum breaker or
backfow preventer, and a waste line. It is necessary that the
plumbing designer consult with the table manufacturer and
the administrative authority regarding the requirements of the
autopsy room table. Drain systems for autopsy tables shall be
designed to positively avoid splatter or overfow onto foors or
back siphonage and for easy cleaning and trap fushing. Te
autopsy room is also usually equipped with a stainless steel or
vitreous china sink with hands-free fttings, a clinic sink and a
closet and a shower room are usually provided. Many autopsy
Nourishment stations Tesestationsareusuallyprovidedon
ishment between regularly scheduled meals. A sink, equipped
hot-water dispenser (optional) to provide for the patients ser-
Pharmacy and drug rooms Teplumbingfxturesforthese
Operating-room areas No plumbing fxtures or foor drains
are required in the hospitals operating room. However, the
stainless steel, furnished with hands-free water-supply fttings,
and equipped with gooseneck spouts. Tese sinks should be
the hospitals surgical staf, should be located near the operat-
fushing-rim clinical sink, for the disposal of solids, with the
hand-washing facilities consisting of a vitreous china or stain-
less-steel lavatory with a gooseneck spout and equipped with
eral-purpose sink can be countertop-mounted and equipped
Recovery rooms Teroomsforthepost-anesthesiarecovery
as a vitreous china or stainless-steel lavatory equipped with a
fushing-rim, clinical sink for the disposal of solids, with the
water-supply ftting consisting of a fush valve and a separate
faucet mounted on the wall above the fxture with a vacuum
breaker. A bedpan washer should also be installed next to the
clinical sink. Te type of bedpan washer will depend upon the
Birthing rooms Eachbirthingroomshouldincludeavitreous
handles or hands-free controls. Each labor room should have
Anesthesia workrooms Tis area is designed for the clean-
of stainless steel. Te faucet should be of the gooseneck spout
Fracture rooms A large-size, vitreous china plaster, work
sink equipped with a combination water-supply ftting and
wrist-blade handles, gooseneck spout, and plaster trap on the
Kitchens and Laundries
food-service consultant for kitchen equipment utility require-
ments. Typically, one of these people should provide location
and rough-in drawings for all kitchen equipment. Normally
required are toilet fxtures for kitchen staf, food preparation
sinks, hand-wash sinks, pot and pan-wash sinks, dishwashers,
glassware washers, foor drains, hose bibbs, mixing stations,
and grease interceptors. Kitchen grease traps shall be located
and arranged to permit easy access without the necessity of
building without the necessity of interrupting any services. In
dietary areas, foor drains and/or foor sinks shall be of a type
that can be easily cleaned by the removal of a cover. Provide
foor drains or foor sinks at all wet equipment (such as ice
machines) and as required for the wet cleaning of foors. Te
location of foor drains and foor sinks shall be coordinated to
avoid conditions where the location of equipment makes the
When considering laundry facilities, the plumbing designer
equipment utility requirements. Tese facilities require large-
capacity washers/extractors and dryers, presses, and folding
machines. Waste-water drainage may require lint intercepters.
Tese facilities are prime candidates for heat and water-recov-
ery systems. Also, the laundry equipment may require other
Te hot-water temperatures required for these areas (100,
140, and 180F [38, 60, and 82C]) are discussed in Data Book,
Laboratory Rooms
Laboratory sinks Mostofthetimearchitectsprovidethecoun-
materials, in their specifcations. However, occasionally the
plumbing designer is responsible for selecting the laboratory
sinks. Laboratory sinks should be acid resistant and can be of
stainless steel, stone, or plastic. Laboratory and cup sinks are
MARCH/APRIL 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design 59
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: PIumbing Design for HeaIth Care FaciIities
currently available in epoxy resin, composition stone, natural
stone, ceramic or vitreous china, polyester fberglass, plastic,
stainless steel, and lead. Te lead type is not recommended
equipment as rectangular sinks or cup sinks mounted in, or
as part of, counter tops and as cup sinks in fume hoods. Rules
of thumb that can be used when the sink sizes are not recom-
1. Sinkswithacompartmentsizeof12167.5in.(304.8
2. Sinkswithacompartmentsizeof182410in.(457.2
3. Sinkswithacompartmentsizeof243612in.(609
or an overfow can be inserted and removed easily. Te outlet
rials that might cause a stoppage in the line. Unless an indus-
are used, should be able to withstand higher pressures. Many
Cup sinks Tesearesmall,36in.,39in.,or311in.(76.2
152.4 mm, 76.2 228.6 mm, or 76.6 279.4 mm) oval sinks
Laboratory glass washers are usually included, either fur-
plumbing designer. Automatic washers are available. In addi-
water (usually 140F [60C] boosted to 180F [82C]) internal
to the unit, distilled or deionized water, and compressed air.
in these rooms. Tube washers may have manifold-type supply
Emergency showers should be included throughout and
Eye and face-wash fountains are also required. Tese are
handle-operated, water-supply fxture; double side-mounted,
face and body-spray units. Te latest edition of the ANSI stan-
Laboratory service outlets forgas,air,nitrogen,vacuum,and
equipment under another contract or may be included in the
plumbing work. In either case, the plumbing designer should
rently available, the materials (or construction), and the usage
ratory use and, where possible, made by one manufacturer.
Handles should be made of forged brass and provided with
screw-in-type, color-coded index discs. All outlets should be
properly labeled. Serrated tips should be machined from solid
stock or forgings. Te service fttings should be chrome plated
should have an acid and solvent-resistant, plastic coating over
Special Equipment
Dialysis machines Dialysismachinesrequireafunneldrainor
Heart-and-lung machines Heart-and-lung machines also
require a funnel-type drain. If the apparatus is located in the
Electron microscopes Electronmicroscopesrequirefltered,
Stills Stills for producing distilled water require cold water
Sterilizers Sterilizers require an acid-resistant foor sink or
funnel drains, a backfow-protected water supply and some-
Film-processing equipment Film-processing (x-ray) areas
waste; and a hot, cold and/or tempered water supply operat-
photo-developing equipment should not be brass or copper.
and drains should be used. Silver recovery and neutralization
Dental equipment Dentalareasshouldincludeconsoleser-
ment manufacturers authorized representative and the local
administrative authority, in order to determine the equipment
requirements and the acceptability under the jurisdictions
Insofar as possible, drainage piping shall not be installed
within the ceiling or exposed in operating or delivery rooms,
nurseries, food-preparation centers, food-serving facilities,
60 PlumbingSystems&Design MARCH/APRIL 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Acid-waste drainage systems require special design criteria
the actual work area to an approved point at which such acid
Acid-resistant waste and vent systems are necessary where
acids with a pH lower than 6.5 or alkalis with a pH greater
than 8.5 are present. Tese special conditions are commonly
encountered in hospitals, research facilities, and laboratories.
Nationally recognized standards for sanitary systems that
handle acid wastes and other reagents are set forth in model
plumbing codes; such systems are often further regulated by
local building and safety or health department requirements.
For these reasons, the plumbing engineer should check for all
in large quantities and at elevated temperatures. Tese sub-
stances can mix to form highly corrosive and even dangerous
ization or fushing with copious amounts of water in order to
Borosilicate glass pipe Sizesrangefrom1to6-in.(40to150-
mm) pipe. Mechanical joint, fame resistance, and clear pipe
High-silicon cast iron Sizes range from 1 to 4-in. (40 to
100-mm) pipe. Mechanical joint, fame resistance, high corro-
More fragile and heavier than standard-weight cast iron and
easier to break in the feld. Excellent application for moderate
Polypropylene Sizesrangefrom1to6-in.(40to150-mm)
pipe. Mechanical or heat-fusion joints. Mechanical joints are
they should be used to access p-traps or other maintenance
(meets 25/50 fame/smoke criteria), newer UL listed methods
are close to glass in cost. Consult local authority for approval.
cians. Inexpensive compared to borosilicate glass or high-sili-
Double-containment waste piping With ever-increasing
within a pipe) systems have become a consideration. Usually
made of polypropylene inside and PVC or fberglass outside.
Alarm systems canbeemployedtodetectleaksatthecollec-
tion basin or, if the budget and the nature of the liquid allow,
Many local jurisdictions require that the buildings sanitary-
sewer discharge be at an acceptable pH level before it can be
ommended that a clarifying (or neutralizing) tank be added to
the sanitary system. Small ceramic or polypropylene clarifers
with limestone can be located under casework for low fow
for servicing. Unless properly maintained and monitored, this
neutralizers may be regulated by the requirements of a local
Te lower the pH number, the
higher the concentration of acid.
Discharging high concentrations
of acid into a public sewer may
cause considerable corrosion to
piping systems and eventual fail-
ure. Most local authorities do not
to a public sewer without some
Te neutralization of acidic
wastes is generally and most eco-
nomically dealt with through an
neutralization tank may be con-
structed of polyethylene, molded
stone, stainless steel, or another
acid-resistant material. Tanks are
rials discarded to the drain system. Unless building efuent is
needles, will fnd their way to the neutralization tank, thereby
When this happens, replacement of the chips is required.
One way to prolong chip life is to install an acid-waste solids
interceptor immediately upstream of the neutralization tank,
although maintenance of the interceptor may have to be done
Many local authorities require some means of sampling efu-
ent from industrial, institutional, and laboratory buildings. An
example of a device used for this purpose is a sampling man-
table 2 Acidic-Waste Neutralization
Tank Sizing Table
Number of
Lab Sinks
gal (L)
2 5 (18.9)
4 15 (56.8)
8 30 (113.6)
16 55 (208.2)
22 75 (283.9)
27 90 (340.7)
30 108 (408.8)
40 150 (567.8)
50 175 (662.4)
60 200 (757.0)
75 275 (1,040.9)
110 360 (1,362.6)
150 500 (1,898.5)
175 550 (2,081.8)
200 650 (2,460.3)
300 1200 (4,542)
500 2000 (7,570)
600 3000 (11,355)
Note: For commercial and industrial
laboratories, the number of lab sinks should be
multiplied by a 0.5 use factor.
MARCH/APRIL 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design 61
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: PIumbing Design for HeaIth Care FaciIities
ized acidic wastes or treated industrial wastes are discharged
to a public sewer. Tere are as many types of sampling point
est link in the acid-waste system. Te trap must be acid resis-
currently in common use: p-traps, drum traps, and centrifugal
1. P-trapsmaintainawatersealtokeeptheacidfumesfrom
2. Drum trapsprovideagreaterwatersealandarefrequently
3. Centrifugal drum trapsaredesignedtopreventback-
and allow for future expansion. Approved corrosion-resistant
are also highly corrosive. Space is often limited under tables
Note: When fusion-joint, plastic piping systems are used,
nets or work tables are located in the center of the laboratory
must be done in approved, corrosion-resistant piping (accept-
able to the local administrative authority) and continued to a
suitable point where neutralization can occur or where suf-
of the solution to an acceptable level. Acids below a pH of 6.5
or emitted into surrounding soil, polluting (or degenerating)
local ground water. High-silicon cast iron with hub-and-spigot
properly supported, is particularly recommended on the hori-
zontal runs where the expansion and contraction of pipe from
heated chemicals can cause leaking. Plumbing codes require
proper bed preparation and careful backflling on all below-
to be used. A listing of the common chemicals and how these
A domestic-water supply of adequate fow volume and pres-
equipment. Systems typically encountered in these types of
1. Potable-watersystems.
A. Coldwater.
B. Hotwater(atvarioustemperatures).
C. Chilledwater.
D. Controlled-temperature(tempered)water.
E. Hotwaterrecirculation.
2. Non-potablewatersystems.
3. Pure-watersystems.
A. Distilledwater.
B. Deionized(ordemineralized)water.
C. Reverseosmosis.
Health-care facilities should have dual domestic-water ser-
vices installed to ensure provision of an uninterrupted supply
of water. Te design should consider water-conservation pro-
visions. Many local jurisdictions have strict water-conserva-
tion laws in efect. Water recycling may be a consideration for
use in landscaping, etc., depending on local code and health-
departmentregulations.(Formoreinformation,seeData Book,
Water supply through a tank (suction or gravity type) should
source may be subjected to some unusual demands, pressure
Use of diversity factors for sizing the water systems must be
carefully analyzed by the designer. Medical-school laboratory
classrooms have higher rates of simultaneous use than most
Extreme care must be taken in order to protect the potable-
water supply from contamination (cross connection). When
vacuum breakers provided for fume-hood outlets should be
water should be generated with the most economical heating
With todays technology, several reliable methods can be
applied to produce and store domestic hot water. Refer to
ASPEsDomestic Water Heating Design Manual andASPE Data
Book Volume2,Chapter6,DomesticWater-HeatingSystems,
62 PlumbingSystems&Design MARCH/APRIL 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
tems and a discussion of the various hot-water systems avail-
able. When large dump loads are anticipated (kitchens and
laundries), storage of hot water is recommended. Hot-water
Recommended water temperatures for specifc applications
1. Patient-careandhospitalgeneralusagerequireswatertem-
2. Kitchengeneralusagerequires140F(60C)tofxtures,
3. Laundryfacilitiesshouldbesuppliedwithtwowatertem-
Providing a point-of-use booster heater for high-temperature
Film processors operate at a normal range of 40 to 30F (4.4
to 1.1C). Some models do require controlled water tempera-
A thermometer should also be provided on the outlets of
Non-potable water systems are usually employed in areas
potable-water supply. Areas in this category include: fushing-
rim foor drains in animal rooms, all outlets in autopsy rooms,
outlets in isolation rooms, and all outlets in infectious-disease
pressure-type backfow preventers as the means to protect the
potable-water system. Hot water, when required, may be pro-
vided by a separate generator supplied from the non-potable
Pure water is the term generally used to describe water that
ria, pyrogens, organic matters, and dissolved gases, which fre-
quently exist in the potable water supply. Pure-water systems
Tere are two basic types of pure water available in hospital
facilities: bio-pure water (water containing no bugs or other
life forms) and high-purity water (pure water that is free from
to ASPE Data Book, Volume 2, Chapter 11, Water Treatment,
Conditioning, and Purifcation, for additional information on
ohm-centimeter [-cm] units) or expressed as parts per mil-
attempts to absorb contaminants. It is important to note that
mineral contents and in no way shows the level of bacterial,
pyrogenic, or organic contamination. An independent labora-
distillation, demineralization, reverse osmosis, fltration, and
in the facility, one (or more) of these methods will be needed.
Under certain conditions, a combination of several methods
1. Distillation producesbio-purewater,whichiscompletely
2. Demineralization, sometimescalleddeionization,pro-
eralizeritself ).Demineralizedwatercanbeemployedin
MARCH/APRIL 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design 63
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: PIumbing Design for HeaIth Care FaciIities
3. Reverse osmosis (RO) producesahigh-puritywaterthatdoes
4. Filtration Varioustypesofflterarecurrentlyavailable
5. Recirculation High-puritysystemsshouldbeprovided
wheneverpossibleorlimitedto50in.(1.52m). System
Pure-water piping system materials Water-treatment
system components are selected to remove various impurities
together involves the use of interconnecting piping. Te use of
this piping should not contribute to adding any such impurity
Selection of piping-system materials is determined by the
application intended, the availability of the material, and the
1. Inertmaterialsmustnotleachcontaminationintowater.
2. Cleanjoiningmethodsavoidsolvents,lubricants,and
3. Nomaterialerosionmustnotfakeofparticles.
4. Materialshouldnotenhancemicroorganismgrowth.
5. Materialshouldbesmooth,crackandcrevice-free,and
6. Avoiddeadlegssystemshouldhavecontinuousfow
7. Providechemicalcleaningconnections.
8. Install(slope)withfuturecleaninganddisinfectionin
Common pure-water materials
1. Stainlesssteelvariousgrades(304L&316L).
2. Aluminum.
3. Tin-linedcopper.
4. Glassorglass-linedpipe.
5. PVC/CPVCPolyvinylchloride/chlorinatedpolyvinylchlo-
6. Polypropylene.
7. Polyethylene.
8. ABSAcrylonitrilebutadienestyrene.
9. PVDFPolyvinylidenefuoride.
Metal pipe Aluminum, tin-lined copper, and stainless-steel
pipe have all been used in pure-water treatment systems. Tin-
lined pipe was once the material of choice in ultra-pure water
systems. However, it does leach tin and eventually copper into
the process fuid. Methods of joining tin-lined pipe can also
Aluminum pipe has also been used in pure-water systems.
Pure water creates an oxide layer inside the pipe that continu-
manufactured with sanitary-type connection ends. Because
it can use sanitary joints and can handle steam sterilizing, the
maceutical applications. However, experience has shown that
even the best grades of stainless steel, with the best joints, still
Glass or glass-lined pipe Glasspipinghasbeenusedinsome
special laboratory applications but, because it is fragile and
PVC PVC pipe has been used on equipment and in piping
systems successfully for many years. Advances in technology,
especially in electronics, have now raised questions about the
PVC pipe contains color pigments, plasticizers, stabilizers,
and antioxidants that can all leach out of the plastic and into
of air exist, some of which are covered over with a thin flm of
64 PlumbingSystems&Design MARCH/APRIL 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
debris-collecting or microorganism-breeding sites, not to men-
tion the contribution of PVC particles and the potential release
of organic dispersants, stabilizers, etc., originally trapped in
these bubbles (holes).
Joints, either solvent welded or threaded, can leave crevices
for the accumulation of particles and bacteria. Solvents from the
weld can also leach into the water.
Premium grades of PVC, which reportedly have fewer leach-
ables than standard PVC, are now being marketed.
CPVC is a special high-temperature PVC that has similar ero-
sion and leachable characteristics.
Polypropylene Polypropylene is a very inert, strong piping
material. However, in the manufacture of the pipe antioxidants
and other additives are used to control embrittlement. Tese
additives are potential sources of contaminants that can leach
into the water. However, a virgin material with no leachable
products is now available.
Polypropylene pipe shows good ability to withstand both cor-
rosive chemicals and high temperatures, up to 220F (104C).
Te natural toughness of the material minimizes damage to
pipe during installation and service.
Polypropylene is generally joined by the butt-fusion method,
resulting in smooth joints.
ABS Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic pipe has
been used in the primary stages of water-treatment systems
because of relatively low cost and ease of installation.
ABS has some of the same contamination leach problems as
PVC. In its manufacture, pigment dispersants, surfactants, sty-
rene, and other additives are used that can leach into water over
time. Hydrogen peroxide (used for system cleaning) will also
attack ABS plastic.
PVDF Tere are numerous types of high-molecular-weight
fuorocarbon pipes on the market, SYGEF, KYNAR, and HALAR,
to name a few. Polyvinylidene fuoride (PVDF) plastic can be
extruded without the use of additives that can leach out later.
Te diferent polymerization techniques used by each manu-
facturer can produce slightly diferent properties.
PVDF pipe is currently considered to be the state of the art
in pure-water piping systems. It has exceptional chemical resis-
tance; temperature range, 40 to 320F (40 to 160C); impact
strength; resistance to UV degradation; abrasion resistance; and
smooth, clean, inside surfaces that discourage the collection of
bacteria and particles. Most laboratory test reports show virtu-
ally zero leachables from PVDF piping systems.
PVDF pipe is joined by the butt-fusion method, resulting in
clean, smooth joints.
When system pressures exceed 70 psig (482.6 kPa) or tem-
peratures exceed 75F (24C), plastic piping system manufac-
turers should be consulted for compatibility. Polypropylene
or PVDF-lined metal piping systems may be incorporated to
meet pressures up to 150 psig (1034.2 kPa).
MARCH/APRIL 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design 65
1. High-siIicon cast iron pipe is _________ than standard
weight cast iron pipe.
a. lighter
b. heavier
c. more costly
d. less costly
2. Fixture-unit vaIues for unique xtures found in
heaIth-care faciIities can be _________.
a. estimated
b. assigned by the authority having jurisdiction
c. higher then anticipated
d. found in Table 2-2
3. 7he theoreticaI maximum specic resistance of pure
water is _________ ohm-centimeter units at 77
a. 12.6
b. 16.8
c. 18.3
d. 20.2
4. Hand washing Iavatories are not required in _______.
a. family waiting rooms
b. janitors closets
c. outpatient services areas
d. nurses stations
5. A review of appIicabIe code requirements is ________.
a. always required
b. is under the jurisdiction of the Joint Commission of
the Accreditation of Hospital Organization (JCAHO)
c. restricted to local codes only
d. is not necessary for the experienced plumbing
6. When referring to acid waste, the Iower the pH
number, the _________ the concentration of acid.
a. lower
b. higher
c. more neutral
d. none of the above
7. It is common for architects to Iocate the piping shafts
and the spaces in direct conict with the structuraI
framing because _________.
a. they do not know any better
b. it serves their purpose
c. the plumbing designer has not given the architect
direction regarding space requirements
d. none of the above
8. What type of vent system is used on Iaboratory sinks
that are Iocated in the center of Iaboratory areas!
a. end vent
b. stack vents
c. loop vents
d. crown vents
9. What is the size, in Iiters, of an acid waste
neutraIization tank that serves 75 Iaboratory sinks!
a. 1,020.9
b. 1,040.9
c. 1,050.9
d. 1,060.9
10. 7his chapter discusses _________.
a. the requirements of health care facilities
b. the provisions that may be encountered by the
plumbing professional in the design of a health care
c. nursing homes, medical schools, and medical
d. energy codes as they apply to medical facilities
11. X-ray areas require _________.
a. tempered water
b. corrosion-resistant piping and drains
c. silver recovery
d. a and b
12. Which of the foIIowing piping materiaIs is not
commonIy used for the distribution of pure water!
a. aluminum
c. copper
Is it hard for you to attend technical seminars? Trough Plumbing
required for maintaining your Certifed in Plumbing Design (CPD)
from its own publications. Each article is followed by a multiple-
to ASPE for CEU credit. For most people, this process will require
ASPE members and $35 for nonmembers (until further notice, the
member fee is waived). If you earn a grade of 90% or higher on the
applied toward the CPD renewal requirement or numerous regula-
No certifcates will be issued in addition to the notifcation letter.
You can apply for CEU credit on any technical article that has
appeared in PS&D within the past 12 months. However, CEU credit
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only
the material presented in the continuing education article. Using
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsPlumbing Design for Health Care Facilities (PSD 132)
66 PlumbingSystems&Design MARCH/APRIL 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Pools and
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
sure, add charm to garden areas, and provide a retreat area in
which to rest and relax. Fountains generate sound and provide
a cooling efect on hot summer days. Fountains may be self-
contained units or pre-engineered kits or they may be custom
pumps, valves, lights, and other hardware, are shipped assem-
fountain into normal operation. No permanent connections to
complete with equipment, need only assembly and hook-up to
all involved in the creation of display fountains and refecting
pools. Te architects are concerned with the overall aesthet-
ics, whereas the engineers must be familiar with the available
fountain equipment and the technical details of each compo-
nent if they are to design systems that will achieve the desired
fountains providing small or large water displays with almost
included are the technical details of pool design; mechanical
or a rendering. It is also usually the last item to be coordinated.
in its entirety, including the water efect and its infuence on the
to get space for the equipment, coordinate with the other disci-
A number of general items of information should be kept in
For an engineer or designer, the most important issue sur-
rounding any body of water is safety. Tere is always a risk
attached to a water feature. It is not the intent of this chapter
but the engineer is encouraged to study the available codes
and standards regarding swimming pools and spas and apply
From a mechanical, operating perspective, the most impor-
If at all possible, locate the pumps so that the operating water
dark color tends to cause an increase in water temperature by
against light colors, mixed colors, or lace-type backgrounds. A
Te construction of pools at or below grade level creates a
potential problem with leaves and other debris blowing into
fountains may be installed above or below grade. Above-grade
Water will splash horizontally approximately one half the
height of the water display except where wind is a problem.
Since wind can push water long distances, it is important to
locations when this is desirable. When the noise is too loud,
Multilevel and multiple pools involve special considerations,
which, if taken into account, do not present any difculty. If
Te amount of fow over a waterfall is determined by the
height of the water fowing over the weir. Tis height over the
Reflecting Pools and Fountains
Reprinted from American Society of Plumbing Engineers Data Book Volume 3: Special Plumbing Systems, Chapter 5: Refecting Pools and
Fountains. 2000, American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
PlumbingSystems&Design MAY/JUNE 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
to accommodate this extra water. For the water in the air, the
Multilevel pools should have some method of draining the
upper pools. A small drain line with a screw plug at the upper
be waterfalls at several diferent elevations with basins at sev-
pit provides a common reference for the pumps and allows
each basin to drain independently of the others. Te surge pit
method is also much easier to balance than the method with
For multiple pools at the same elevation, an equalizer line
should be run between the pools. No matter how accurate the
ing fow rates. Te equalizer line should not tie into any other
Spray jets and nozzlesTefowratesforsprayjetsandnozzles
facturers publish catalogs showing the various types of jet in
Weirs Weirs are normally sized by the length of the weir and
may have to assist the client in determining the efect desired.
actually measure the depth over a weir. If the client desires an
unbroken sheet of water over the weir into the pool, a rule of
Te four most common types of weir are the rounded edge;
downward-tapered, metal-edge weir. Te rounded-edge weir
is used when it is desired to have the water run down the wall
Te waterfall or weir is normally supplied from a trough
behind the weir edge. Te trough can be supplied with water
by many methods as long as the surface disturbance is kept to
the length of the header to supply
water equally along the length of
precut with slots along the length
of the pipe, makes a very smooth
supply method. Oversized inlets
(to lower the water velocity) in the
bottom of the trough with diverter
fcult to achieve with poured con-
in the shape of an overhang, a drip
vided under the slot. Tis will pre-
vent the water from running down
Filtration turnover Te fltration
turnover rate is determined by the
plete water change. Te fltration turnover can vary from 4 to
12 h per complete water change. Tis needs to be determined
by the engineer. For areas with blowing dust and debris, a
Example 1
By convention, an inlet is defned as a device allowing water
Figure 1 Multilevel Pools with a Surge Pit
MAY/JUNE 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design
COnTInuInG EDuCaTIOn: reflecting Pools and fountains
Main drains Maindrainsareprovidedforpumpsuctionand
draining the pool. Main drains should be located at the lowest
point of the pool. Tere should be at least one main drain for
be sized at no greater than 1.5 fps through the grating. See the
of preventing entrapment: either they must be the anti-vortex
type or they must be
installed in pairs at
least 4 ft apart to pre-
vent suction entrap-
are not intended to be
occupied by humans,
people do acciden-
tally (and on purpose)
fall into them. Pair-
ing drains and using
anti-vortex drains
minimizes the risk of
suction entrapment and disembowelment. If paired drains are
Main drains are used to empty the pool for cleaning and to
Skimmers Skimmers are necessary in all pools to collect
windblown debris and dust. Even indoor pools can collect an
amazing amount of foating debris that must be cleaned out
is cast into the pool wall, a foating weir, and a strainer basket.
Te foating weir draws a thin layer of water into the skimmer.
maintain, are very visible. Since architects prefer to hide every
component possible, front-loading skimmers are preferred. In
Skimmers should be located so that there is 1 skimmer pro-
of 1 skimmer. Te skimmer system should be sized to accom-
modate the full fltration fow. A 2-in. (50.8-mm) skimmer can
accept about 30 gpm (113.56 L/min), but skimmers can be
ganged together to increase their capacity. A majority of the
Filtration return inlets Filtrationreturninletscomefromthe
have a minimum of 2 inlets, with a sizing criteria of 1 inlet per
600 ft
(0.093 m
) of basin. Inlets should be sited to direct fow
Mechanical space or vault Te pumping equipment can be
A foor drain is required near the equipment. Specify a foor
drain with a backwater valve if there is any possibility of water
backing up through the drain, especially in a vault. If a foor
is required. If the equipment is installed in a vault, a battery-
and a lockable, spring-loaded access hatch big enough for all
equipment to pass through. A heavy manhole cover is not
recommended because the maintenance personnel become
annoyed with lifting the cover and tend to forget their mainte-
nance duties. In some cases, a 3-ft deep vault with an access
1. Displaysystem.
2. Pipingsystem.
3. Water-treatmentsystem.
A. Mechanical-fltrationsystem.
B. Chemical-treatmentsystem.
4. Makeup-watersystem.
5. Overfowanddrainagesystem.
6. Lightingsystem.
7. Othermiscellaneoussystems.
Te refecting pool may or may not have a display system,
Each of these systems often overlaps or relies on another
Tere are two distinct display types: static and dynamic. Static
at all times. Examples include a waterfall weir and constant-
react to music or lights, and waterfalls and rivers that are part
Figure 2 Main Drains
PlumbingSystems&Design MAY/JUNE 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
of a simulated storm scenario. For either type of display, the
typical system consists of the following components: suction
outlets and suction piping, pump(s), return piping, and dis-
nozzles, weirs, whirlpools, and waves, should have a diferent
Two separate types of piping systems are defned for any foun-
tain. Tese are the display systems and the flter system. Te
piping for these systems can normally share suction outlets but
draws from the pool and pumps through the flter then back to
tion disinfects and balances the water to provide clean, spar-
kling clear, odor-free water that is pleasing to the eye and not
Te fountain must be equipped with an overfow system
to handle storm water and the possible malfunction of the
makeup-water system. In addition, mundane reasons, such as
pool heater should be provided. Te heater should be sized to
ous displays. Te number of lights depends on the overall size
Types of flter Tere are many types of flter on the market
today. Some of these are specialty flters for water treatment,
flters best ft the application. Mechanical fltration is required
to remove suspended particulates down to about 50 . In this
range, cartridge flters and high-rate, pressure sand flters are
Tere is a division in flter sizes that occurs around the 120
residential flters used on smaller pools and fountains. Many
manufacturers do not make a distinction regarding quality at
the diferent levels, but some do. Check with the distributors
is cleaning time. Whether the flter selected is a cartridge, sand,
or diatomaceous earth (DE), it will have to be cleaned at some
are not to be piped individually to each flter, a pump can be
shut down while a flter is serviced. Tis will prevent overrun-
Cartridge flters Cartridgefltersarelowerinfrstcostthan
flter consists of a body constructed of plastic or stainless steel
and require some space to be hosed down. Tis is a consider-
ation when the fountain is indoors and requires that the car-
Cartridges should be sized at 0.375 gpm/ft
maximum fow
High-rate, pressure sand flters A pressure sand flter con-
from the fow rate per square foot of sand bed. If the fow rate
is above about 10 gpm (37.85 L/min), the flter is classifed as
high rate. Tere are sand flters that are considered low or
slow rate, but they are seldom specifed today. Water enters
the flter at the top and is pumped down through the sand to
an underdrain manifold with slots narrow enough so that the
water will pass but the sand will not. Te water is piped to the
MAY/JUNE 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design
COnTInuInG EDuCaTIOn: reflecting Pools and fountains
bypass, or drain. Tey are limited to flters with 3-in. (80-mm)
As the flter accumulates debris, the diferential pressure
washing reverses the fow so that the pump now forces water
through the underdrain manifold with enough fow to lift the
and fows out the inlet pipe to a drain. A backwash sight glass
tions allow efuent to fow to the
storm sewer, others require it to
a sand-flter backwash. Although
the backwash only lasts 5 min at
maximum, an enormous amount
Backwash rates are generally 20
Sizing flters To size a flter,
frst determine the fltration rate
through the pool. Once this is
established, divide the fltration
rate by 0.375 for cartridge flters
or 12 to 15 for sand flters. Tis
area. For fltration rates over 120
gpm (454.25 L/min), dual flters
should be considered, with the
fow divided equally between
them. Filters should never be
sized at their maximum allowed
fow rate. Tis will cause higher
pressure drops through the flter
over the flter run and will sub-
stantially increase the energy
Display pumps Displaypumps
ing dry type, or the submers-
ible type. When it is necessary
to locate the pump above water
and may require additional water depth in the pool. Tis can
be accomplished by providing a pump pit in the water and
installing a fberglass grating over the pit. Te grate ofers pro-
the need for long runs of pump suction and discharge piping,
thereby saving on horsepower. Since there is less piping and
corresponding friction loss, the required pump head is lower.
power. Te National Electric Code does not allow submersible
Dry-type pumps are installed in a vault adjacent to the pool
below the pools operating water level. If this is not allowed, a
tion, close-coupled, centrifugal pump is used, but there are
Figure 3 Fountain Components
PlumbingSystems&Design MAY/JUNE 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
some projects where a horizontal, split-case, centrifugal pump
required pump head is low. In all cases, the pump selection
should be made using the manufacturers pump curves. Mul-
dancy, wind control, and opportunities for diferent displays
sure, high-fow nozzles; and waterfall discharges. Where there
Display pumps are sized according to the hydraulic calcu-
lations for friction loss and fow rate. Pumps can be cast iron,
with fresh water. Since vaults and mechanical spaces are fre-
ible connectors. Proper pump piping practices, as described
elsewhereintheData Book, shouldbefollowed.
To size the display pump the following steps should be fol-
1. Determinethestaticheadrequiredbetweenthelowest
2. Determinetheheadrequiredatthedischargepoint.Manu-
3. Calculatethefrictionlossinthepiping,fttings,andvalves.
4. Addtheresultstoobtaintherequiredpumphead.
5. Determinethetotalgpmasrequiredforthenozzles,using
6. Selectthepumpusingthemanufacturerspumpcurves.
Filter pumps Filterpumpsmaybeofthesametypeasthedis-
head loss include: skimmers and main drains (piped in paral-
lel so that the longest run must be determined), valves, basket
strainers, face piping (the piping connecting the pump to the
to be accounted for and added or subtracted. Generally, since
calculate the operating point on the pump curve with a clean
flter. Tere can be a substantial diference between these two
conditions in pump fow, and a variable fow-control device
Pump strainers and suction screens Asageneralrule,suction
debris as are flter pumps, which are connected to skimmers
Basket strainers on the pump suction protect the pump
from waterborne debris, which could get caught in the impel-
ler. Although display pumps can be protected somewhat from
debris large enough to damage the pump, flter pumps should
openings. Tey are installed on the discharge side of display
pumps to intercept waterborne debris before it jams inside an
and allow for rapid changes in the direction of piping close to
the pump. Te difuser slows the water down and straightens
it so that it enters the pump with less turbulence. Suction dif-
Most piping for fountains is made of Schedule 40 PVC plastic.
Easyhandling,light weight, andlow frictionlosses make it the
piping of choice in most fountains. Although PVC seems to be
become brittle, unless it is specifcally made to withstand the
efects of ultraviolet rays. Pump suction and discharge piping
installed underground or within a building can be PVC where
allowed by the local authorities. Be aware that smooth holes
have been found in plastic piping installed underground. Te
University of Illinois and the University of Florida both deter-
mined that the holes were caused by termites. Tey do not eat
the PVC; they chew through it when it gets in the way of their
pipe sizes are required and PVC cannot be used. Carbon-steel
tion. Specifcally, piping needs to be bedded in sand or clean,
rock-free backfll. All changes of direction in piping 3 in. (76.2
blocks. Starts and stops in fountain systems can cause severe
All piping penetrations into the pool wall should be water
fange attached to the pipe itself. For penetrating walls into
mechanical rooms, a mechanical pipe seal can be used. (See
Unions or fanges should be used at the fnal connection to
all equipment so that the equipment can be easily removed for
MAY/JUNE 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design
COnTInuInG EDuCaTIOn: reflecting Pools and fountains
be either PVC or cast iron, as required by local code. Water
makeup and fll lines should be copper tubing. Diferent metal
pipes carrying water or installed underground must not come
All piping systems should be pressure tested immediately
is ready to be connected to the inlet and outlet devices and
the construction. Te test pressure should be limited to 50 psi
(344.74 kPa), since the fountain piping systems are operated
at relatively low pressures. If the system requires higher pres-
sure, the pressure test should be made at a pressure that is 25
Prior to connecting the devices and equipment, piping sys-
tems should be fushed and cleaned. Caps should be left on
Suction-line piping Size the suction line at a velocity not to
piping. Provide a suction inlet designed so that the drain will
not trap a person in the pool. Tis is accomplished by having
dual drains spaced at least 4 ft apart or dual drains located in
diferent planes (such as a bottom drain and a sidewall drain)
or by using anti-vortex drains. Some means of preventing vor-
texing should be used to prevent cavitation of the pumps. If a
a suction drain, size the drain for of the manufacturers rec-
Suction-line piping should be installed without vertical loops,
tion piping pass a 25 psi (172.37 kPa) pressure test because a
Return piping Return piping should be sized at 6 fps maxi-
Return piping, especially piping close to the discharge of the
multiple inlets (nozzles, etc.) must be hydraulically balanced.
and should be adjusted to direct fow to the main drain and
Hydraulic balancing Suction and return headers should be
hydraulically balanced as closely as possible to ensure even
fow throughout the fountain. (See Figure 5.) For applications
where the fountain can be encircled by a header, this provides
an excellent balancing tool. Nozzle patterns and return inlet
Equation 1
2.45 =Conversionfactorusedtoexpressthedischargeingal/
Figure 4 Wall Penetrations
Figure 5 Hydraulic Balancing
PlumbingSystems&Design MAY/JUNE 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C =Orifcedischargecoefcient(usually=0.61forholes
D =Diameteroforifce,in.(mm)
g =Accelerationduetogravity,32.2ft/s
Equation 2
k =Constant
Equation 3
and the last orifce in a distribution pipe with multiple, evenly
Equation 4
Te head loss through the pipe can be computed using the
Equation 5
puted value of m is too low (<0.98),
the size of the distribution pipe can
be increased. Te percent diference
in fow between 1 and n will be [(1
Shutof valves Most valves for
fountains are of a type that allows
smaller pipe and butterfy valves for the larger pipe. Lug-type,
served by lug valves at the equipment connections so that the
Check valves Tere are several types of check valve, but
swing-check, valve must be installed in a prescribed manner.
help provide a positive closure. Where a check valve must be
A foot valve is a special type of check valve that is installed in
the suction line from draining back into the pool and causing
Pressure-regulating valves Dynamicfountainsaredesigned
a selected downstream pressure regardless of the changes in
Actuator-control valves In addition, actuator-controlled,
motorized, or pneumatic valves can be controlled using a 4 to
20-milliamp (mA) electrical signal. Te valve can be set to be
fully closed at 4 mA and fully open at 20 mA. At any point in
valve will be slightly open and at 15 mA it will be almost fully
open. A computer can be programmed to provide signals to
Materials Asamplescheduleofpipingmaterialsisshownin
disturbance to the desired water efect or creates the desired
Weir pools Commonmethodsofreturnintoupperweirpools
Spray jets Numerous types of nozzle are manufactured. Te
designer should select the type of that will provide the desired
table 1 Sample Schedule of Materials
Size, in.
(mm) Pipe Material Fittings Joints
Static display piping Either Either 24
Sch. 40 PVC Socket Solvent weld
Dynamic display piping Either Either 16
Sch. 80 PVC Socket Solvent weld
Filtration piping Either Either 24
Sch. 40 PVC Socket Solvent weld
Makeup water Either Either 4
Type L copper Wrot copper Solder
Makeup water Either Either 6+ (150+) Type 302
stainless steel
Type 302
stainless steel
MAY/JUNE 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design
COnTInuInG EDuCaTIOn: reflecting Pools and fountains
in the manufacturers catalogs. Nozzles are available to pro-
vide solid or aerated columns of water, pyramid-like columns
of water, aerated mounds of water, mushroom shapes, foating
level dependent and water-level independent. Te water-level
jet will function. Tese jets are slightly less expensive than the
Remote control Display pumps and flter pumps should be
controlled from a point within view of the fountain. Tis can
be achieved with a remote, hard-wired control panel and key
trol several separate electrical loads by means of a hand-held
transmitter and a manual switching panel are available. Tese
tain in the event of a problem, such as someone jumping into
Pump starters Allpumpsshouldhavestarterswithoverload
installed within view of the pump. Te engineer should verify
that these items are provided for under the scope of electrical
Wind controls Windcontrolsreducetheheightofafountain
display or shut of the display pump. A time-delay relay keeps
the pump of for at least 3 min to avoid the problem of pump
cycling. Tree methods are used to reduce the height of the
1. Tewindcontrolopensorclosesasolenoidormotorized
2. Apressure-regulatingvalvecanbeinstalledinthedischarge
3. Ifthedisplaypumpsconsistoftwoormorepumpsinparal-
determine that the capacities and friction losses are adequate
to achieve the desired efect. A two-stage wind control is often
used, in which the frst stage reduces the height of the display
Time switches Various types of time switches are available,
from electric motor operator to electronic. Time switches can
cycle timers can be used to turn solenoid valves on and of at
Pressure and fow switches Pressure and fow switches are
used to shut pumps of in the event that the pressure or fow
Figure 6 Discharge Devices
0 PlumbingSystems&Design MAY/JUNE 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Some jurisdictions, such as the City of New York, require only
used in the jurisdiction. Most lights can be obtained with col-
ored lenses if desired. Rock guards are required. Maintain the
National Electrical Code(NEC)mustbefollowedwheninstall-
ing underwater lights, transformers, and submersible pumps.
Fountain lights should be installed directly under the water
display. Te number of lights and the wattage depend on the
overall size of the pool, the height and width of the water dis-
the light is fed through a compression seal that is connected
to the junction box. When the architect wants to conceal the
Niche lights that are installed in pool walls have conduit
directly connected to the niche and extended to a remotely
Lights are usually controlled by either astronomical time
not required to adjust the light timers for daylight savings time
In general, selecting colors for
the lights should be done with care
because of the subjective nature
with which each person views the
fountain. If blue, red, amber, and
If a fountain is to be kept in opera-
tion during the winter months and
it is possible for the water to freeze,
a pool water heater should be pro-
vided. Te pool heater can be a
steam heat exchanger, a hot-water
heat exchanger, an electric water
heater, or a gas-fred water heater.
Overall heat loss due to surface
evaporation, radiation, conduction,
and convection for concrete pools
where the water temperature is 35F
(1.67C) and the air temperature is
25 mph wind velocity
20 mph wind velocity
15 mph wind velocity
It is also necessary to include the heat loss from the piping.
Select a heater with an output equal to the Btu/h heat loss. In
water or steam. Te heater is controlled by a temperature con-
pool is below 35F (1.67C) and shut it of if the temperature is
above 37F (2.78C). A fow switch in the inlet to the heater will
A properly engineered water-treatment system will allow the
Certain water-treatment methods should be engineered into
1. Disinfectant residualmeasuredinpartspermillion(ppm).
2. Oxidation reduction potential (ORP)ameasureofthe
3. pHameasureoftheacidityorcausticityofthewater.
Figure 7 Piping Schematics
MAY/JUNE 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design 1
COnTInuInG EDuCaTIOn: reflecting Pools and fountains
4. Alkalinityameasureoftheresistanceofthewaterto
5. Total dissolved solidsameasureofthetotaldissolved
6. Calcium Saturation Index (CSI) or Langeliers Indexa
7. Cyanuric acid levelCyanuricacidisusedtopreventthe
1. Mechanical fltrationsandorcartridgeflters,which
2. Disinfection systemsincludingchlorineandbrominefeed-
3. pH control systemsgaseousCO
4. Oxidation reduction potential (ORP) monitorsprovidean
1. Water chemistryAlthoughsomechemistriescanbedone
2. Shock or hyperchlorinationusedtodestroychloramines
3. DechlorinationAftershocktreatments,thewaterisoften
4. pH adjustmentDiferentchlorinecompoundswilleither
equally important. Te Calcium Saturation Index or Langliers
walls, fttings, and equipment. If the CSI is above 0, the water
Disinfection in refecting pools is necessary to control algae
infection are chlorine, bromine, and ozone. Chlorine can be
used indoors or out with equal success. If used outdoors, the
Chlorine comes in three forms: gaseous, liquid, and solid.
Gaseous chlorine is the most efcient method of delivery but
preferred method when dealing with multiple bodies of water
or a single body of water in excess of 75,000 gal (283 905 L). A
chemical proportioning pump and 50-gal (189.27-L) chlorine
solution tank is used to administer the disinfectant. Te injec-
lel with the flter and works on the diferential pressure across
Caution: Two types of dry chlorine, sodium hypochlorite
compounds are mixed together, a violent explosion can result.
Ozone is an excellent method of disinfection for water but
unoccupied area. In addition, ozone does not leave a residual
in the water. A small chlorine feeder should be added to pools
Te fountain should be provided with both a manual and
an automatic fll system piped in parallel (see Figure 8). Te
fountains and as large as 4 in. (100 mm) for large fountains. A
good rule is to determine the makeup-water rate for cooling
towers in the area. Te information should be in gpm (L/min)
ity should have information regarding evaporation rates from
piping to foat valves. Tey are also required on solenoid-oper-
Multilevel pools require that a water-level sensor (not a foat
valve) be located in the lowest pool and the makeup inlet
be located in the highest pool. Low-water cutof sensors are
have individual low-water cutofs, then every pool level must
Figure 8 Makeup-Water Devices
PlumbingSystems&Design MAY/JUNE 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Makeup-Water Devices
Stilling wells or chambers Stillingwellsorchambersarean
the pool. Te advantage to the stilling well is that it remains
relatively calm inside the well and does not refect the surface
Mechanical methods Mechanical water makeup is the
In this method, a foat valve installed in the wall of the pool
at least 5 in. above the water level for the foat box to ft in the
by a pipe and rooted to a remote location. Tere should be no
Another method, commonly used on large pools, uses a pilot-
operated makeup valve. With this method, a small foat valve is
method is that a small stilling chamber can be located near the
pool while the larger valve can be located near the pumps in the
Electrical method Where the above methods cannot be
manual fll valve is ordinarily installed in a bypass around the
the front. (See Figure 9.) Tey can also be located in the top of
brass pipe that has an air vent and a horizontal leg extending
it enters the pool. Te sensor will generate a small amount of
as it provides the electrical ground path. Electrical wiring has
which can be damaged by operation without adequate water
Overfow drains Overfow drains are required for two rea-
valve malfunctions and to provide a means to remove storm
be 2 in. If the makeup-water line is larger than 1 in., increase
Te preferred location for an overfow drain is in the pool
wall, because it is less obtrusive there. Tere are times though
fow drain. In such cases, a removable overfow standpipe can
be provided. A dome or screen should be placed on top of the
the standpipe is removed. Overfow standpipes are subject to
vandalism and should be located so that they are not easily
accessible to the public. Another method is to install an over-
Emergency drains Emergency drains are needed to drain
solenoid valve if the temperature drops too low. Te solenoid
and fully opens at 34F (1.11C). In the above cases, electrical
sensors, as described above under Makeup-Water Devices,
the emergency drain valve is open. It may also be advisable to
have an alarm ring to indicate that the emergency drain valve
1. AmericanNationalStandardsInstitute/NationalSpaand
PoolInstitute.1991.Standard for public swimming pools,
2. Kowalsky,L.1990. Pool/spa operators handbook.SanAnto-
3. Tchobanoglous,George,andFranklinL.Burton.1991.
Wastewater engineering: Treatment, disposal, and reuse.3d
Figure 9 Electronic Makeup-Water Device
MAY/JUNE 2006 PlumbingSystems&Design
1. The fltration turnover rate in a refecting pool or
fountain is determined by _______.
a. the local code
b. the architect
c. the engineer
d. the color of the water desired
. Surge collars are used to minimize _______ in circular
a. discoloration
b. plant growth
c. evaporation
d. waves
. The water treatment system should maintain _______.
a. sparkling clean water
b. odor-free water
c. an algae-free pool
d. all of the above
. When a fountain is to be operated in freezing
conditions, the water should be heated to maintain
_______ degrees fahrenheit minimum.
a. 10
b. 35
c. 40
d. all of the above
. The university of Illinois and the university of florida
have determined that the smooth holes found in
underground PVC pipe are caused by _______.
a. exposure to ultraviolet rays
b. exposure to sunlight
c. termites
d. high velocity
. The headers indicated in fig. may have their orifces
balanced using _______.
a. equations 1 through 5
b. the average percentage indicated
c. good engineering practice
d. looped piping around the fountain
. all pumps serving the pool and/or fountain should be
located to ensure _______.
a. they are higher than the pool or fountain for
maintenance purposes
b. they are lower than the pool or fountain to maintain
a fooded suction line
c. that they can be viewed by the public
d. none of the above
. The most common types of weirs are _______.
a. metal edge
b. upward tapered
c. rounded edge
d. all of the above
. Oxidation reduction potential (OrP) is _______.
a. controlled by the pH
b. a measure of the total dissolved solids in water
c. controlled by the operator
d. a measure of the cleanliness of the water
10. refecting pools and fountains provide _______.
a. a place to grow water plants
b. a retreat area in which to rest and relax
c. a place to fsh
d. a place for frogs to play
11. hydraulic balancing of the suction and return
headers is required _______.
a. to ensure even fow throughout the fountain
b. by local codes
c. to keep sound levels low
d. all of the above
1. When using a sand flter, what fow rate and above, in
gallons per minute, will classify it as a high-rate flter?
a. gpm
b. 4 gpm
c. 8 gpm
d. 10 gpm
Is it hard for you to attend technical seminars? Trough Plumbing
required for maintaining your Certifed in Plumbing Design (CPD)
from its own publications. Each article is followed by a multiple-
to ASPE for CEU credit. For most people, this process will require
ASPE members and $35 for nonmembers (until further notice, the
member fee is waived). If you earn a grade of 90% or higher on the
applied toward the CPD renewal requirement or numerous regula-
No certifcates will be issued in addition to the notifcation letter.
You can apply for CEU credit on any technical article that has
appeared in PS&D within the past 12 months. However, CEU credit
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only
the material presented in the continuing education article. Using
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsReflecting Pools and Fountains (PSD 133)
PlumbingSystems&Design MAY/JUNE 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
A threat to personnel safety often present in pharmaceutical
facilities is accidental exposure and possible contact with toxic
gases, liquids, and solids. Tis chapter describes water-based
emergency drench equipment and systems commonly used as
a frst-aid measure to mitigate the efects of such an accident,
Also described are the breathing-air systems that supply air to
personnel for escape and protection when they are exposed to
either a toxic environment resulting from an accident or normal
working conditions that make breathing the ambient air haz-
EmErgEncy drEnch-EquIpmEnt SyStEmS
When toxic or corrosive chemicals come in contact with the
eyes, face, and body, fushing with water for 15 min with the
clothing removed is the most recommended frst-aid action that
can be taken by nonmedical personnel prior to medical treat-
ment. Emergency drench equipment is intended to provide a
sufcient volume of water to efectively reach any area of the
body exposed to or has come into direct contact with any inju-
rious material. Within facilities, specially designed emergency
drench equipment, such as showers, drench hoses, and eye and
face washes, are located adjacent to all such hazards. Although
the need to protect personnel is the same for any facility, specifc
requirements difer widely because of architectural, aesthetic,
location, and space constraints necessary for various industrial
and laboratory installations.
SyStEm claSSIfIcatIonS
Drench equipment is classifed into two general types of system
based on the source of water. Tese are plumbed systems, which
are connected to a permanent water supply, and self-contained
or portable equipment, which contains its own water supply.
Self-contained systems can be either gravity feed or pressur-
One type of self-contained eyewash unit is available that does
not meet code requirements for storage or delivery fow rate.
Tis is called the personnel eyewash station and is selected only
to supplement, not replace, a standard eyewash unit. It consists
of a solution-flled bottle(s) in a small cabinet. Tis cabinet is
small enough to be installed immediately adjacent to a high
hazard. If an accident occurs, the bottle containing the solu-
tion is removed and used without delay to fush the eyes while
waiting for the arrival of trained personnel and during travel to
a code-approved eyewash or frst-aid station.
codES and StandardS
1. ANSI Z-358.1, Emergency Shower and Eyewash Equipment.
2. OSHA has various regulations for specifc industries per-
taining to the location and other criteria for emergency
eyewashes and showers.
3. Te Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) certifes that equip-
ment meets ANSI standards.
4. Applicable plumbing codes.
For the purposes of the discussion in this section on drench
equipment, the word code shall refer to ANSI Z-358.1.
typES of drEnch EquIpmEnt
Emergency drench equipment consists of showers, eyewash
units, face-wash units, and drench hoses, along with intercon-
necting piping and alarms if required. All of these units are
available either singly or in combination with each other. Ancil-
lary components include thermostatic mixing systems, freeze
protection systems and enclosures. Each piece of equipment
is designed to perform a specifc function. One piece is not
intended to be a substitute for another, but rather, to comple-
ment the others by providing additional availability of water to
specifc areas of the body as required.
Emergency Showers
Plumbed Showers Plumbed emergency showers are perma-
nently connected to the potable water piping and designed to
continuously supply enough water to drench the entire body.
A unit consists of a large-diameter shower head intended to
distribute water over a large area. Te most commonly used
type has a control valve with a handle extending down from the
valve on a chain or rod that is used to turn the water on and of
manually. Code requires the shower be capable of delivering a
minimum of 30 gpm (113.6 L/min) of evenly dispersed water at
a velocity low enough so as not to be injurious to the user. Where
this fow rate is not available, 20 gpm (75.7 L/min) is acceptable
if the shower-head manufacturer can show the same spray pat-
tern required for 30 gpm can be achieved at the lower fow rate.
Te minimum spray pattern shall have a diameter of 20 in. (58.8
cm), measured at 60 in. (152.4 cm) above the surface on which
the user stands. Tis requires a minimum pressure of approxi-
mately 30 psi (4.47 kPa). Emergency showers can be ceiling
mounted, wall mounted or foor mounted on a pipe stand, with
the center of the spray at least 16 in. (40.6 cm) from any obstruc-
tion. Showers should be chosen for the following reasons:
1. When large volumes of potentially dangerous materials are
2. Where a small volume of material could result in large
afected areas, such as in laboratories and schools.
A typical emergency shower head mounted in a hung ceiling
is illustrated in Figure 1.
Self-Contained Showers Self-contained emergency show-
ers have a storage tank for water. Often this water is heated. Te
shower shall be capable of delivering a minimum of 20 gpm
(75.5 L/min) for 15 min. Te requirements for mounting height
and spray pattern are the same as they are for plumbed show-
Life-Safety Systems
Reprinted from Pharmaceutical Facilities Plumbing Systems, Chapter 8: Life-Safety Systems, by Michael Frankel.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Emergency Eyewash
Plumbed Eyewash Emergency eyewashes are specifcally
designed to irrigate and fush both eyes simultaneously with
dual streams of water. Te unit consists of dual heads in the
shape of a U, each specifcally designed to deliver a narrow
stream of water, and a valve usually controlled by a large push
plate. Code requires the eyewash to be capable of delivering a
minimum of 0.4 gpm (1.5 L/min). Many eyewashes of recent
manufacture deliver approximately 3 gpm (11.4 L/min). Once
started, the fow must be continuous and designed to operate
without the use of the hands, which shall be free to hold open
the eyelids. Te fow of water must be soft to avoid additional
injury to sensitive tissue. To protect against airborne
contaminants, each dual stream head must be pro-
tected with a cover that is automatically discarded
when the unit is activated. Te head covers shall be
attached to the heads by a chain to keep them from
being lost. Te eyewash can be mounted on a coun-
ter or wall, or as a free stranding unit attached to the
foor. Te eyewash could be provided with a bowl. Te
bowl does not increase the efciency or usefulness of
the unit but aids in identifcation by personnel. It is
common practice to mount a swivel type eyewash on
a laboratory sink faucet, installed so it can be swung
out of the way during normal use of the sink but can
be swung over the sink bowl in order to be operated
in an emergency.
Te code recommends (but does not require) the
use of a bufered saline solution to wash the eyes. Tis
could be accomplished with a separate dispenser
flled with concentrate that will introduce the proper
solution into the water supply prior to reaching the
device head. A commonly used device is a wall-
mounted, 5 to 6-gal (20 to 24-L) capacity solution
tank connected to the water inlet dispenses a mea-
sured amount of solution when fow to the eyewash
is activated. A backfow device shall be installed on
the water supply.
Self-Contained Eyewash A typical self-con-
tained eyewash has a storage tank with a minimum
15-min water supply. Te mounting height and spray
pattern requirements are the same as those for a
plumbed eyewash.
Emergency Face Wash
Te face wash is an enhanced version of the eyewash.
It has the same design requirements and confgura-
tion, except the spray heads are specifcally designed
to deliver a larger water pattern and volume will fush
the whole face and not just the eyes. Te face wash
should deliver approximately 8 gpm (55 L/min). Te
stream confguration is illustrated in Figure 2. Very
often, the face wash is chosen for combination units.
In general, the face wash is more desirable than the
eyewash because it is very likely an accident will
afect more than just the eyes. All dimensions and
requirements of the free-standing face wash are
similar to those for the eyewash.
Drench Hoses
A drench hose is a single-head unit connected to a
water supply with a fexible hose. Te head is gener-
ally the same size as a single head found on an eye/
face wash. Code requires the drench hose be capable of deliver-
ing a minimum of 0.4 gpm (1.5 L/min). It is controlled either by a
squeeze handle near the head or a push-plate ball valve located
at the connection to the water source. It is used as a supplement
to showers and eye/face washes to irrigate specifc areas of the
body. Drench hoses are selected for the following reasons:
1. To spot drench a specifc area of the body when the large
volume of water delivered by a shower is not called for.
2. To allow irrigation of an unconscious person or a victim
who is unable to stand.
3. To irrigate under clothing prior to the clothings removal.
Figure 2 Combination Emergency Shower, Eye/Face Wash, and Drench Hose Unit
Figure 1 Typical Emergency Shower
JULY/AUGUST 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design
Combination Equipment
Combination equipment consists of multiple-use units with a
common water supply and supporting frame. Combinations are
available that consist of a shower, eye/face wash, and drench
hose in any confguration. Te reason for the use of combina-
tion equipment is usually economy, but the selection should
be made considering the type of irrigation appropriate for the
potential injuries at a specifc location. For combination units,
the water supply must be larger, capable of delivering the fow
rate of water required to satisfy two devices concurrently rather
than only a single device.
Te most often-used combination is the drench shower and
face wash. Figure 2 illustrates a combination shower, eye/face
wash and drench hose complete with mounting heights.
drEnch EquIpmEnt componEntS
Often referred to as activation devices, controls cause water to
fow at an individual device. Stay-open valves are required by
code in order to leave the hands free for the removal of clothing
or for holding eyelids open. Te valves most often used are ball
valves with handles modifed to provide for the attachment of
chains, rods, and push plates. In very limited situations, such
as in schools, valves that automatically close (quick-closing) are
permitted if they are acceptable to the facility and authorities
having jurisdiction.
Valves are operated by diferent means to suit the specifc
hazard, location, durability, and visibility requirements. Te
operators on valves are handles attached to pull rods, push
plates, foot-operated treadle plates and triangles. A solid pull
rod is often installed on concealed showers in order to push
the valve closed after operation. Another method is to have two
handles attached to chains that extend below the hung ceiling,
one to turn on the valve and another handle to turn it of. Chains
are used if the handle might be accidentally struck, they enable
the handle to move freely and not injure the individual who
might accidentally strike the hanging operator.
Operating handles for the physically challenged are mounted
lower than those for a standard unit. In many cases, this requires
that operating handles be placed near walls to keep them out
of trafc patterns where they would be an obstruction to able-
bodied people passing under them. A free-standing combination
shower and eyewash that is handicapped accessible using handles
hung from the ceiling is illustrated in Figure 3. Te handle must
be located close enough to the center of the shower to be easily
reached, which is about 2 ft 0 in. from the center of the shower.
Alarms are often installed to alert security or other rescue per-
sonnel that emergency drench equipment has been operated
and to guide them rapidly to the scene of the accident. Com-
monly used alarms are audible and visual devicessuch as
fashing or rotating lights on top of, or adjacent to, a shower
or eyewashand electronic alarms wired to a remote security
panel. Remote areas of a plant are particularly at risk if person-
nel often work alone. Alarms are most often operated by a fow
switch activated by the fow of water when a piece of equipment
is used.
When tempered water systems are used to supply drench
equipment, a low water temperature of 60F shall cause an
alarm annunciation.
Flow-Control Device
Where water pressure exceeds 80 psig (550 kPa) or if the difer-
ence in water pressure between the frst and last shower head
is more than 20 psig (140 kPa), it is recommended that a self-
adjusting fow-control device be installed in the water-supply
pipe. Its purpose is to limit the fow to just above the minimum
required by the specifc manufacturer for proper functioning
of equipment. Such devices are considered important because
a shower installed at the beginning of a long run has a much
greater fow than the device at the end. During operation, the
higher pressure could cause the fow rate to be as much as 50
gpm (L/min). If no foor drain is provided, the higher fow for
15 min at the higher pressure could produce a much greater
amount of water that must be cleaned up and disposed of after-
wards. Drench hoses and eye and face washes are not afected
because of their lower fow rates and their fow head designs.
Where pressure-reducing devices are required for an entire
system, they should be set to provide approximately 50 psig (345
SyStEm dESIgn
It is a requirement that a plumbed system be connected to a
potable water supply as the sole source of water. Tis system is
therefore subject to fling with a plumbing or other code of-
cial for approval and inspection of the completed facility, as are
standard plumbing systems.
An adequately sized pipe with sufcient pressure must be
provided from the water supply to meet system and device
operating-pressure requirements for satisfactory functioning.
One maintenance requirement is that the water in the piping
system be fushed to avoid bacterial growth.
It is common practice to add antibacterial and saline products
to a self-contained eyewash unit and an antibacterial additive to
an emergency shower. Water is also commonly used if it can be
changed every week. It is well established that no preservative
will inhibit bacterial growth for an extended period of time. Self-
contained equipment must be checked regularly to determine if
the quality of the stored water has deteriorated to a point where
it is not efective or safe to use.
If valves are placed in the piping network for maintenance
purposes, they should be made for unauthorized shut-of.
Figure 3 Clearance Dimensions Around Shower and Eye/Face Wash
Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Water-Supply Pressure and Flow Rates
Emergency showers require between 20 and 30 gpm (76 to 111
L/min), with 30 gpm recommended. Te minimum pressure
required is 30 psig (4.5 kPa) at the farthest unit, with a generally
accepted maximum pressure of 70 psi (485 kPa). Code mentions
a high pressure of 90 psig (612 kPa), which is generally consid-
ered to be excessive. Most plumbing codes do not permit water
pressures as high as 90 psig. Generally accepted practice limits
the high water pressure to between 70 and 80 psig (480 and 620
Most eyewash units require a minimum operating pressure
of 15 psig (105 kPa) with a fow rate minimum of 3 gpm (12 L/
min) at the farthest unit. Maximum pressure is similar to that
for showers. Face washes and drench hoses require a minimum
operating pressure of 15 psig (105 kPa) with a minimum fow
rate of 8 gpm (30 L/min) at the farthest unit.
System Selection
Plumbed System
Te advantages of a plumbed system include:
1. Permanent connection to a fresh supply of water, requiring
no maintenance and only minimum testing of the devices
to ensure proper operation.
2. It provides an unlimited supply of water often at larger vol-
umes than self-contained units.
Disadvantages include:
1. Higher frst cost than a self-contained system.
2. Maintenance is intensive. Such systems require weekly
fushing, often into a bucket, to remove stagnant water in
the piping system and replace it with fresh water.
Self-Contained System
Advantages of the self-contained system include:
1. Lower frst cost compared to a plumbed system.
2. Can be flled with a bufered, saline solution, which is rec-
ommended for washing eyes.
3. Available with a container to catch waste water.
4. Portable units can be moved to areas of greatest hazard
with little difculty.
5. A gravity eyewash is more reliable. Te water supply can be
installed where there is room above the unit. If not, a pres-
surized unit mounted remotely should be selected.
Disadvantages include:
1. Only a limited supply of water at a lesser fow rate is avail-
2. Te stored liquid must be changed on a regular basis to
maintain purity.
Te plumbed system is the type of system selected most often
because of the unlimited water supply.
Pipe Sizing and Material
In order to supply the required fow rate to a shower, a mini-
mum pipe size of 1 in. (25 mm) is required by code, with 1 in.
(30 mm) recommended. If the device is a combination unit, a
1-in. size should be considered as minimum. An emergency
eye/face wash requires a minimum in. (13 mm) pipe size.
Except in rare cases where multiple units are intended to be
used at once, the piping system size should be based on only
one unit operating. Te entire piping system is usually a single
size pipe based on the requirements of the most remote fxture.
Appropriate pressure loss calculations should be made to ensure
the hydraulically most remote unit is supplied with adequate
pressure with the size selected. Adjust sizes accordingly to meet
friction loss requirements.
Te pipe material should be copper to minimize clogging the
heads of the units in time with the inevitable corrosion products
released by steel pipe. Plastic pipe (PVC) should be considered
where excessive heat and the use of closely located supports will
not permit the pipe to creep in time.
Emergency drench equipment shall be sized based on the
single highest fow rate, usually 30 gpm (115 L/min) for an
emergency shower. Piping is usually a 1-in. header of copper
pipe for the entire length of a plumbed system.
Flushing Water Disposal
Water from emergency drench equipment is mainly discharged
onto the foor. Individual eye/face washes mounted on sinks
discharge most of the water into the adjacent sink. Combination
units have an attached eye/face wash also discharge water on
the foor. Tere are diferent methods of disposing of the water
resulting from an emergency device depending on the facility.
Te basic consideration is whether to provide a foor drain adja-
cent to a device to route that water from the foor to a drainage
It is accepted practice not to provide a foor drain at an emer-
gency shower. Experience has shown in most cases, particularly
in schools and laboratories, it is easier to mop up water from the
foor in the rare instances emergency devices are used rather
than add the extra cost of a foor drain, piping and a trap primer.
Considerations include:
1. If the drain is not in an area where frequent cleaning is
done, the trap may dry out, allowing odors to be emitted.
2. Is there an available drainage line in the area of the device?
3. Can the chemical, even in a diluted state, be released into
the sanitary sewer system or must it be routed to a chemical
waste system for treatment?
4. Must purifcation equipment be specially purchased for
this purpose?
InStallatIon rEquIrEmEntS for drEnch EquIpmEnt
Te need to provide emergency drench equipment is deter-
mined by an analysis of the hazard by design professionals or
health or safety personnel and by the use of common sense in
conformance with OSHA, CFR, and other regulations for spe-
cifc occupations. Judgment is necessary in the selection and
location of equipment. Very often, facility owners have specifc
regulations for its need and location.
Dimensional Requirements
Te mounting height of all equipment, as illustrated in ANSI Z-
358.1, is shown in Figure 2. If the shower head is free-standing,
the generally accepted dimension for the mounting height is 7
ft 0 in. (2.17 m) above the foor. Generally accepted clearance
around showers and eye/face washes is illustrated in Figure 3. A
wheelchair-accessible, free-standing, combination unit is illus-
trated in Figure 4.
Equipment Location
Te location of the emergency drench equipment is crucial to
the immediate and successful frst-aid treatment of an accident
victim. It should be located as close to the potential hazard as is
practical without being afected by the hazard itself or potential
accidental conditions, such as a large release or spray of chemi-
JULY/AUGUST 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design
cals resulting from an explosion or a pipe and tank rupture.
Another location problem is placement adjacent to electrical
equipment. Location on normal access and egress paths in the
work area will reinforce the location to personnel, who will see
it each time they pass.
Tere are no requirements in any code pertaining to the loca-
tion of any drench equipment in terms of specifc, defnitive
dimensions. ANSI code Z-358.1 requires emergency showers be
located a maximum distance of either 10 seconds travel time by
an individual or no more than 75 ft (22.5 m) from the potential
protected hazard, whichever is shorter. If strong acid or caus-
tic is used, the equipment should be located within 10 ft (3 m)
of the potential source of the hazard. Te path to the unit from
the hazard shall be clear and unobstructed, so impaired sight or
panic will not prevent clear identifcation and access. Tere is
no regulation as to what distance could be covered by an indi-
vidual in 10 seconds. Tere are also no specifc provisions for
the physically challenged.
Since there are no specifc code requirements for locat-
ing drench equipment, good judgment is required. Accepted
practice is to have the equipment accessible from three sides.
Anything less generally creates a tunnel efect that makes it
more difcult for the victim to reach the equipment. It should be
located on the same level as the potential hazard when possible.
Traveling through rooms that may have locked doors to
reach equipment shall be avoided, except placing emer-
gency showers in a common corridor, such as outside
individual laboratory rooms, is accepted practice. Care
should be taken to avoid locating the shower in the path
of the swinging door to the protected room to prevent
personnel coming to the aid of the victims from knock-
ing them over.
Emergency eye/face washes should be located close
to the potential source of hazard. In laboratories,
accepted practice is to have 1 sink in a room ftted with
an eyewash on the counter adjacent to the sink. Te sink
cold-water supply provides water to the unit. Te eye-
wash could be designed to swing out of the way of the
sink if desired.
Visibility of Devices
High visibility must be considered in the selection of
any device. Te recognition methods usually selected
are high-visibility signs mounted at or on the device;
having the surrounding foors and walls painted a con-
trasting, bright color; and having the device in a bright,
well lit area on the plant foor to help a victim identify
the area and help in frst-aid activities.
Number of Stations
Te number of drench-equipment devices provided
in a facility is a function of the number of people in
rooms and areas with potential exposure to any par-
ticular hazard at any one time, based on a worst-case
scenario. It is rare for more than one combination unit
to be installed. It is important to consider if a group of
individuals has potential exposure to a specifc hazard,
more than one drench unit may be required. Consulting
with the end user and the safety ofcer will provide a
good basis for the selection of the type and number of
Generally, one shower can be provided between an
adjacent pair of laboratories, with emergency eye/face washes
located inside each individual laboratory. In open areas, it is
common practice to locate emergency equipment adjacent to
columns for support.
Water Temperature
Code now requires tempered water of approximately 85F be
supplied to equipment. A comfortable range of 60 to 95F (15
to 35C) is mentioned in the code. For most indoor applica-
tions, this temperature range is achieved because the interior
of a facility is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer to
approximately 70F (20 C). Since the water in the emergency
drench system is stagnant, it assumes the temperature of the
ambient air. A generally accepted temperature of between 80
and 85F (27 and 30C) has been established as a comfort zone
and is now the recommended water temperature.
Te body will attempt to generate body heat lost if the
drenching fuid is at a temperature below the comfort zone. Te
common efect is shivering and increased heart rate. In fact,
most individuals are uncomfortable taking a shower with water
at about 60F (15C). With the trauma induced by an accident,
the efect is escalated.
Another consideration is the potential chemical reaction
and/or acceleration of reaction with fushing water or water at
Figure 4 Wheelchair-Accessible Shower and Eyewash Equipment
Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
a particular temperature. Where the hazard is a solid, such as
radioactive particles, that can enter the body through the pores,
a cold-water shower shall be used in spite of its being uncom-
fortable. It is necessary to obtain the opinions of medical and
hygiene personnel where any doubt exists about the correct use
of water or water temperature in specifc facilities.
Where showers are installed outdoors, or indoors where heat-
ing is not provided, the water supplying the showers must be
tempered if the air temperature is low. Manufacturers ofer a
variety of tempering methods, including water-temperature
maintenance cable similar to that used for domestic hot-water
systems for this purpose and mixing valves with hot and cold-
water connections. In remote locations, complete self-contained
units are available with storage tanks holding and maintaining
heated water.
Protection Against Temperature Extremes
In areas where freezing is possible and water drench equipment
is connected to an above-ground, plumbed water supply, freeze
protection is required. Tis is most often accomplished by using
electric heating cable and providing insulation around the
entire water-supply pipe and the unit itself. It is recommended
the water temperature be maintained at 85F (20C).
For exterior showers located where freezing is possible, the
water supply shall be installed below the frost line and a freeze-
proof shower shall be installed. Tis type of shower has a method
of draining the water above the frost line when the water to the
drench equipment is turned of.
When a number of drench-equipment
devices are located where low temperature is
common, a circulating tempered-water supply
should be considered. Tis uses a water heater
and a circulating pump to supply the drench
equipment. Te heater shall be capable of gen-
erating water from 40 to 80F at a rate of 30 gpm
(or more if more than one shower could oper-
ate simultaneously).
In areas where the temperature may get too
high, it is accepted practice to insulate the
water-supply piping.
BrEathIng-aIr SyStEmS
Breathing-air systems supply air of a specifc
minimum purity to personnel for purposes
of escape and protection after exposure to
a toxic environment resulting from an acci-
dent or during normal work where conditions
make breathing the ambient air dangerous.
As defned by 30 CFR 10, a toxic environment
has air that may produce physical discomfort
immediately, chronic poisoning after repeated
exposure, or acute adverse physiological symp-
toms after prolonged exposure.
Tis section discusses the production, puri-
fcation, and distribution of a low-pressure
breathing air and individual breathing devices
used to provide personnel protection only
when used with supplied air systems. Low pres-
sure for breathing air refers to compressed air
pressures up to 250 psig (1725 kPa) delivered to
the respirator. Te most common operating range for systems is
between 90 and 110 psig (620 and 760 kPa).
Much of the equipment used in the generation, treatment,
and distribution of compressed air for breathing-air systems is
common to that for medical/surgical air discussed in the Com-
pressed-Gas Systems chapter.
codES and StandardS
1. OSHA: 29 CFR 1910.
2. CGA: commodity specifcations G-7 and G-7.1.
3. Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
4. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
5. Mine Safety and Health Act (MSHA).
6. NFPA: NFPA-99, Medical Compressed Air.
7. DOD (Department of Defense): Where applicable.
8. ANSI: Z-88.2, Standard for Respiratory Protection.
9. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
BrEathIng-aIr purIty
Air for breathing purposes supplied from a compressor or a
pressurized tank must comply, as a minimum, with quality
verifcation level grade D in CGA G-7.1 (ANSI Z-86.1). Table 1,
from ANSI/CGA G-7.1, lists the maximum contaminant levels
for various grades of air.
For grade D quality air, individual limits exist for condensed
hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Particu-
Table 1 Maximum Contaminant Levels for Various Grades of Air
(in ppm [mole / mole] unless shown otherwise)
Limiting Characteristics A K L D E G J M N
Percent O
predominantly N
atm /
19.5 -
atm /
19.5 -
atm /
19.5 -
atm /
19.5 -
atm /
20 -
atm /
19.5 -
atm /
19.5 -
atm /
19.5 -
atm /
19.5 -
Water, ppm (v / v)
200 50 1 3
Dew point, F
-33 -54 -104 -92
Oil (condensed) (mg / m

at NTP) 5
Carbon monoxid 10
10 5 1 1 10
Odor None
Carbon dioxide 1000
500 500 0.5 1 500
Total hydrocarbon
content (as methane) 25 25 15 0.5 1
Nitrogen dioxide Nitric
2.5 0.1
0.5 2.5
Sulfur dioxide 2.5 0.1 5
Halogenated Solvents 10 0.1
Acetylene 0.05
Nitrous oxide 0.1
Source: ANSI / CGA G-7.1.ANSI 2-86.1, Table 1.
Note: The 1973 edition of CGA G-7.1 listed nine quality verifcation levels of gaseous air, lettered A to J, and two quality verifcation levels
of liquid air, lettered A and B. Some of those letter designations were dropped from the 1989 edition, since they no longer represent major
volume usage by industry. Four new letter designations, K, L, M, and N, have been added to refect current specifcations. To get a listing of
quality verifcation levels dropped, see CGA-7-1-1973 or contact the Compressed Gas Association.
a The term atmospheric (atm) denotes the oxygen content normally present in atmospheric air; the numerical values denote the oxygen
limits for synthesized air.
b The water content of compressed air required for any particular quality verifcation level may vary with the intended use from saturated
to very dry. For breathing air used in conjunction with a self-contained breathing apparatus in extreme cold where moisture can
condense and freeze, causing the breathing apparatus to malfunction, a dew point not to exceen -50F (63 ppm v / v), or 10 lower
than the coldest temperature expected in the area, is required. If a specifc water limit is required, it should be specifed as a limiting
concentration in ppm (v / v) or dew point. Dew point is expressed in F at 1 atmosphere pressure absolute, 101 kPa abs. (760 mm Hg).
c Not required for synthesized air whose oxygen and nitrogen components are produced by air liquefaction.
d Includes water.
e Not required for synthesized air when the nitrogen component was previously analyzed and meets National Formulary (NF) specifcation.
f Not required for synthesized air when the oxygen component was produced by air liquefaction and meets United States Pharmacopeia
(USP) specifcation.
JULY/AUGUST 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design
lates and water vapor, whose allowable quantities have not been
established, must also be controlled because of the efects they
may have on diferent devices of the purifcation system, on the
piping system, and on the end user of the equipment.
Condensed Hydrocarbons Oil is a major contaminant in
breathing air. It causes breathing discomfort, nausea, and, in
extreme cases, pneumonia. It can also create an unpleasant
taste and odor and interfere with an individuals desire to work.
In addition, the oxidation of oil in overheated compressors can
produce carbon monoxide. A limit of 5 ppm has been estab-
Some types of reciprocating and rotary-screw compressors
put oil into the airstream as a result of their operating character-
istics. Accepted practice is to use only oil-free air compressors
in order to eliminate the possibility of introducing oil into the
Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide is the most toxic of
the common contaminants. It enters the breathing-air system
through the compressor intake or is produced by the oxidation
of heated oil in the compressor. Carbon monoxide easily com-
bines with the hemoglobin in red blood cells, replacing oxygen.
Te lack of oxygen causes dizziness, loss of motor control, and
loss of consciousness. A limit of 10 ppm in the airstream has
been established based on NIOSH standards.
Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide is not considered one of
the more dangerous contaminants. Although the lungs have
a concentration of approximately 50,000 ppm, a limit of 1,000
ppm has been established for the breathing airstream.
Water and Water Vapor Water vapor enters the piping
system through the air compressor intake. Since no upper or
lower limits have been established by code, the allowable con-
centration is governed by specifc operating requirements of
the most demanding device in the system, which is usually the
CO converter, or the requirement of being 10F lower than the
lowest possible temperature the piping may experience.
After compression, water vapor is detrimental to the media
used to remove CO. Te dew point of the airstream must be
greatly lowered at this point in order to provide the highest ef-
ciency possible for this device. Water vapor is removed to such a
low level that breathing air with this level of humidity will prove
uncomfortable to users.
After purifcation, too much humidity will fog the faceplate of
a full face mask. It will also cause freeze-up in the pipeline if the
moisture content of the airstream in the pipe has a dew point
that is higher than the ambient temperature of the area where
the compressed-air line is installed.
Solid Particles Solid particles known as particulates can
enter the system through the intake. Tey are released from
non-lubricated compressors as a result of friction from carbon
and Tefon material used in place of lube oils. No limits on par-
ticulates have been established by code.
Odor Tere is no standard for odor measurement. A gener-
ally accepted requirement is that there be no detectable odor in
the breathing air delivered to the user. Tis requirement is sub-
jective and will vary with individual users.
typES of SyStEm
Tere are three basic types of breathing-air system: constant
fow, demand fow, and pressure demand.
Constant-Flow System
Also known as a continuous-fow system, the constant-fow
system provides a continuous fow of purifed air through per-
sonnel respirators to minimize the leakage of contaminants into
the respirator and to ventilate the respirator with cool or warm
air depending on conditions.
Tis system could be used in a wide variety of areas, ranging
from least harmful to most toxic, depending on the type of res-
pirator selected.
Demand-Flow System
Te demand-fow system delivers purifed air to personnel res-
pirators only as the individual inhales. Upon exhalation, the
fow of air is shut of until the next breath. Demand-fow systems
automatically adjust to an individuals breathing rate.
Tis system requires tight-ftting respirators. Its application
is generally limited to less harmful areas because the negative
pressure in the respirator during inhalation may permit leakage
of external contaminants. Tis system is designed for economy
of air use during relatively short-duration tasks and is usually
supplied from cylinders.
Pressure-Demand System
A pressure-demand system delivers purifed air continuously
through personnel respirators with increased air fow during
inhalation. By continuously providing a fow of air above atmo-
spheric pressure, leakage of external contaminants is mini-
Tis system also uses tight-ftting respirators, but the positive
pressure aspect allows them to be used in more toxic applica-
SyStEm componEntS
Te breathing-air system consists of a compressed-air source,
purifcation devices and flters to remove unwanted contami-
nants from the source airstream, humidifers to introduce water
vapor into the breathing air, the piping distribution network,
respirator outlet manifolds, respirator hose, and the individual
respirators used by personnel. Alarms are needed to monitor the
quantity of contaminants and other parameters of the system as
a whole and to notify personnel if necessary.
Compressed-Air Source
Te source of air for the breathing-air system is an air compres-
sor and/or high-pressure air stored in cylinders. Cylinders use
ambient air, which is purifed to reduce or eliminate impurities
to the required level, and compress it to the desired pressure. A
typical schematic detail is shown in Figure 5.
Air Compressor Te standard for air compressors used to
supply breathing air shall comply with the requirement for oil-
free medical gas discussed in the Compressed-Gas Systems
chapter. Medical-gas type compressors are used because these
systems as a whole generate far fewer contaminants than other
types of system. When a liquid-ring compressor is used, it has
the advantage of keeping the temperature of the air leaving the
unit low. It is also possible to use any type of compressor for this
service, provided the purifcation system is capable of produc-
ing air meeting all the requirements of code.
Te air-compressor assembly consists of the intake assem-
bly (including the inlet flter), the compressor and receiver, the
aftercooler, and the interconnecting water-seal supply and the
other ancillary piping. All of these components are discussed in
the Specialty Gases for Laboratories section.
Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Air compressors have a high frst cost and are selected if the
use of air for breathing is constant and continuous, making the
use of cylinders either too costly or too maintenance intensive
because of the frequent changing of cylinders.
Storage Cylinder When high-pressure cylinders are used
either as a source or as an emergency supply of breathing air,
they shall be flled with air conforming to breathing-air stan-
dards. Te regulator should be set to about 50 psi (340 kPa)
depending on the pressure required to meet system demands
and losses.
Te cylinders have a low initial cost and are not practical to
use if there is continuous demand. Cylinders are best suited to
intermittent use for short periods of time or as an emergency
escape backup for a compressor.
Some components of the purifcation system require a specifc
temperature in order to function properly. Depending on the
type of compressor selected and the type of purifcation nec-
essary, the temperature of the air leaving the compressor may
have to be reduced. Tis is done with an aftercooler.
Aftercoolers can be supplied with cooling water or use air
as the cooling medium. Water, if recirculated, is the preferred
method. Te manufacturer of both the compressor and purif-
cation system should be consulted as to the criteria used and
the recommended size of the unit.
Purifcation Devices
Te contaminants that are problematic for breathing-air systems
must be removed. Tis can be done with separate devices used
to remove individual contaminants or with a prepiped assem-
bly of all the necessary purifcation devices, commonly referred
to as a purifcation system, which requires only an inlet and
outlet air connection. For breathing-air systems it is commonly
done with a purifcation system.
Te individual purifcation methods used to remove specifc
contaminants are the same as those discussed in the Com-
pressed-Gas Systems chapter. For breathing air, oil and par-
ticulates are removed by coalescing and other flters, water is
removed by desiccant or refrigerated dryers, and carbon mon-
oxide is removed by chemical conversion to carbon dioxide
using a catalytic converter.
Carbon Monoxide Converter Te purpose of the converter
is to oxidize carbon monoxide and convert it into carbon diox-
ide, which is tolerable in much greater quantities. Tis is typi-
cally accomplished by the use of a catalyst usually consisting
of manganese dioxide, copper oxide, cobalt, and silver oxide in
various combinations and placed inside a single cartridge. Te
material is not consumed but does become contaminated. Te
conversion rate greatly decreases if any oil or moisture is present
in the airstream. Terefore, moisture must be removed before
air enters the converter. Catalyst replacement is recommended
generally once a year since it is not possible to completely con-
trol all contaminants that contribute to decreased conversion.
Moisture Separator Water and water vapor are removed
by two methods, desiccant and refrigerated dryers. Te most
common desiccant drying medium is activated alumina. For a
discussion of air-drying methods, refer to the Compressed-Gas
Systems systems.
Odor Remover Activated, granular charcoal in cartridges is
used for the removal of odors.
Particulates Remover Particulates are removed by means
of in-line flters. Generally accepted practice eliminates particu-
lates 1 and larger from the piping system .
Figure 5 System with Standby High-Pressure Breathing Air Reserve



JULY/AUGUST 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design
When water is removed from the compressed airstream prior
to catalytic conversion, the dryer produces very dry air. If the
breathing-air system is intended to be used for long periods
of time, very low humidity will dry the mucous membranes of
the eyes and mouth. Terefore, moisture must be added to the
airstream to maintain recommended levels. Humidifers, often
called moisturizers, are devices that inject the proper level of
water vapor into an airstream. Some require a water connec-
A recommended level of moisture is 50% relative humidity
in the compressed airstream. Care must be taken not to route
the air-distribution piping through areas capable of having tem-
peratures low enough to cause condensation. If the routing is
impossible to change, a worker will have shorter periods of time
on the respirator.
Combination Respirator Manifold and Pressure Reducer
Tis is a single component with multiple quick-disconnect out-
lets providing a convenient place both to reduce the pressure of
the distribution network and to serve as a connection point for
several hoses. A pressure gauge should be installed on the man-
ifold to ensure the outlet pressure is within the limits required
by the respirator.
Respirator Hose
Te respirator hose is fexible and is used to connect the res-
pirator worn by an individual to the central-distribution piping
system. Code allows a maximum hose length of 300 ft (93 m)
Personnel Respirators
Tere are two general categories of respirator used for individual
protection: air purifying and supplied air.
Te air-purifying type of respirator is portable and has self-
contained flters that purify the ambient air on a demand basis.
Te advantages to its use are that it is less restrictive to move-
ments and is light in weight. Disadvantages are that it must not
be used where gas or vapor contamination cannot be detected
by odor or taste and in an oxygen-defcient atmosphere. Tis
type of respirator is outside the scope of this book, it is men-
tioned only because of its availability.
Te type of respirator selected depends on the expected
breathing hazards. In the choice of a respirator, the highest
expected degree of hazard, applicable codes and standards,
manufacturer recommendations, suitability for the intended
task and the comfort of the user are all important consider-
Te EPA Ofce of Emergency and Remedial Response has
identifed four levels of hazard at cleanup sites involving haz-
ardous materials and lists guidelines for the selection of protec-
tive equipment for each:
1. Level A calls for maximum available protection, requiring a
positive-pressure, self-contained suit, generally with a self-
contained breathing apparatus worn inside the protective
2. Level B protection is required when the highest level of
respiratory protection is needed but a lower level of skin
protection is acceptable.
3. Level C protection uses a full face piece and air-purifying
respiratory protection with chemical resistant, disposal
garments. Tis is required when the contaminant is known
and the level is relatively constant. Typical of its uses is for
asbestos removal.
4. Level D protection is used where special respiratory or skin
protection is not required but a rapid increase of contami-
nant level or degradation of ambient oxygen content is pos-
If the hazard cannot be identifed, it must be considered an
immediate danger to life and health (IDLH). Tis is a condition
that exists when the oxygen content falls below 12.5% (95 ppm
) or where the air pressure is less than 8.6 psi (450 mm/Hg),
which is the equivalent of 14,000 ft (4270 m).
Tere are fve general types of respirator available, as follows:
Mouthpiece Respirators Used only with demand type
systems, mouthpiece respirators are designed only to deliver
breathable air. Tey ofer no protection to the skin, eyes, or face.
Teir use is limited to areas where there is insufcient oxygen
and no other contaminants could afect the eyes and skin.
Half-Face-Piece Respirators Half-face-piece respira-
tors cover the nose and mouth and are designed primarily for
demand and pressure type systems. Tey are usually tightftting
and provide protection for extended periods of time in atmo-
spheres that are not harmful to the eyes and skin. Often worn
with goggles, these respirators are limited to areas of relatively
low toxicity.
Full-Face-Piece Respirators Full-face-piece respirators
cover the entire face and are designed for use with constant-fow
and pressure-demand systems. Tey are tightftting and suitable
for atmospheres of moderate and high toxicity. Tey are usually
used in conjunction with full protective clothing for such tasks
as chemical-tank cleaning where corrosive and toxic gas, mist,
and liquids may be present. Since the face masks provide pro-
tection to the face and eyes, they are also suitable for other tasks,
such as welding and the inspection of tanks and vessels where
there is an oxygen-defcient atmosphere.
Hood-and-Helmet Respirators Hood-and-helmet respira-
tors cover the entire head and are normally used with a con-
stant-fow system. Tey are loose ftting and suitable only for
protection against contaminants such as dust, sand, powders,
and grit. Constant fow is necessary to ventilate the headpiece
and to provide sufcient air pressure to prevent contaminants
from entering the headpiece.
Full-Pressure Suits Full-pressure suits range in design from
loose-ftting, body-protective clothing to completely sealed,
astronaut-like suits that provide total environmental life sup-
port. Tey are designed to be used only with constant-fow sys-
tems and are suitable for the most toxic and dangerous environ-
ments and atmospheres.
componEnt SElEctIon and SIzIng
Breathing-Air Source
Air Compressor Te air-compressor size is based on the high-
est fow rate, in cfm (L/min), required by the number and type
of respirators intended to be used simultaneously and the mini-
mum pressure required by the purifcation system.
Te following general fow rates are provided as a prelimi-
nary estimate for various types of respirator. Since there is a
wide variation in the pressure and fow rates required for vari-
ous types of respirator, the actual fgures used to size the system
must be based on the manufacturers recommendations for the
specifc respirators selected.
1. 4 scfm (113 L/min) for pressure-demand respirators.
2. 6 scfm (170 L/min) for constant-fow respirators.
10 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
3. Up to 16 scfm (453 L/min) for fooded-hood respirators.
4. Up to 35 scfm (990 L/min) for fooded suits.
5. Add 15 scfm (425 L/min) of air for suit cooling if used.
High-Pressure Storage Cylinder High pressure cylinders
are used either to supply air for normal operation to a limited
number of personnel for short periods of time or as an emer-
gency supply to provide a means of escape from a hazardous
area if the air compressor fails. Te main advantage to using
cylinders is the air in the cylinders is prepurifed, and no further
purifcation of the air is necessary.
Te number of cylinders is based on the simultaneous use of
respirators, the cfm (L/min) of each and the duration, in min,
the respirators are expected to be used, plus a 10% safety factor.
Te total amount of compressed air in the cylinders should not
be allowed to decrease too low. A low-pressure alarm should
sound when pressure falls to 500 psig (3450 kPa) in a cylinder
normally pressurized to 2400 psig (16 500 kPa) when flled to
Example 9-1
Establish the number of cylinders required for an emergency
supply of air for 8 people using constant-fow respirators require
15 min to escape the area.
1. 8 6 15 = 720 scfm + 72 (10%) = 792 scfm total required
2. Next, fnd the actual capacity of a single cylinder at the
selected high pressure, generally 2400 psi (16 500 kPa),
and divide the capacity of each cylinder into the total scfm
required to fnd the number of cylinders required.
3. If 1 cylinder has 225 scf, 792 225 = 3.5. Use 4 cylinders.
Purifcation Components
Te air used to fll breathing-air cylinders is purifed before
being compressed. Breathing air produced by air compressors
requires purifcation to meet minimum code standards for
breathing air.
Prior to the selection of the purifcation equipment, several
samples of the air where the compressor intake is to be located
should be taken so specifc contaminants and their amounts
can be identifed. Te ideal situation is to have the tests taken at
diferent times of the year and diferent times of the day. Tese
tests quantify the type and amount of contaminants present at
the intake. With this information known, the purifcation sys-
tems needed to meet code criteria can be chosen. Te other
requirement is the highest fow rate that can be expected. With
these criteria, the appropriate size and types of purifer can be
Te most commonly used method of purifcation is an assem-
bly of devices called a purifcation system specifcally chosen
and based on the previously selected criteria. Manufacturers
recommendations are commonly followed in the selection and
sizing of the assembly.
Carbon-Monoxide Converter Te requirement for installa-
tion of a carbon-monoxide converter is rare. Te need for a con-
verter is based on tests of the air at the proposed location of the
compressor intake. Another source of information is the EPA,
which has conducted tests in many urban areas throughout the
country. Another indication that installation may be necessary
is the use of a non-oil-free compressor. Good practice requires
the installation of a converter if there is an outside chance the
level of carbon monoxide may rise above the 10 ppm limit set
by code.
Te converter is sized based on the fow rate of the system.
Coalescing Filter/Separator Te coalescing flter/separa-
tor is a single unit that removes large oil and water drops and
particulates from the airstream before the air enters the rest of
the system. It is selected on the basis of maximum system pres-
sure, fow rate, and the expected level of contaminants leaving
the air compressor, using manufacturers recommendations. If
an oil-free compressor is used, a simple particulate flter could
be substituted for the coalescing flter.
Dryers (Moisture Separators)
Desiccant Dryers Te two types of desiccant media dryer most
commonly used are the single-bed dryer, which is a disposable
cartridge, and the continuous-duty, two-bed dryer.
When two-bed dryers are used, a portion of the air from the
compressor is used for drying one bed while the other is in ser-
vice. Te compressor must be capable of producing enough air
for both the system and dryer use.
Te single-bed dryer has a lower frst cost but a higher operat-
ing cost. Te disposable cartridge often is combined with other
purifcation devices into a single, prepiped unit. An indicator is
often added to the media so the need for replacement is indi-
cated by a color change.
Disposable units are best suited for short durations or occa-
sional use, such as for replacement of a main unit during peri-
ods of routine service. Because of their generally small size, only
a limited number of respirators can be supplied from a single
unit. Other considerations are that these disposable units have
a limited capacity, in total cfh, they can process. Manufacturers
recommendations must be used in the selection of the size and
number of replacement cartridges required for any application.
Te two-bed unit, commonly called a heatless dryer, is simi-
lar in principle to that discussed in the Compressed-Gas Sys-
tems chapter. Such units are used for continuous duty.
Te two factors contributing to the breakdown of media are
fast-drying cycles and high air velocity. If a desiccant dryer is
selected, the velocity of air through the unit shall conform to
manufacturers recommendations. Velocity should be as low
as is practical to avoid fuidizing the bed. High velocity requires
more cycles for drying, which means wasting more air. If the
size of the dryer is a concern, more drying cycles means smaller
dryer beds. Longer drying cycles reduce component wear.
Refrigerated Dryers Refrigerated dryers are used if there is
no requirement for a nitrous oxide converter and if the 3539F
dew point produced is 10F below the lowest ambient air tem-
perature where any pipe will be installed. Te refrigerated dryer
is less efcient than the desiccant dryer. Its advantages are that
all the air produced by the compressor is available to the system
and it has a lower pressure loss.
When refrigerated dryers are preferred, several purifcation
devices are often combined into a single unit, including the
refrigeration unit, flter/separator for oil and water, and a char-
coal flter for odor removal. Tis unit produces air that is lower
in temperature than the inlet air.
If the breathing-air distribution piping is to be routed through
an area of lower temperature, the pressure dew point of the air
must be reduced to 10F lower than the lowest temperature
Odor Remover Odors are not usually a problem, but their
removal is provided for as a safeguard. Te activated charcoal
cartridges remove odors are selected using manufacturers rec-
JULY/AUGUST 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design 11
ommendations based on the maximum calculated fow rate of
the breathing-air system. Te cartridges must be replaced peri-
Often called a moisturizer, a humidifer is required to increase
the relative humidity of the breathing air to approximately 50%
if required. Te unit is selected using the increase in moisture
required for the airstream and the fow rate of air. Caution must
be used so as not to increase the dew point of the compressed
air above a temperature 10F lower than the lowest temperature
in any part of the facility the pipe is routed through.
Respirator Hose
Te respirator hose most often used to connect the respirator
worn by an individual to the central-distribution piping system
8 in. (10 mm) in size. Code allows a maximum hose length of
300 ft (93 m). Te most common lengths are between 25 and 50
ft (7.75 and 15.5 m).
System Sizing Criteria
System Pressure Te outlet pressure of the compressor shall
be within the range required by the purifcation system. Typi-
cally, the pressure is approximately 100 psi (70.3 kg/cm2). Te
precise range of pressure and fow rate shall be obtained from
the purifcation system manufacturer selected for the project.
Te pressure in the distribution system should be as high as
possible to reduce the size of the distribution-piping network.
Code requires the pressure be kept below 125 psi (88 kg/cm2).
Te distribution-piping pressure range is usually 90 to 110 psig
(620 to 760 kPa) available in the system after the purifer.
Te pressure required at the respirator ranges from approxi-
mately 15 psig for pressure-demand respirators to 80 psig for
full-fooded suits that require cooling. Te actual requirements
can be obtained only from the manufacturer of the proposed
equipment because of the wide variations possible. Pressure-
regulating valves shall be installed to reduce the pressure to the
range acceptable to the respirator used. Often, this reduction
is done at the respirator manifold, if one is used, or, if a single
respirator type with a single pressure is used throughout the
facility, a single regulator can be installed to reduce the pressure
Pipe Sizing and Materials Te most commonly used pipe
is type L copper tubing, with wrought copper fttings and brazed
For pipe sizing, follow the sizing procedure discussed in the
Compressed-Gas Systems chapter. Te number of simultane-
ous users must be obtained from the facility. No diversity factor
should be used.
Alarms and Monitors
Te following alarms and monitors are often provided:
CO Monitor Usually included as a built-in component, this
monitor measures the CO content of the airstream and sounds
an alarm when the level reaches a predetermined high set
Oxygen-Defciency Monitor Used as a precautionary mea-
sure in an area where respirators are not normally required,
the oxygen monitor measures the oxygen content of the air in a
room or other enclosed area and sounds an alarm to alert per-
sonnel when the level falls below a predetermined level. Usu-
ally, several alarm points are annunciated prior to reaching a
level low enough to require the use of respirators.
Low-Air-Pressure Monitor Te low-air-pressure monitor
must sound an alarm when the pressure in the system reaches
a predetermined low point. Tis set point allows the users of
the breathing-air system to leave the area immediately while
still being able to breathe from the system. For cylinder storage,
this set point is about 500 psig in the cylinders. For a compres-
sor system, the alarm should sound when the pressure falls to
a point 10 psig below the pressure set to start the compressor.
Tis should also switch over to the emergency backup supply
if one is used. If no backup is used, the pressure set point shall
be 5 psig higher than the minimum required by the respirators
being used.
Dew-Point Monitor A dew-point monitor is used to mea-
sure the dew point and sound an alarm if it falls to a low point,
set by a health ofcer, that might prove harmful to the users. It is
required to alarm if the dew point reaches a point high enough
to freeze in some parts of the system.
High-Temperature Air Monitor Some purifers or purifer
components will not function properly if the inlet air tempera-
ture is too high. Te set point is commonly 120 F but will vary
among diferent manufacturers and components.
Failure-to-Shift Monitor Tis monitor is placed on des-
iccant dryers to initiate an alarm if the unit fails to shift from
the saturated dryer bed to the dry bed when regeneration is
1 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsLife-Safety Systems (PSD 134)
About This Issues Article
The July/August 2006 continuing education article is
Life-Safety Systems, Chapter 8 of Pharmaceutical Facilities
Plumbing Systems by Michael Frankel. This chapter describes
water-based emergency drench equipment and systems
commonly used as a first-aid measure to mitigate the effects
of such an accident. Also described are the breathing-air
systems that supply air to personnel for escape and protec-
tion when they are exposed to either a toxic environment
resulting from an accident or normal working conditions
that make breathing the ambient air hazardous.
You may locate this article at
Read it, take the following exam, and submit it to the ASPE
office to potentially receive 0.1 CEU (comparable to 1.0 PDH).
1. The recommended supply pipe size to an emergency
shower is ________.
a. inch, b. 1 inch, c. 1 inches, d. 1 inches
. Since oil is a major contaminant in breathing air
systems, the maximum allowed is ___________.
a. 5 ppm, b. 5 ppb, c. 10 ppm, d. 10 ppb
. An emergency shower drench hose is used to _________.
a. wash the foor after a chemical spill
b. irrigate the body under the clothing prior to removal of
the clothing
c. provide a means to fll mop bucket
d. none of the above
. A failure-to-shift monitor is ___________.
a. used to control multi-stage compressors
b. used to initiate an alarm if a desiccant dryer fails to
shift from the saturated bed to the dry bed when
regeneration is required
c. used to coordinate the output signal of the low air
pressure monitor and the refrigerated dryer
d. not required on modern systems
. In areas where strong acid or caustic is used, the
emergency shower and eyewash equipment should be
located within ___________ feet of the potential source
of the hazard per ANSI code Z-.1.
a. 5, b. 10, c. 15, d. 20
. What is the established comfort zone water temperature
for emergency drench equipment?
a. 7075F, b. 7580F, c. 8085F, d. 8590F
. As defned by 0 CFR 10, a toxic environment has air
that ___________.
a. may produce physical discomfort immediately
b. may cause chronic poisoning after repeated exposure
c. may cause acute adverse physiological symptoms after
prolonged exposure
d. all of the above
. The code-required fow rate from an emergency shower
is ___________ gpm.
a. 25, b. 30, c. 35, d. 40
. How many cylinders of air are required for an
emergency supply of air for eight people using pressure
demand respirators needing 1 minutes to escape the
a. 2.3 use 3 cylinders
b. 3.5 use 4 cylinders
c. 4.7 use 5 cylinders
d. cannot be determined
10. Refrigerated dryers are used ___________.
a. when money is of no concern
b. when order removal is not required
c. when system pressure is high enough to accommodate
d. none of the above
11. The minimum diameter of the spray pattern from an
emergency shower, measured at 0 inches above
the surface on which the user stands, is ___________
a. 18, b. 20, c. 22, d. 24
1. An oxygen content below 1. percent and/or a pressure
of . psi should be considered ___________.
a. as a Level A hazard as established by the EPA
b. as a Level C hazard as established by the EPA
c. as a Level E hazard as established by the EPA
d. as an immediate danger to life and health
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Now Online!
Starting with this issue, the technical article you must read to com-
plete the exam will be located at Te following
exam and application form also may be downloaded from the Web site.
Reading the article and completing the form will allow you to apply to
ASPE for CEU credit. For most people, this process will require approxi-
mately one hour. If you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test,
you will be notifed that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied
toward the CPD renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency
CE programs. (Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the
acceptance policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept
on fle at the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
1 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Tis chapter discusses various piping systems uniquely associ-
ated with the physical care, health, and well-being of labora-
tory animals. Included are various utility systems for animal
watering, water treatment, room and foor cleaning, equipment
washing, cage fushing and drainage, and other specialized
piping required for laboratory and experimental work within
the facility. Other systems involved with general laboratory and
facility work, such as those for compressed gases and plumbing,
are discussed in their respective chapters.
It is expected that a facility involved with long-term studies
will have diferent operating and animal drinking-water qual-
ity requirements than one used for medical research. For criti-
cal studies, the various utility systems shall incorporate design
features necessary to ensure reliability and provide a consistent
environment. As many variables as are practical (or desirable)
shall be eliminated to ensure the accuracy of the ongoing exper-
iments being conducted. Regardless of the facility type, diferent
users and owners have individual priorities based on experi-
ences, operating philosophies, and corporate cultures that must
be established prior to the start of the fnal design phase of a
1. Te local codes applicable to plumbing systems must
be observed in the design and installation of ordinary
plumbing fxtures and potable water and drainage lines for
the facility.
2. 10-CFR-58 is the code (by the agencies of the federal
government) for good laboratory practice for nonclinical
laboratory studies.
3. 21-CFR-211, cGMP, requires compliance with FDA
protocols for pharmaceutical applications.
4. NIH publication 86-23, Guide for the Care and Use of
Laboratory Animals.
5. American Association for Accrediation of Laboratory
Animal Care (AAALAC). Inspection and accreditation by
the AAALAC is accepted by the NIH as assurance that the
facility is in compliance with Public Health Services (PHS)
aNImal DRINkING-WaTeR sysTems
Te purpose of the animal drinking-water system is to produce,
distribute, and maintain an uninterruptible supply of drinking
water with a specifc and consistent range of purity to all ani-
mals in a facility. Tere are two general types of systems: an
automated central-distribution system and individual water
sysTem Types
Te great majority of animals used by laboratories for medical
and product research are mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats,
dogs, and primates. Smaller animals and primates are kept in
stacked cages, often on racks. Medium-sized animals, such as
dogs, goats, and pigs, are kept in kennels or pens. Larger foor
areas are required for barnyard animals such as cows. Water-
ing can be done either by an automatic, reduced-pressure, cen-
tral system, which pipes water from the source directly to each
cage, kennel or pen; or by separate drinking bottles or watering
devices manually placed in individual cages or pens.
Automated, Central Supply-and-Distribution System
Te purpose of an automated, central, drinking-water supply
system is to automatically treat and distribute drinking water.
Ancillary devices are used to fush the system and maintain a
uniform and acceptable level of purity.
Te system consists of a raw or treated water source, a purif-
cation system, medicinal and disinfection injection equipment
if necessary, pressure-reducing stations, and a distribution
piping network consisting of a low-pressure room-distribution
piping system and a rack-manifold pipe terminating in a drink-
ing valve for each cage or pen for the animals. Also necessary is
an automated fushing system for the room-distribution piping
activated by a fush-sequence panel, and a monitoring system
to automatically provide monitoring of such items as drinking-
water pressure, fow, and possible leakage.
Animals in cages are kept in animal rooms. Cages are usually
placed in multi-tiered, portable or permanent cage racks, which
contain a number of cages. Te cage rack has an integral piping
system installed, called a rack manifold, that distributes the
water to all cages. Te rack manifold could be installed by the
manufacturer or in the facility by operating personnel. Te rack
manifold receives its water from the room-distribution piping.
Te connection between the room-distribution piping and the
rack manifold is made by means of a detachable recoil hose
generally manufactured from Polypropylene (PP), nylon, or Eth-
ylene-Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM). Tis hose is fexible,
8 in. (12 mm) in size and coiled to conserve space. It
will stretch to a length of about 6 ft 0 in. (2 m). Each end is pro-
vided with a quick-disconnect ftting used to attach the hose to
both the room-distribution piping and the rack manifold.
To maintain drinking-water quality, a method of fushing the
room-distribution piping and the rack manifold shall be pro-
vided. Ancillary equipment includes fushing and sanitizing
systems to wash the recoil hose and the cage rack-piping inte-
Water Bottles
Drinking water bottles are individual units with an integral
drinking tube that are placed by hand on a bracket in each cage.
Animal-care Facility
Piping Systems
Reprinted from Pharmaceutical Facilities Plumbing Systems, Chapter 7: Animal-care Facility Piping Systems, by Michael Frankel.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
2 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Tese bottles could be flled either by hand or automatically via
a bottle fller.
Automatic bottle fllers should be considered to reduce the
time necessary to fll bottles and minimize water spillage. Bottle
fllers are available with manifolds to ft any size bottles. Tey
can be supplied with purifed water from a central water supply
andwith separate, programmable proportionerscould
acidify, chlorinate, and medicate the water as required. Te
bottle fller automates the flling procedure so that the bottles
are correctly positioned during flling and stops the fow when
the water reaches a predetermined level.
Flushing System
In order to maintain drinking-water quality, the drinking-water
distribution system should be fushed periodically. Tis is
accomplished by having the same drinking water that is nor-
mally distributed to the animals fow through the piping system
at an elevated fow rate, pressure, and velocity. Te water is sent
to drain and not recovered. Tis is initiated automatically at
the drinking-water pressure-reducing station by the addition
of separate regulating valves and pressure-regulating arrange-
Diferent fushing arrangements are possible, depending
on the cost, facility protocol, and purity desired. One method
fushes only the main runs by the addition of a solenoid valve
at the end of the main run and the provision of a return line to
drain from this point. Another method is to fush the mains and
the room-distribution piping by adding the solenoid valve at
the end of each room-distribution branch with the return line to
drain from each room. A third method fushes the entire system,
including the rack manifold, by adding a solenoid valve on each
cage connection to the room-distribution pipe, which fushes
the recoil hose and the rack manifold.
It is accepted practice to replace all the drinking water in the
room-distribution piping system at regular intervals, a minimum
of twice daily. To approximate the amount of water in the pipe,
allow 1 gal (4 L) for each 33 ft 0 in. (10 m) of pipe. General prac-
tice is to fush the system with water at about 15 psi (90 kPa) at a
rate of 15 gpm (60 L/min). If the drinking water is not purifed,
it is recommended that the piping be fushed at least twice daily
for about 2 min. For purifed water, fush once daily for about
1 min. Flushing can be done manually by means of a valve in
the pressure-reducing station enclosure or automatically by the
addition of a bypass and solenoid valve around the low-pres-
sure assembly to the pressure-reducing station. Te
sequence and duration of the automatic fush cycle
is controlled from a fush-sequencer panel.
DRINkING-WaTeR TReaTmeNT sysTems
Te purpose of the drinking-water treatment system
is to remove impurities from the raw-water supply
to achieve the water quality required by the animals
in the facility. In addition, disinfectant and medica-
tion can be added to the water during treatment if
sysTems DesCRIpTION
Tere are no generally recognized and accepted
standards for animal drinking-water quality. Purity
and consistency requirements depend on the
incoming water quality, the established protocol of
the end user, the importance of either the initial or
the operating cost of the proposed system, the species of ani-
mals housed in the facility, and the animal-housing methods.
Te overall objective is to eliminate as many variables as pos-
sible for the entire period of time the studies or experiments are
Te most often-used treatment for drinking water is reverse
osmosis. Other possible treatment methods are distillation
and deionization. A discussion of these purifcation methods
appears in the chapter Water Systems.
Reverse Osmosis
When a higher-quality water is required and other types of puri-
fed water are not available in a facility, reverse osmosis (RO) is
normally selected. Since the amount of water is usually small, a
package type unit mounted on a skid is provided and connected
directly to the water supply. Te RO system is fexible and, when
used in combination with DI water supply, will provide water
that is virtually contamination free.
Disinfection and Medication of Drinking Water
Disinfection chemical mixtures are added to the animal drink-
ing-water supply to eliminate and control bacterial contamina-
tion in the central and room-distribution piping system. Medi-
cation is added to conform with experimental protocols if nec-
essary. Tese mixtures are usually introduced into the piping
system by a self-contained, central, proportioning (injector)
unit using facility water pressure. Medication is added to the
drinking water using the same proportioning equipment that
adds disinfectant. All equipment is available in a wide range of
sizes and materials. A schematic detail of a typical central pro-
portioner is illustrated in Figure 7-1.
Chlorination Chlorination is a recognized biocidal treat-
ment that leaves a residual of chlorine in the entire central-dis-
tribution system. Hyperchlorinated water is not as corrosive as
acidifed water and could be used with brass/copper distribution
system components. Accepted practice is to provide a pH higher
than 4, with a residual range of free chlorine between 5 and 12
ppm. Free chlorine in water dissipates in time with light, heat,
and reaction with organic contaminants, making it inefective
when water bottles are used. Chlorine creates toxic compounds
in reaction with some water contaminants and medications.
Acidifcation Acidifcation has an advantage over chlori-
nation in that it is more stable and lasts longer in the system. Te
disadvantage is that corrosion-resistant materials must be used.
Te pH range should be between 2.5 and 3 in order to be efec-
Figure 7-1 Typical Central Proportioning Unit
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design 3
tive. A pH lower than 2.5 will cause the water to become sour
and the animals will not drink it. At a pH above 3, the mixture is
not considered an efective germicide.
Te pressure-reducing station reduces the normal pressure of
the raw-water supply to a level required for the animal-room
drinking-water distribution system. As an option, a secondary
system can be added to provide a higher pressure in the room-
distribution system for fushing.
Te pressure and fow rate depend on the type and number
of animals to be supplied. Also usually included are a 5-
water flter, a pressure gauge, and a backfow preventer. Timing
devices that automatically control fushing duration are con-
trolled by a remote fush-sequencer panel, which controls all
fushing sequencing operations. Te recommended pressures
for animal-room piping distribution to various animals are as
Small animals, such as
Rats and mice 3-5 psig (20.4-34 kPa)
Primates 3-5 psig
Dogs and cats 3-5 psig
Swine and piglets 6-12 psig (41-81.6 kPa)
Te secondary pressure-reducing assembly used to provide
automatically room-distribution pipe-fushing water operates
at a pressure of 15 psig (102 kPa). Tis assembly is installed as a
bypass around the low-pressure assembly. Manual operation at
a lower cost could also be provided. Tis additional pressure for
a short period of time will not cause the animals any difculty if
they decide to drink during the fushing cycle.
One pressure-reducing station can be connected to as many
as 35 interconnect stations to small animal-rack manifolds,
often referred to as drops. Tis allows 1 station to control more
than 1 animal room.
Te pressure-reducing station is a preassembled unit com-
plete with all the various valves, fttings, and reducing valves
required for a specifc project. All the components are installed
in a cabinet, which requires only mounting and utility connec-
Drinking valves are used by the animals
to obtain water from the distribution-
system piping. An internal mechanism
keeps the valve normally closed; the
animal drinking from the valve must
open it by some action, such as moving
the entire valve or operating a small
lever inside the body of the valve with
the tongue. Many diferent kinds of
valve are available to supply any type of
animal that may be kept in the facility.
Te valves can be mounted on cages,
on the rack manifold, or on the walls
of pens and kennels at varying heights
with the use of special brackets.
Te confguration of the piping on the animal rack plays an
important part in the efectiveness and efciency of the flling
and fushing of the drinking-water system. Te two most often-
used confgurations are the reverse S and the H.
Te reverse S, illustrated in Figure 7-2, is the most often-used
confguration. It has two basic styles based on the valve location
in the fush drain line. One style has a supply control valve at the
top and the other has a drain valve at the bottom. Either location
is acceptable, with the deciding factor being the ease of operating
the valve where the rack is installed. Tis confguration has the
advantage of eliminating dead legs and ofers more convenience
to facility personnel when they fll the piping after washing. Te
vent is a manually operated air bleed used when the cage rack
is reconnected to the room-distribution pipe. It is opened until
water is discharged, thereby eliminating any air pockets in the
manifold. Tis manifold style provides a positive exchange of
water during fushing with a minimum usage of time and water.
Figure 7-2 Reverse S Confguration Watering Manifold
Figure 7-3 Typical Room Distribution, On-Line, Rack Manifold Flushing System




4 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: AnimaI-care FaciIity Piping Systems
Tis confguration is used far more than any
other manifold style. It is easily converted
to automatic fushing by the installation of
solenoid devices on the valve. It is recom-
mended when micro-isolator cage systems
are installed. Te complete, on-line, rack-
manifold fushing system is illustrated in
Figure 7-3. Tis cage system has the advan-
tage of the complete isolation of individual
cages, with the accompanying capability
for additional fushing and disinfection of
the piping system.
One variation of the reverse S is the
standard S, illustrated in Figure 7-4. Tis
confguration has the advantage of com-
plete on-line fushing and lower initial cost
of the manifold. Disadvantages are the
need for extra supports on the cage rack
and the need for venting to be done man-
ually or by the animals after being placed
in service. Tis confguration is no longer recommended.
Te H style, illustrated in Figure 7-5, although rigidly
installed and with positive venting, is not suitable for on-line
fushing. Because of this, it is rarely used except for larger ani-
mals, which will consume all the water in the rack piping mani-
Te most common piping materials are CPVC and 304L stain-
less steel. CPVC conforms to ASTM D 2846, is 0.875 outside
diameter (OD) with 0.188 in. minimum wall thickness. Joining
process is done with solvent cement socket joints. Te drinking
valves are installed with a proprietary, drilled and tapped ft-
ting. Te 304L stainless steel tubing is 0.50 OD with a 0.036 in.
minimum wall thickness. Fittings are made with O-ring joints
and socket fttings or compression type fttings. Te mounting of
both pipe materials is accomplished by the use of 304 SS stain-
less-steel clamps and fasteners.
sysTem sIzING meThODs
Te water consumption of small animals in cages is very low.
It is also probable that the animal room will not be used to full
capacity. Because of this low consumption fow rate, the fush-
ing-water fow rate of the system is the critical factor in sizing
the piping. Typically, the animal-room piping distribution net-
work is a header uniformly sized at in. (50 mm) throughout
the animal room.
Te pipe sizes in other areas of the
animal facility are determined based on
the requirements of maximum fow rate at
the necessary pressure to supply the fush-
ing velocity. Maximum fow rate depends
on the fush sequencing, and the pressure
drop depends on overcoming pressure
loss through the equipment connected to
the branch being sizedsuch as pressure-
reducing stations, solenoid valves, and
recoil hosesand friction loss through the
piping network. Allowance must be made
to provide a sufciently high fow rate and
water velocity to efciently provide the
fushing action desired.
CleaNING aND DRaINaGe sysTems
Keeping the animal rooms and cages
clean is an extremely important facet of facility practice. Te
cleaning of the animal room is accomplished either by sponging
the walls, foors, and ceiling or by hosing down the room. Cage
racks can be cleaned by washing them with a hose or by placing
them in a large washing machine. Cages are cleaned in a cage
washer. Pens and kennels are hosed down. Floors in pens are
cleaned with hoses and the bedding with feces is pushed into
trenches with foor drains.
In specialized areas, such as holding or isolation rooms where
only small animals are kept, it is common practice to have per-
manent cage racks or have the portable racks remain in the
animal room. Te litter is put into bags and brought to other
areas for disposal. Te cage racks are manually wiped down
and no rack washer is required. A sink is usually provided in
the animal room for the convenience of the cleaning personnel.
Individual water bottles, if provided, could be washed in the
sink. Te cages are removed and washed separately in a cage
washer. Tis type of animal room usually does not require a
foor drain if the entire room will be sponged down. If hosing is
practiced, a foor drain is required.
Rabbits and guinea pigs have a tendency to spray urine and
feces. Tis requires that the racks be hosed down in the room. A
wash station with a hose reel and detergent injection capability
to hose down the cage racks and the room itself is usually placed
in individual rooms. Citric acid is often used as a cleaning agent
for rabbits.
hOse sTaTIONs
Hose stations usually consist of a mixing valve with cold water
and steam to make hot water or hot water alone, a length of fex-
ible hose, and an adjustable spray nozzle. Hot and cold water
are also used. It can be exposed or provided with an enclosure
when an easily cleaned surface is required.
CleaNING-aGeNT sysTems
Cleaning agents are used to clean and/or disinfect the walls,
ceiling, and foor of a room and to add agent to the cage wash
water. When used to clean rooms, the equipment used for this
purpose is commonly called a facility detergent system. When
used to add agent to the cage washing water it is often called
a cage-washing detergent system. Tese are separate systems
and are not capable of providing agent to each other.
Figure 7-4 Standard S Confguration Manifold
Figure 7-5 Standard H Confguration Manifold
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design 5
A single-station detergent-dispensing system is used when
rooms are cleaned with mops or squeegees. It consists of a wall-
mounted unit having a holder for detergent concentrate and an
injector unit. A container flled with detergent concentrate is
placed in the holder and is used to supply agent to the injector
that dispenses a metered amount of agent when a hose bibb is
opened to fll the pail or container. Tese rooms usually have
sinks and mop racks inside to be used only for these rooms. A
typical schematic detail of a single-station detergent system is
illustrated in Figure 7-6.
When used to supply a single or multiple-spray hose for
cleaning foors and walls, a central system could be installed to
supply several rooms within a facility by means of a detergent
pump that dispenses agent. A 55-gal drum of agent
should be used to reduce the number of times the
supply has to be changed. A typical central-supply deter-
gent-dispensing system is illustrated in Figure 7-7.
Te cage-washing detergent system is usually located in
the wet area of the cage-washing facility and, with the use
of a detergent pump, could be used as a central system to
supply cage and bottle washers. A typical schematic detail
of a cage-washing system is illustrated in Figure 7-8.
It is common practice to have a central system or a wall-
mounted cleaning-agent dispenser unit along with the hose
station. Separate, portable units could be used when cross
contamination between animal rooms is a consideration.
A typical, wall-mounted, cleaning-agent system consists
of separate water and cleaning-agent tanks; a water pump;
and a special, coaxial hose that sprays a proportioned mix-
ture of the water and cleaning agent. Compressed air is
often used to provide pressure.
CaGe-flUshING WaTeR sysTem
Te removal of animal waste from cages can be done by sev-
eral methods. One method removes the waste along with
the bedding at the time cages are removed from the animal
room to be washed. Another method uses an independent
rack-fush system to automatically remove animal waste
from cages on racks while the animals and cages remain in
the animal room.
Te independent rack fush is a separate system that
uses chlorinated water automatically distributed to each
animal room. Te cages and racks are constructed so that
the animal droppings fall through the cage foor onto a sloping
pan below each tier of cages. Each tier is cascaded at the end
onto the sloping pan below. Eventually, the lowest pan spills
into a drain trough in the animal room. Te fushing schedule is
decided by facility personnel.
Te water supply could be a reservoir placed on the rack that
is flled with water and automatically discharged onto the pans
at preset intervals. Tese preset intervals are determined based
on experience and generally range from once to three times
daily. Another method uses a solenoid valve to automatically
discharge water onto the pans; the valve is sequenced by a timer
set to alternate fll and dump cycles. Te timer could be either
Figure 7-6 Single-Station Detergent System
Figure 7-8 Typical Cage-Washing Detergent System
Figure 7-7 Central-Supply Detergent System
6 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: AnimaI-care FaciIity Piping Systems
centrally located or installed separately in each animal room.
Larger cages, such as those for primates, are usually stacked
no more than two cages high. Current practice is to have these
cages manually cleaned by personnel who hose down the pans
directly into foor or wall troughs.
Water is supplied to each cage rack by means of a recoil hose,
which has a diferent quick-disconnect end than that of the
drinking water recoil hose to avoid cross
connection. Refer to Figure 7-9 for a detail
of a typical cage-rack utility connection
sOlID-WasTe DIspOsal
Solid waste consists of bedding, feces,
animal carcasses, and other miscella-
neous waste, including straw and sawdust
used for larger farm animals. Bedding
comprises the largest quantity of this
solid waste. It is necessary to determine
the quantity of bedding before a decision
can be made as to the most cost-efective
method to dispose of it.
Bedding can be disposed of by incin-
eration, as regular garbage, or into the
sewer system. Incinerators are costly,
require compliance with many regulatory
agencies and multiple permits, and often
result in objections from adjoining prop-
erty owners. Incineration is the preferred
method of disposing of carcasses and
large quantities of contaminated waste.
Carcasses could also be autoclaved and
disposed of as regular garbage. Regular gar-
bage disposal is the most common method of
disposal. It involves collecting, moving, and
storage of the waste into large containers until
regular garbage collection is made. Tis is very
labor intensive.
Discharge into the drainage system must
frst be accepted by the local authorities and
responsible code ofcials. Tis requires the
bedding to be water soluble, that it shall not
foat, and provision be made to thoroughly mix
the bedding with water. Tis mixture is called a
slurry. Experience has shown, if done prop-
erly, discharge into an adequately sized drain
lineminimum size 6 in. (150 mm)has
caused no problems, since the efuent has the
same general characteristics of water.
A self-contained waste-disposal system is
available that is capable of disposing of animal
bedding and waste. Te system consists of a
pulping unit to grind the waste into a slurry
and sanitize it, a water extractor to remove
most of the water from the slurry, and the
interconnecting piping system that transports
the slurry from the pulper to the extractor
and recirculates the water removed from the
extractor back to the pulping unit for reuse. Te
solid waste is removed as garbage. Manufac-
turers are available for assistance in the design
and equipment selection for this specialized
system. Te system has the advantages of reducing water use,
reducing operating costs by eliminating the handling of the
waste by operating personnel, compacting the waste to about
20% of the space required for standard garbage not compacted,
and reducing the possibility of contamination by isolation of the
disposal equipment. Te disadvantage is its high initial cost.
Figure 7-9 Typical Cage-Rack Utility Connections
Figure 7-10 Typical Waste-Disposal System
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design 7
Tis system could consist of single or multiple units of dif-
ferent capacities. It requires water intermittently for pulping at
the rate of about 10 to 30 gpm (63 to 190 L/min). Hose bibbs
should be installed for washdown. Te pipe should be sized for
a maximum velocity of 8 fps (1.75 m/s), with typical slurry lines
ranging between 2 and 4 in. (50 and 200 mm) and return lines
generally 2 in. (50 mm) in size. Te extractor discharges into a
drain that should be 4 or 6 in. (100 or 150 mm) depending on
the fow. A typical schematic diagram of a multiple installation
is illustrated in Figure 7-10.
ROOm-WasTe DIspOsal
Te rooms in which animals are kept must be designed to allow
proper drainage practices and in accordance with the antici-
pated cleaning procedures of the facility. Floor drains, drainage
trenches (or troughs) at room sides, adequate and consistent
foor pitch to drains or troughs, and foor surfaces are all impor-
tant considerations.
Tere are several considerations to be taken into account in
locating foor drains. Experience has shown that placing drains
in the center of a room is not acceptable because it is difcult
to hose solids down a drain in this location. Another reason is
that the foor must be pitched to the drain and if a cage rack is
defective, it should roll to the side of the room. Te best loca-
tion is in a corner or at the side. Floor drains without troughs
can be considered if the foors will only be squeegeed rather
than hosed down. Tey should also be considered in contagious
areas where contamination between rooms must be avoided.
Gratings must have openings smaller than the wheels of racks
or cages.
In rooms where washdown and cage-rack fushing are
expected, the provision of a foor trough should be consid-
ered. Troughs are often provided at opposite ends of the room
to minimize the amount of foor drop due to pitch. Accepted
practice uses a minimum foor pitch of
8 in./ft of foor run. Te
foor is pitched to the troughs to facilitate cleaning and also to
provide an easy method to dispose of waste generated from the
rack-fush system. It is common practice to provide an auto-
matic or manual trough-fushing system with nozzles or jets to
wash down the trough sides and eliminate as much of the con-
tamination remaining in the trough as possible. Wall troughs,
similarly to roof gutters, are located at a higher elevation. Tis
type of trough arrangement is sometimes provided in addition
to or in lieu of foor troughs if the arrangement of elevated cages
and racks make it an efective drainage method. Experience has
shown that prefabricated drain troughs in foors are preferred
over those built on the wall as part of the architectural construc-
Te foor troughs are drained by means of a foor drain placed
in a low point at one end. Te troughs are usually pitched at
in./ft of run to the drain. Te drain should be constructed of acid-
resistant materials and have a grate that can be easily removed.
For small animal rooms where bedding is not disposed of in the
room, a 4-in. (100-mm) drain is considered adequate. In most
other locations, it is recommended that a 6-in. (150-mm) drain
be provided. A fushing-rim type drain should be considered to
fush all types of waste into the drainage system.
Floor drains should have the capability of being sealed by the
replacement of the grates with solid covers during periods when
the room may not be in service.
eqUIpmeNT WashING
Most facilities contain washing and sanitizing machines to wash
cages, cage racks, and bottles, if used. Tere are two commonly
used types of cage washer: the batch type and conveyer (tunnel)
type. Batch washers require manual loading and unloading and
are used where a small number of cages and racks are washed.
Te conveyer type is similar to a commercial dishwasher, where
the cages and racks are loaded on a conveyer and automatically
moved through the machine for the washing and sanitizing
Maintaining drinking-water quality requires that the recoil
hoses and rack manifolds be not merely washed but internally
sanitized. Tis is most often done at the same time the cages are
washed. Separate rack-manifold and recoil-hose fush stations
are available for this purpose and are usually installed in the
cage-wash area. Washing can be done manually or automati-
cally. Te hoses are fushed for 1 to 2 min with 4 gpm (16 L/min)
of water. Chlorine is injected into the water by a chlorine-injec-
tion station (proportioner) set to deliver 10 to 20 ppm into the
fush water. Ten scfm of oil-free compressed air at 60 psig is
blown through the hoses to dry them. If chlorine is used as a
disinfectant, a contact time of 30 min is recommended before
evacuation and drying.
Periodic sanitizing of the room-distribution piping system is
required for maintaining good water quality. Sanitizing is done
prior to system fushing. To accomplish this, a portable sanitizer
is used to manually inject a sanitizing solution directly into the
piping system. In order to do this, an injection port is required
at the inlet to the pressure-reducing station. Te portable sani-
tizer usually consists of a 20-gal (90-L) polyethylene tank with
a submersible pump inside and a fexible hose used to connect
the tank to the injection port. Te disinfecting solution is a mix-
ture of chlorine and water with 20 ppm of chlorine. Te mixture
should maintain a contact time in the piping of 30 to 45 min.
DRaINaGe-sysTem sIzING
As mentioned previously, for individual animal rooms where
bedding is not disposed of in the drainage system, a 4-in. drain is
acceptable. In general, a 6-in. drain is considered good practice.
Te size of the drainage system piping should be a minimum
of 6 in., with a -in. pitch when possible and the piping sized
to fow to
3 full in order to accommodate unexpected infow.
Te monitoring of various animal-utility systems is critical to
keep within a range of values consistent with the protocol of
the experiments being conducted at the facility. Tis is accom-
plished by a central monitoring system that includes many mea-
surements from HVAC and electrical systems. For the animal
drinking-water system, parameters such as water pressure, fow
rates, leakage, pH, and temperature in various areas of the facil-
ity are helpful for maintenance, monitoring, and alarms.
Te amount of exposed piping inside any animal room should be
minimized. Te exception is the animal drinking-water system,
which is usually exposed on the walls of the room. Tis piping
should be installed using standofs to permit proper cleaning of
the wall and around the pipe.
Te piping material used for all systems should be selected
with consideration given to the facility cleaning methods and
8 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: AnimaI-care FaciIity Piping Systems
type of disinfectant. Where sterilization is required and cleaning
very frequent, stainless-steel pipe should be considered.
If insulation is used on piping, it should be protected with a
stainless steel jacket to permit adequate cleaning.
Pipe penetrations should be sealed with a high-grade, imper-
vious, and fre-resistant sealant. Escutcheons should not be
used because they allow the accumulation of dirt and bacteria
behind them.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 Plumbing Systems & Design 9

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsAnimal-care Facility Piping Systems (PSD 136)
About This Issues Article
The November/December 2006 Continuing Education
article is Animal-care Facility Piping Systems, Chapter 7
of Pharmaceutical Facilities Plumbing Systems by Michael
Frankel. This chapter discusses the various piping systems
uniquely associated with the physical care, health, and well-
being of laboratory animals. Included are utility systems for
animal watering, water treatment, room and floor cleaning,
equipment washing, cage flushing and drainage, and other
specialized piping required for laboratory and experimental
work within the facility.
You may locate this article at
Read the article, complete the following exam, and submit
your answer sheet to the ASPE office to potentially receive
0.1 CEU.
1. What comprises the Iargest soIid waste item from animaI
a. bedding, b. feces, c. carcasses, d. miscellaneous waste
2. 7his chapter discusses various piping systems uniqueIy
associated with the physicaI care, heaIth, and weII-being
of ___________.
a. laboratory workers, b. laboratory animals,
c. animal watering, d. cage cleaning
3. A singIe-station detergent-dispensing system is used
when rooms are ___________.
a. hosed down
b. cleaned with mops or squeegees
c. cleaned with steam
d. none of the above
4. 7o maintain drinking water quaIity, ___________.
a. a water purifcation system must be designed
b. the water system must be allowed to run continuously
c. there must be chlorine injection
d. the drinking water distribution system must be fushed
5. FIoor drains shouId not be pIaced ___________ where
animaIs are kept.
a. under cages in rooms
b. in the center of the room
c. at the back edge of cages in rooms
d. none of the above
6. A puIping unit is used to ___________.
a. separate water from solid waste
b. determine the pH of the waste
c. determine the temperature of the waste
d. grind the waste into a slurry
7. 10-CFR-58 ___________.
a. is the federal code that must be followed when keeping
animals for research
b. requires compliance with FDA protocols for
pharmaceutical applications
c. is the guide for the care and use of laboratory animals
d. is the code for good laboratory practice for non-clinical
laboratory studies
8. SeIect the true statement beIow.
a. There are no generally recognized and accepted
standards for animal drinking water.
b. Drinking valves are not used by animals to obtain water
from the distribution system.
c. Water pressure, minimum and maximum, for the
various animals to be served is mandated in the
plumbing code.
d. Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are inappropriate for
animal drinking water systems.
9. 7he recommended water pressure for dogs and cats is
a. 612 psig, b. 20.434 kPa,
c. more than for rats and mice, d. none of the above
10. What ow rate and pressure of oiI-free air is used to dry
the interior of hoses!
a. 5 scfm at 30 psig
b. 10 scfm at 30 psig
c. 5 scfm at 60 psig
d. 10 scfm at 60 psig
11. What type of piping materiaI shouId be used on systems
that require frequent steriIization!
a. cast iron
b. copper
c. galvanized
d. stainless steel
12. 7he water consumption of smaII animaIs in cages is
a. based on a fushing system to maintain fresh water in
the piping at all times
b. established by experience
c. very low
d. none of the above
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Now Online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Te following exam and application form
also may be downloaded from the Web site. Reading the article and
completing the form will allow you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit.
For most people, this process will require approximately one hour. If
you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test, you will be notifed
that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD
renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs.
(Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the acceptance
policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept on fle at
the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
10 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Flow of air is the primary consideration in the design of a
venting system for the ventilation of the piping and protection
of the fxture trap seals of a sanitary drainage system. Since air
is of such primary importance, it is essential that the plumbing
engineer be familiar with certain physical characteristics that
are pertinent to its behavior in a plumbing system.
Density of any substance is its mass per unit volume. Te den-
sity of air is its weight in pounds per cubic foot of volume. Te
density of air is afected by temperature, moisture content, and
pressure. Te density of standard air is taken at atmospheric
pressure and 68.4F. It is equal to 0.075 lbm/ft
. With a rise in
temperature, the density of air decreases and with a lowering of
temperature its density increases. Te moisture content of air in
the plumbing system has a negligible efect on its density and
can be disregarded in all calculations. Pressure has an appre-
ciable efect; the higher the pressure the greater the density, and
the lower the pressure the less the density.
Specifc Weight of a fuid is not an absolute property, but
depends upon the local gravitational feld (gravitational accel-
eration on earth is g=32.2 ft/sec
) and the properties of the fuid
itself. Commonly called density when concerning gravita-
tional force, the numerical value of specifc weight (lbf/ft
) is
equal to density (lbm/ft
Elasticity is the ability of a substance to assume its original
characteristics after the removal of a force that has been applied.
Air is a perfectly elastic substance. From the scientifc defnition
of elasticity it becomes clear that a rubber band is really a very
inelastic material. If a weight is suspended from a rubber band
and left for a few hours, then the weight is removed, the rubber
band will spring back, but defnitely not to its original length. If a
force is applied to air, the force can be applied for days or years,
and when it is removed, the air will return exactly to its original
Air is compressible. Tere is an increase in pressure when air
is compressed. In the plumbing system, only an extremely small
change in pressure can be tolerated. For a pressure of 1 in. of
water column (0.036 psi), the volume of air will be compressed
400 of its original volume. Assuming an original volume of
400 ft
of air at atmospheric pressure and the application of a
pressure of 1 in. of water column, the air will be compressed by
400 = 1 ft
. It is obvious that a comparatively small change
in volume can very easily cause the accepted design limitation
of 1 in. of pressure to be exceeded with the consequent danger
of destroying the trap seals. Te vent piping must be designed to
permit the air to fow freely without compression or expansion
except for the small amount necessary to overcome friction.
Static Head
Static head is the pressure exerted at any point by the weight of
the substance above that point. Te pressure can be stated in
feet of the substance, i.e., when the substance is water the static
head is 100 ft of water, or if the substance is air, 100 ft of air. To
convert from feet of head to pounds-force per square inch:
p =
and h =
p = Pressure, lbf./in
= Specifc weight of substance, lbf/ft
h = Static head, ft
Pneumatic effectS in Sanitary SyStemS
As water fows in contact with air in vertical or horizontal piping,
there is friction between the air and water. Te frictional efect
causes the air to be dragged along with the water and at practi-
cally the same velocity as the water. When the cross-sectional
area of the water occupying the pipe is suddenly increased,
such as at the hydraulic jump or where a branch discharges into
the stack, the air passage is constricted. Tis constriction acts
exactly the same as a stoppage or a blockage to the fow of air.
Tis causes a buildup of pressure, the highest pressure occur-
ring at the constriction and diminishing upstream. It is for this
reason that excessive pressure usually develops at the lower
foors of a building and at ofsets of the stack. It is important to
always be aware that protection from the entry of sewer gases is
aforded by the 2-in. trap seal, and the design of plumbing sys-
tems must be such as to maintain pressure variations within 1
in. column of water.
rate of flow from outletS
Te velocity at which air fows out of an outlet to the atmosphere
(at the roof terminal of a stack) is due to the total pressure avail-
able in the vent pipe at the outlet. Tis pressure is the fow pres-
sure, which is equal to the static pressure less the pressure lost in
friction. Te maximum rate of discharge in practice is expressed
= c
= Actual quantity of discharge, gpm
= Ideal quantity of discharge, gpm
= Coefcient of discharge
Utilizing the formula q = AV and substituting,
= c
(2.448 d
= Outlet diameter, in.
= Ideal velocity, fps
Velocity is equal to 2gh, where g = acceleration due to gravity
and h = height (or head) of air column.
= c
(2.448 d
= c
(19.65 d
Using 0.67 as an acceptable coefcient of discharge, per Equation
Vent Systems
Reprinted from Engineered Plumbing Design II, Chapter 8: Vent Systems, by A. Calvin Laws, PE, CPD.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
2 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
= 13.17 d

Static PreSSure of air

The design criterion of maintaining pneumatic pressure
fuctuations within l in. of water column is constantly stressed
throughout this book. It should prove interesting to state this
pressure in terms of an equivalent column of air. Te formula for
any substance is, per Equation 1:
P =
P =


144 144

= Specifc weight of water, lbf/ft
= Static head of water, ft

= Specifc weight of air, lbf/ft
= Static head of air, ft
Transposing and using 1 in. of water column,

(62.408) (

A 0.07512 (at 70 F.)

= 69.23 ft of air column
A column of air 69.23 ft will exert the same pressure as a column
of water 1 in. high. Stated another way, a static head of 1 in. of
water will support a column of air 69.23 ft high.
Te rate of discharge from a vent outlet can now be determined
when the pressure at the outlet is 1 in. of water or 69.23 ft of air.
= 13.17 d

= 13.17 d

= (13.17) (8.32) d
= 109.57 d
The gallons per minute (cubic
feet per minute) discharge rate
for various diameters of vent pipe
at a fow pressure of 1 in. of water
column is given in Table 1.
friction Head loSS
When air fows in a pipe there is
a pressure loss which occurs due
to the friction between the air and
pipe wall. Tis loss of pressure can
be expressed by the Darcy formula:
h =
f L V
D2 g
h = friction head loss, ft. of air column
f = coefcient of friction
L = length of pipe, ft.
D = diameter of pipe, ft.
V = velocity of air, ft/sec
g = gravitational acceleration 32.2 ft./sec
air flow in StackS
Te complete venting of a sanitary drainage system is very
complicated as evidenced by the variety of vents employed.
Tere are so many variables that produce positive and negative
pneumatic pressure fuctuations that it is not feasible to prepare
tables of vent sizing for each particular design. Recognizing this,
authorities base the formulation of venting tables for vent stacks
and horizontal branches on the worst conditions that may rea-
sonably be expected. To determine the maximum lengths and
minimum diameters for vent stacks it would be valuable to
review the conditions of fow in the drainage stack.
At maximum design fow, the water fows down the stack as a
sheet of water occupying
24 of the cross-sectional area of the
stack. Te remaining
24 is occupied by a core of air. As the
water falls down the stack, it exerts a frictional drag on the core
of air and as this air is dragged down it must be replaced by an
equivalent quantity of air so as not to develop negative pressures
in excess of -1 in. of water. Tis is accomplished by extending
the soil stack through the roof so that air may enter the stack to
replenish the air being pulled down the stack. Tis is why stacks
must be extended full size through the roof and also why soil
stacks may not be reduced in size even though the load is less on
the upper portions of the stack than it is at the lower portions.
Any restriction in the size before terminating at the atmosphere
would cause violent pressure fuctuations.
As the water fows down the stack and enters the horizontal
drain there is a severe restriction to the fow of air as the hydrau-
lic jump occurs. Te air is compressed and pressure buildup
may become very high. A vent stack is provided in this area of
high pressure to relieve the pressure by providing an avenue for
the fow of air. Obviously, the vent stack must be large enough
to permit the maximum quantity of air dragged down the drain-
age stack to discharge through it and to the atmosphere without
exceeding 1 in. of water fuctuation Te rate of air discharge
that must be accommodated for various sizes of drainage stacks
fowing at design capacity is tabulated in Table 2.
air flow in Horizontal drainS
It is assumed that the drainage branch fows half full at design
conditions and the air in the upper half of the pipe is fowing at
the same velocity and capacity. Table 3 tabulates these values
for various slopes of drain.
Table 2 Air Required by Attendant Vent Stacks
(Drainage Stack Flowing
24 Full)
Diameter of Drainage
Stack, inches Water Flow, gpm Air Flow, gpm (cfm)
2 23.5 57.1 (7.6)
3 70.0 170.1 (22.7)
4 145.0 352.4 (47.1)
5 270.0 656.1 (87.7)
6 435.0 1057.1 (141.3)
8 920.0 2235.6 (298.9)
10 1650.0 4009.5 (536)
12 2650.0 6439.5 (860.8)
Table 1 Discharge Rates of Air
(1 Inch Water Pressure)
Outlet Diam,
Air Discharge,
gpm (cfm)
2 438.3 (58.6)
2 684.8 (91.5)
3 986.1 (131.8)
4 1753.0 (234.3)
5 2739.0 (366.1)
Table 3 Rate of Air In Horizontal Drains
Diameter of Drain,
inches per foot
Rate of Flow,
gpm (cfm)
1 6.0 (.80)
2 8.8 (1.2)
2 15.5 (2.1)
3 25.5 (3.4)
8 38.0 (5.1)
8 69.0 (9.2)
8 112.0 (15)
8 240.0 (32.1)
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 3
PermiSSible lengtH of Vent PiPe
Te maximum length of vent piping, for any particu-
lar size with a pressure drop of 1 in. of water, is estab-
lished by computing the pressure loss for various rates
of fow in vents of various diameters. Combining Dar-
cys pipe friction formula (Equation 7) and the fow
formula, and converting the terms of the equations to
units generally used in plumbing:
h =
f L V
D 2g
q = 2.448 d
V =
Substituting V in the Darcy equation,
h =
f Lq
Solving for L,
L =
h d
2226 d
0.013109 f q
f q
L = Length of pipe, ft
d = Diameter of pipe, in.
f = Coefcient of friction
q = Quantity rate of fow, gpm
graVity circulation
Te principle of gravity circulation of air is utilized
to keep the entire sanitary system free of foul odors
and the growth of slime and fungi. Te circulation is
induced by the diference in head (pressure) between
outdoor air and the air in the vent piping. Tis difer-
ence of head is due to the diference in temperature,
and thus the diference in density, of each and the
height of the air column in the vent piping. Te cool
air, being more dense, tends to displace the less dense
air of the system and circulation of the air is induced.
Te formula is
H = 0.1925 (
) H
H = Natural draft pressure, in. of water

= Specifc weight of outside air, lbf/ft

= Specifc weight of air in pipe, lbf/ft
= Height of air column or stack, ft
Under conditions of natural draft, the rate of fow will be just
great enough to overcome losses due to friction.
Vent StackS
Every drainage stack should be extended full size through the
roof. Te pipe from the topmost drainage branch connection
through the roof to atmosphere is called the vent extension.
Te vent extension provides the air that is dragged down the
stack and also provides means for the gravity circulation of air
throughout the system. Vent extensions may be connected with
the vent stack before extending through the roof or may be con-
nected together with other vent extensions or vent stacks in
a vent header and the header extended through the roof as a
single pipe.
Every drainage stack should have an attendant vent stack. Te
purpose of installing a vent stack is to prevent the development
of excessive pressures in the lower regions of the drainage stack
by relieving the air as rapidly as it is carried down by the dis-
charge of the drainage stack. Te most efective location for the
vent stack is below all drainage branch connections and pref-
erably at the top of the horizontal drain immediately adjacent
to the stack base ftting. It is at this location that pressure is at
its maximum and the danger of closure due to fouling is at its
minimum. Figure 1 illustrates acceptable methods of vent stack
Te vent stack should extend undiminished in size through
the roof or connect with the vent extension of the drainage stack
at least 6 in. above the overfow of the highest fxture or connect
to a vent header.
Vent terminalS
Vent terminals should not be located within 10 ft of any door,
window, or ventilation intake unless they are extended at least 2
ft above such openings. Terminals should be at least 6 in. above
roof level and at least 5 ft above when the roof is used for other
Figure 1 Various Vent Stack Connections
4 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: Vent Systems
purposes. When it is impractical to extend the vent through the
roof, it is permissible to terminate through a wall, but the ter-
minal must turn down and be covered with a wire screen. Te
terminal should never be located beneath a building overhang.
fixture traP VentS
Te water seal of all fxture traps should be protected against
siphonage or blowout by the proper installation of a venting
system. When drainage stacks are provided with an adequate
supply of air at the terminal and an adequate vent stack is pro-
vided to relieve excess pressures at the base of the drainage
stack, the only additional vent protection required to prevent
water seal loss in fxture traps is that necessary to prevent self-si-
phonage when the fxture discharges and to relieve excessive
pneumatic efects in the branch drains when other fxtures dis-
charge into the branch. Some municipalities require that every
fxture trap be individually vented, but most localities permit
alternate methods such as
1. Wet venting
2. Stack venting
3. Circuit and loop venting
4. Combination waste and vent venting
diStance of Vent from traP
Te most comprehensive investigations of conditions under
which fxture traps will be safe from self-siphonage have been
conducted by the National Bureau of Standards in the United
States and by the Building Research Station in England. Te rec-
ommended maximum distances of a vent from the weir of the
trap to the vent connection are tabulated in Table 4.
As illustrated in Figure 2, the vent pipe opening, except for
water closets and similar fxtures, must never be below the
weir of the fxture trap. A
fxture drain that slopes
more than one pipe diam-
eter between vent opening
and trap weir has a greater
tendency to self-siphon
the trap seal than a fxture
drain installed at a slope
of not more than one pipe
Self-Siphonage of Fix-
ture Traps, National Bureau of Standards Building Materials and
Structures Report BMS 126 (1951), prepared by John L. French
and Herbert N. Eaton, is a very thorough study of self-siphonage
Some of the conclusions drawn by French and Eaton as a result
of their investigations are very illuminating and are quoted
1. Increasing the diameter of the outlet orifce of a lavatory
from 1
8 in. to 1 in. increases the trap seal loss greatly, fre-
quently more than 100%, owing to the increased discharge
2. Flat-bottomed fxtures cause smaller trap seal losses than
do round fxtures, owing to the greater trail discharge from
the former.
3. With a 1-in. fxture trap and drain, an 1in. by 20-in. lava-
tory gave greater trap-seal losses than did a 20-in. by 24-in.
lavatory, presumably owing to the greater trail discharge of
the latter. When a 1 in. trap and drain were used, no par-
ticular diference was noted in the trap seal losses caused by
the two lavatories.
4. Te elimination of the overfow in lavatories will increase
the trap seal losses substantially.
5. Te efect on trap seal losses of varying the vertical distance
from the fxture to the trap from 6 in. to 12 in. appears to be
6. For a given rate of discharge from a lavatory, decreasing the
diameter of the drain will increase trap seal losses.
7. An increase in slope or a decrease in diameter of the fxture
drain will tend to cause increased losses due to self-siphon-
age, and these two dimensions are fully as important as the
length of fxture drain in causing self-siphonage.
8. Trap seal losses are usually much greater when a long-turn
stack ftting is used than when a short-turn or straight-tee
ftting is used. No signifcant diference between the behav-
ior of short-turn and straight-tee fttings was observed.
Tus, since it is known that a long-turn ftting is more efec-
tive in introducing water from a horizontal branch into the
stack than is either the short-turn or straight-tee ftting, the
characteristics of these fttings are contradictory in these
respects. Te ftting that is most advantageous from the
standpoint of introducing the water into the stack is the
least advantageous from the standpoint of self-siphonage.
9. Trap seal losses are increased if the internal diameter of
a P-trap is less than that of the fxture drain. Tus, if we
are to prevent excessive trap seal losses for a P-trap due to
self-siphonage, we should use a trap having a fairly large
internal diameter. Furthermore, siphonage of the trap due
to pressure reductions caused by the discharge of other fx-
tures on the system can be rendered less harmful by using
a trap with a large depth of seal. While increasing the depth
of seal may lead to greater trap seal losses, it also results in a
greater remaining trap seal than if a trap with a shallow seal
were used.
10. Te test results on the self-siphonage of water closets have
indicated that the unvented length of drain for these fxtures
need not be limited because of self-siphonage.
11. Standardization of the dimensions of fxture traps and
especially of lavatory traps, with regard to internal diameter
and depth of trap seal is highly desirable. Minor restrictions
on these dimensions can lead to substantially increased
lengths of fxture drains.
Figure 2 Vent Pipe Opening
Table 4 Distance of Vent from Fixture Traps
Size of Fixture Drain

Maximum Distance
of Vent to Trap
1 30
1 42
2 60
3 72
4 120
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 5
12. Standardization of the hydraulic characteristics of fxtures is
desirable, at least for lavatories, sinks, and combination fx-
tures. Substantially increased permissible unvented lengths
of fxture drains can be obtained for a moderate decrease in
the discharge rates of the fxtures.
13. Increase in depth of trap seal above the 2-in. minimum
commonly permitted by codes will make it possible to
increase appreciably the maximum permissible unvented
lengths of fxture drains.
Tese conclusions clearly illustrate various approaches in the
efort to make plumbing systems less costly without afecting
efciency. Te proper design of fxtures and fxture drain lines
and limiting the maximum discharge rates of faucet-controlled
fxtures could result in longer unvented lengths of drains.
VariouS metHodS of fixture traP Venting
Figure 3 illustrates various fxture trap vents and their proper
nomenclature. When venting one trap the vent is called an indi-
vidual or back vent. If fxtures are back to back or side by side
and one vent is used for the two traps, the vent is a common
vent. Any connection from the vent stack is a branch vent.
All vent piping should be graded to drain back to the drainage
piping by gravity. Te vent should be taken of above the cen-
terline of the drainpipe and rise vertically or at an angle of not
more than 45 from the vertical. Te horizontal run of the vent
should be at least 6 in. above the overfow level of the fxture.
(See Figure 4.)
relief VentS
Pressures in the drainage and vent stacks of a multistory build-
ing are constantly fuctuating. Te vent stack connection at the
base of the drainage stack and the branch vent connections to
the branch drains cannot always eliminate these fuctuations.
It then becomes extremely important to balance pressures
throughout the drainage stack by means of relief vents located
at various intervals. Te fuctuations in pressure may be caused
by the simultaneous discharge of branches on various sepa-
rated foors. Drainage stacks in buildings having more than ten
branch intervals should be provided with a relief vent at each
tenth interval, counting from the topmost branch downward.
Te lower end of the relief vent should connect to the drainage
stack below the drainage branch connection and the upper end
should connect to the vent stack at least 3 ft above the foor level.
(See Figure 5.)
Relief vents are required where a drainage stack ofsets at an
angle of more than 45 to the vertical. Such ofsets are subject
to high pneumatic pressure increases and extreme surging fow
Figure 3 Various Fixture Trap Vents
Figure 4 Horizontal Run of Vent
Figure 5 Venting for Stacks Having More Than 10 Branch Intervals
6 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: Vent Systems
conditions. Te methods of installing relief vents are illustrated
in Figure 6.
continuouS Venting
A system of individual or common vents for every trap is called
continuous venting. Every fxture trap is provided with a vent.
It is the most expensive system but provides positive protection
of all trap seals.
wet Venting
A wet vent is a vent that vents a particular fxture and at the
same time serves as a waste to receive the discharge from other
fxtures. Te objective of using wet vents is to minimize the vent
piping required by employing one pipe to serve two functions.
Tere are three fundamental rules to follow when utilizing a wet
At top foor:
1. No more than 1 FU is discharged into a 1-in. wet vent nor
more than 4 FU into a 2-in. wet vent.
2. Length of drain does not exceed maximum permissible
distance between trap and vent.
3. Branch connects to the stack at the water closet
connection level or below. (See Figure 7.)
At lower foors:
Te rules are the same except that the water closets must
be vented and the wet vent must be 2 in. minimum. Water
closets below the top story need not be individually vented
if a 2-in. wet vented waste pipe connects directly to the
upper half of the horizontal water closet drain at an angle
no greater than 45 from the angle of fow. (See Figure 8.)
Stack venting fnds its general application in one-family
homes and the top foor of multistory buildings. (See Figures 7
and 9.)
combination waSte and Vent Venting
Combination waste and vent venting is used primarily for
venting foor drains and laboratory and work tables. Te drain-
age piping is oversized at least two sizes larger than required
for draining purposes only and the drainage branch and stack
should be provided with vent piping. Tis type of venting is
employed when it is impractical to employ the other methods.
circuit and looP Venting
Tere has developed a tendency to call all circuit venting by
the name applicable to a special installation of circuit venting. A
circuit vent is a branch vent that serves two or more foor outlet
fxtures, except blowout water closets, and extends from in front
of the last fxture connection on the horizontal drain to the vent
stack. A loop vent is the same, except that it is employed on
the topmost foor serving fxtures and is connected to the vent
Figure 8 Wet Venting Below Top Floor
Figure 7 Wet Venting at Top Floor Figure 6 Venting at Stack Ofsets
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 7
extension of the drainage stack instead of to the vent stack.
(See Figure 10.) When wall outlet fxtures are connected to the
branch drain serving the foor outlet fxtures, the former must
be provided with individual vents that can connect to the circuit
vent or loop vent.
common VentS
Where two fxtures are connected to a vertical branch at the
same level, a common vent may be employed. When one of the
fxtures connects at a diferent level than the other, observe the
following procedure. If fxture drains are the same size, increase
the vertical drain one size. If fxture drains are of diferent sizes,
connect the smaller above the larger connection and maintain
the vertical size up to the top connection.
SudS PreSSure
Te prevalent use of high-sudsing detergents in washing
machines, dishwashers, laundry trays, and kitchen sinks has cre-
ated serious problems in all residential buildings and especially
in high-rise buildings. Until manufacturers are forced to market
only detergents without sudsing characteristics, the plumbing
engineer must understand and cope with the dangers created
in the sanitary system by the presence of suds. (An interesting
sidelight is that suds, in and of themselves, do not enhance the
cleaning ability of soaps or detergents in any way.)
When the fow of wastes from upper foors contains deter-
gents, the sudsingredients are vigorously mixed with the water
and air in the stack as the waste fows down the stack and further
mixing action occurs as other branch waste discharges meet this
fow. Tese suds fow down the stack and settle in the lower sec-
tions drainage system and at any ofsets greater than 45 degrees
in the stack. Investigation has shown that when sudsing wastes
are present, the sanitary and vent stacks are laden with suds and
this condition was found to exist for extended periods of time.
Liquid wastes are heavier than suds and easily fow through
the suds-loaded drainage piping without carrying the suds along
with the fow. Everyone is aware of the difculty of fushing the
suds out of a sink. Te water simply fows through the suds and
out the drain, leaving the major portion of the suds behind. Te
same action occurs in the lower sections of the drainage system
except for one important diferenceair, as well as water, is now
fowing in the piping. Tis air, which is carried down with the
waste discharge, compresses the suds and forces them to move
through any available path of relief. Te relief path may be the
building drain, any branches connected to the building drain,
the vent stack, branch vents, individual vents or combinations
of the foregoing. A path of relief may not always be available or
could be cut of or restricted by the hydraulic jump, or a path
may just be inadequate because of location or size. If one or
more of these conditions exist, excessively high suds pressure
can develop and blow the seals of traps with the accompanying
appearance of suds in fxtures.
High suds pressure zones occur at every change in direction,
vertically or horizontally, that is greater than 45. Where vent
stack base connections, relief vents, branch vents, or individual
vents serve as the relief path for the high suds pressure, they
are usually found to be inadequate in size with resultant
suds conditions appearing at the fxtures. Te vent pipe
sizing tables in practically every code are calculated on the
basis of air fow capacity and do not in any way provide
for the more demanding fow of suds. Sizes that are based
on these code tables are inadequate to accommodate suds
fow and thus are incapable of providing adequate suds
pressure relief.
Suds are much heavier than air and consequently do
not fow with the same ease. Tey produce a much greater
friction head loss for the same rate of fow. Te density of
old or regenerated suds varies from 2 lb/ft
to a high of
19 lb/ft
, depending upon the detergent used. For equal
rates of fow and pressure loss, the vent pipe diameter for
suds relief fow must be from 20 to 80% greater than for air
Whenever a soil or waste stack receives washing
machines, dishwashers, laundry trays, kitchen sinks, or
other fxtures where sudsing detergents are used, the
drainage and vent piping for the lower-foor fxtures or for
the fxtures above ofsets must be arranged to avoid con-
nection to any zone where suds pressure exists.
Suds pressure zones exist in the following areas:
1. At a soil or waste stack
ofset greater than 45: 40 stack diameters upward and 10
stack diameters horizontally from the base ftting for the
Figure 10 Circuit and Loop Venting
Figure 9 Stack Vented Unit
8 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: Vent Systems
upper stack section. A pressure zone also exists 40 stack
diameters upstream from the top ftting of the lower stack
2. At the base of a soil or waste stack: Te suds pressure zone
extends 40 stack diameters upward from the base ftting.
3. In the horizontal drain from the base of a stack: Te
suds pressure zone extends 10 stack diameters from the
base ftting, and where an ofset greater than 45 in the
horizontal occurs, the pressure zones extend 40 stack
diameters upstream and 10 diameters downstream from
the ofset ftting.
4. In a vent stack connected to a suds pressure zone: Te suds
pressure zone exists from the vent stack base connection
upward to the level of the suds pressure zone in the soil or
waste stack.
Figure 11 illustrates all the above zones.
VaPor VentS (local VentS)
Years ago water closets and urinals were equipped with con-
nections for venting the fxture to the outdoors to eliminate foul
odors. Fixture design has been improved so that these vents are
no longer required. Te use of vapor vents is now applied to
sterilizing equipment and bedpan washers. Tis application is
also rapidly disappearing as new methods of condensing the
foul vapors are being built into the equipment. When a vapor
vent is used, it must be isolated from the sanitary venting system.
Te base of a vapor vent stack should terminate in a trap, to pre-
vent the escape of vapors, and spill to a trapped, vented, and
water-supplied receptacle. Te stack should extend through
the roof.
An individual vapor vent drip can be connected through
an air gap to the inlet of the trap serving the fxture. Vapor
vents for bedpan washers and bedpan sterilizers must not
connect with the vapor vents of other fxtures.
Sizing of the vapor vent stack may be by empirical methods
or the rational approach may be used. Te minimum size of
the stack should be 1 in.
ejector and SumP VentS
Ejectors, other than the pneumatic type, operate at atmo-
spheric pressure and receive drainage discharge under grav-
ity fow conditions. An ejector is installed when the level of
fxture discharge is below the level of the public sewer. It is
convenient to view an ejector system as being exactly simi-
lar to the gravity sanitary system and all of the requirements
for the proper design of the sanitary system are applicable.
Tus, the air required to be conveyed by the vent piping is
the same as the maximum rate at which sewage enters or is
pumped out of the receiver.
Te ejector vent can be determined by reference to Equa-
tion 10:
L = 2226
) fq
and using Table 1, which gives air discharge in gpm for vari-
ous pipe diameters. It has been found in practice that 3 in. is
adequate except for extremely large installations.
froSt cloSure
Where the danger of frost closure of vent terminals is pres-
ent, the minimum size of the vent stack or vent extension
through the roof should be 3 in. When a vent stack must be
increased in size going through the roof, the increase should be
made inside the building at least 1 ft below the roof.
Te National Bureau of Standards has investigated the prob-
lem of frost closure both theoretically and experimentally. It was
demonstrated that a 3-in. vent terminal froze up solidly at -30F
only over an extended period of time. Closure occurs at the rate
of 1 in. for every 24 hr. that the temperature remains at -30F.
It can be seen that frost closure presents a real problem only
in the far northern regions. Te problem is serious in Canada,
and they have devised various methods of overcoming it:
1. Vent terminal to extend only 1 in. or 2 in. above the roof.
Te more pipe exposed to the atmosphere, the greater
the problem. Snow covering the vent terminal has proven
to cause no trouble. Te snow is porous enough for the
passage of air and melts rather rapidly at the outlet.
2. Enlargement of the stack below the roof. Te increased
diameter decreases the chance of complete closure and
the stream of air tends to fow through the enlarged
portion without touching the walls of the enlarged pipe.
3. Install cap fashing at the terminal and counterfashing to
leave an air space from the heated building.
Frost closure depends upon the: (1) outside temperature, (2)
temperature and humidity of inside air, (3) wind velocity, (4)
length of exposed pipe, (5) diameter of exposed pipe, and (6)
velocity of air fow. Tere is very little danger of frost closure
unless the outside temperature falls below -10F and remains
Figure 11 Suds Pressure Zones
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 9
there for several days. It has been found that if frost closure does
occur, siphonage of traps is reduced or prevented by connecting
the drainage and vent stacks together before extending through
the roof. An analysis of air fow under these conditions will con-
vince the plumbing engineer of its validity, as it can be seen that
air forced into the vent stack at its base will be introduced into
the soil stack at the top connection.
teStS of Plumbing SyStemS
Te complete storm and sanitary system should be subjected to
a water test and proven watertight upon completion of the rough
piping installation and prior to covering or concealment. Te
test pressure should be a minimum of a 10-ft column of water
except for the topmost 10 ft of pipe. Te test pressure should
never exceed a maximum of a 100-ft column of water. Any greater
pressure will cause the test plugs used to seal temporarily open
piping in the system to blow. If the system is higher than 100 ft,
test tees may be installed at appropriate heights so as to test the
building in sections. Very rarely in practice are more than seven
stories tested at one time.
If it is not possible to perform a water test, an air test is accept-
able. Te air test shall be made by attaching an air compressor
testing apparatus to any suitable opening, and, after closing all
other inlets and outlets to the system, forcing air into the system
until there is a uniform gage pressure of 5 psi (34.5 kPa) or a
pressure sufcient to balance a column of mercury 10 in. (254
mm) in height. Te pressure shall be held without introduction
of additional air for a period of at least 15 min.
Upon completion of the sanitary system and after all fxtures
are installed with traps flled with water, the system should be
subjected to an additional test and proved gastight.
An alternate test is the smoke test. Te smoke test is performed
by introducing pungent, thick smoke produced by smoke bombs
or smoke machines. When smoke appears at the roof terminals,
each terminal is sealed and a smoke pressure of 1-in. column of
water is maintained to prove the system gastight. Tis test is not
practical and is seldom used.
Another alternate test is the peppermint vapor test. At least 2
oz. of oil of peppermint are introduced into each roof terminal
and vaporized by immediately pouring 10 qt of boiling water
down the stack. Te terminals are promptly sealed. Oil of pepper-
mint and any person coming in contact or handling the oil must
be excluded from the interior of the building for the duration of
the test. Leakages will be detected by the peppermint odor at the
source. However, it is very difcult to pinpoint the leak by this
method. Tis test is not practical and is seldom used.
10 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
C0N7INUINC DUCA7I0N: Vent Systems

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsVent Systems (PSD 137)
About This Issues Article
The January/February 2007 continuing education article is
Vent Systems, Chapter 8 of Engineered Plumbing Design II by A.
Calvin Laws, PE, CPD.
Flow of air is the primary consideration in the design of a
venting system for the ventilation of the piping and protection
of the fixture trap seals of a sanitary drainage system. Since air
is of such primary importance, it is essential that the plumbing
engineer be familiar with certain physical characteristics that
are pertinent to its behavior in a plumbing system. This chapter
explains these fundamentals that are vital to the design of a
vent system. It also covers vent stacks, the various types of
vents and venting, the effects of suds pressure, frost closure,
and vent system pressure tests.
You may locate this article at Read
the article, complete the following exam, and submit your
answer sheet to the ASPE office to potentially receive 0.1 CEU.
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Now Online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Te following exam and application form
also may be downloaded from the Web site. Reading the article and
completing the form will allow you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit.
For most people, this process will require approximately one hour. If
you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test, you will be notifed
that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD
renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs.
(Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the acceptance
policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept on fle at
the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
1. A wet vent is ___________.
a. not allowed by most codes
b. a vent that vents a particular fxture and at the same
time serves as a waste vent to receive the discharge
from other fxtures
c. not allowed to serve water closets
d. a system of individual or common vents for every trap
2. 7he vent piping must be designed to permit the air to
a. fow freely
b. enter the piping network
c. exit the piping network
d. be compressed
3. Suds, in and of themseIves, ___________.
a. do not enhance the cleaning ability of soaps or
detergents in any way
b. are only a problem if they are allowed to accumulate in
large numbers
c. require wet venting to rinse the suds out of the drain
d. none of the above
4. 7he most expensive venting system is a ___________
a. wet vent, b. continuous vent, c. circuit vent, d. loop vent
5. Vapor vents ___________.
a. must be isolated from the sanitary venting system
b. may be connected through an air gap to the trap
serving the fxture
c. must not be connected to the vapor vents of other
types of equipment
d. all of the above
6. 7o compensate for suds density, the vent pipe for suds
reIief ow must ___________.
a. not be depended on for suds protection
b. connect to each fxture trap
c. connect 10 pipe diameters from any high pressure suds
d. be 20 percent to 80 percent larger in diameter
7. What is the primary consideration in the design of a
venting system!
a. removing odors from the sewer system
b. correctly sizing the vent piping to match the size of the
waste piping
c. the fow of air in the vent system
d. none of the above
8. For a given rate of discharge from a Iavatory, decreasing
the diameter of the drain wiII ___________.
a. increase the water discharge velocity from the fxture
b. decrease the water discharge velocity from the fxture
c. increase trap seal losses
d. prevent trap seal losses
9. Smoke tests and peppermint air tests ___________.
a. can detect the location of a leak in a vent system
b. are no longer allowed by OSHA and the EPA
c. are not practical and seldom used
d. may not be used where frost closure is expected
10. A coIumn of air 69.23 feet high exerts the same pressure
as a coIumn of water ___________ high.
a. 1 inch, b. 10 inches, c. 100 inches, d. 1,000 inches
11. A branch vent intervaI is ___________.
a. determined by the foor-to-foor height of the building
b. dependent on the arrangement of the fttings
connecting at each foor
c. at least 8 feet between branches
d. of no importance in modern plumbing systems
12. 7he maximum distance of a vent to a 2-inch-diameter
trap is ___________.
a. 30 inches, b. 42 inches, c. 60 inches, d. 72 inches
12 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Te objective in designing the water supply systems for any
project is to ensure an adequate water supply at adequate pres-
sure to all fxtures and equipment at all times and to achieve the
most economical sizing of the piping.
Tere are at least six important reasons that proper design of
water distribution systems is absolutely essential:
1. Health. Tis is of irrefutable and paramount importance.
Inadequate or improper sizing can cause decreases in
pressure in portions of the piping system, which in turn
can cause contamination of the potable water supply by
backfow or siphonage. Tere are too many well-docu-
mented deaths attributable to this cause.
2. Pressure. It is essential to maintain the required fow pres-
sures at fxtures and equipment or improper operation will
3. Flow. Proper and adequate quantities of fow must be
maintained at fxtures and equipment for obvious reasons.
4. WaterSupply. Improper sizing can cause failure of the
water supply due to corrosion or scale buildup.
5. PipeFailure. Pipe failure can occur due to the relation of
the rate of corrosion with excessive velocities.
6. Noise. Velocities in excess of 10 ft/sec will cause noise and
increase the danger of hydraulic shock.
Of all the complaints resulting from improperly designed
water systems, the two that occur most frequently are (1) lack of
adequate pressure and (2) noise.
Noise may not be detrimental to the operation of a water dis-
tribution system but it is very defnitely a major nuisance. Te
lack of adequate pressure, however, can have very serious reper-
cussions in the operation of any water system.
Flow Pressure
It is essential that the term fow pressure be thoroughly under-
stood and not confused with static pressure. Flow pressure is that
pressure that exists at any point in the system when water is fow-
ing at that point. It is always less than the static pressure. To have
fow, some of the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy
and additional energy is used in overcoming friction, which
results in a fow pressure that is less than the static pres-
When a manufacturer lists the minimum pressure
required for the proper operation of a fush valve as
25 psi, it is the fow pressure requirement that is being
indicated. Te fush valve will not function at peak
efciency (if at all) if the engineer has erroneously
designed the system so that a static pressure of 25 psi
exists at the inlet to the fush valve.
Flow at an outlet
Tere are many times when the engineer must deter-
mine how many gallons per minute are being delivered
at an outlet. Tis can easily be determined by installing
a pressure gauge in the line adjacent to the outlet and
reading the gauge while fow is occurring. With the fow pres-
sure known, the following formula can be used:
q = 20d

q = rate of fow at the outlet, gpm
d = actual inside diameter (ID) of outlet, in.
p = fow pressure, psi
Assume a faucet with a
8-in. supply and the fow pressure is
16 psi. Ten:
q = 20 (

= 20
64 4
= 11.25 gpm
Te fow for a -in. and
8-in. supply at the same pressure
would be 5 gpm and 1.25 gpm, respectively.
Constant Flow
Pressures in the various parts of the piping system are con-
stantly fuctuating depending upon the quantity of fow at any
moment. Under these conditions the rate of fow from any one
outlet will vary with the change of pressure. In industrial and
laboratory projects there is some equipment that must be sup-
plied with a fxed and steady quantity of fow regardless of line
pressure fuctuations. Tis feature is also desirable in any type
of installation.
Tis criterion can easily be achieved by the utilization of an
automatic fow-control orifce. A fow control is a simple, self-
cleaning device designed to deliver a constant volume of water
over a wide range of inlet pressures. (See Figures 1 and 2.) Te
automatic controlling mechanism consists of a fexible orifce
that varies its cross-sectional area inversely with the pressure
so that a constant fow rate is maintained under all conditions.
Until the inlet pressure reaches the threshold pressure (1215
psi), the fexible insert acts as a fxed orifce. When the thresh-
old pressure is exceeded, the cross-sectional area of the orifce
is decreased by the fexure of the insert. Tis causes a pressure
drop that is equal to whatever pressure is necessary to absorb
the energy not required to overcome system friction and to
Water System Design
Reprinted from Engineered Plumbing Design II, Chapter 13: Water System Design, by A. Calvin Laws, PE, CPD.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
Figure 1 Flow Control
Plumbing Systems & Design MARCH/APRIL 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
sustain the rated fow. Te curve shown in Figure 2 is typical of
most fow controls regardless of the rated fow, which is why no
fgures are shown for the gallons per minute axis. It is possible to
approximate the fow of a specifc fow control by using the line
marked Nominal Flow Rate as the desired rate.
Assume a piece of equipment requires the fxed
fow of 40 gpm and there is considerable line pres-
sure fuctuation. A fow control would be specifed
to deliver 40 gpm. By use of the curve in Figure 2 the
deviation from 40 gpm at various pressures can be
read by assigning a value of 40 to the nominal fow
rate line on the vertical scale and zero to the baseline.
Standard fow controls are available in sizes from
in. to 2 in. and fow rates from to 90 gpm. Tey are
ideal for use in limiting the maximum rate of fow to
any fxture.
It is not unusual in a water distribution system to
experience fuctuating discharges at fxtures and
equipment due to other fxtures and equipment start-
ing up or shutting down. Flow controls will minimize
these problems because they automatically com-
pensate for changes in the line pressure to hold the
rate of water delivery from all outlets to a preselected
number of gallons per minute. One very important
word of cautiona fow control is not designed to
perform the function of pressure regulation and
should never be used where a pressure-regulating
valve is required.
Material seleCtion
Before the type of material for the piping of a water
distribution system can be selected, certain factors
must be evaluated:
1. Te characteristics of the water supply must be
known. What is the degree of alkalinity or acidity?
A pH above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic.
A pH of 7 represents neutral water. What is the
air, carbon dioxide, and mineral content? Te
municipal water supply department can usually
furnish all this information. If it is not available,
a water analysis should be made by a qualifed
2. What are the relative costs of the various suitable
3. Ease of replacementcan the material be
obtained in a reasonable time or must it be
shipped from localities that might delay arrival
for months?
4. Actual inside dimensions of the same nominal size of vari-
ous materials difer. Tis variation in ID can have a signif-
cant efect on sizing because of the variation in quantity
rates of fow for the same design velocity. Table 1 shows the
actual ID for various materials.
5. Te roughness or smoothness (coefcient of friction) of the
pipe will have a marked efect on pipe sizes.
Parallel CirCuits
Tere are many parallel pipe circuits in the water distribution
system of any job. An arrangement of parallel pipe circuits is
one in which fow from a single branch divides and fows in
two or more branches which again join in a single pipe. Figure
3 illustrates a simple two-circuit system. Te total fow enter-
ing point A is the same leaving point A with a portion fowing
through branch 1 and the rest through branch 2. Flows q
and q

must equal q and the total pressure drop from A to B is the same
Figure 2 Flow Control Device Curve (Dole Valve)
Figure 3 Typical Parallel Pipe Circuit
Pipe Size,
Iron or Steel
Pipe, Sch.
Brass or
Copper Pipe
Copper Water
Tube, Type K
Copper Water
Tube, Type L
0.622 0.625 0.527 0.545
0.824 0.822 0.745 0.785
1 1.049 1.062 0.995 1.025
1 1.380 1.368 1.245 1.265
1 1.610 1.600 1.481 1.505
2 2.067 2.062 1.959 1.985
2 2.469 2.500 2.435 2.465
3 3.068 3.062 2.907 2.945
4 4.026 4.000 3.857 3.905
5 5.047 5.062 4.805 4.875
6 6.065 6.125 5.741 5.845
8 7.981 8.001 7.583 7.725
10 10.020 10.020 9.449 9.625
Table 1 Actual Inside Diameter of Piping,in Inches
MARCH/APRIL 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
whichever branch is traversed. Te rate of fow through each
branch becomes such as to produce this equal pressure drop.
Te division of fow in each branch can then be expressed as:

2 L
Assume there is a fow in a 3in. pipe of 160 gpm entering
point A and leaving point B as shown in Figure 4. Te length of
branch 1 is 20 ft and branch 2 is 100 ft. Te size of branch 1 is
2 in. and branch 2 is 3 in. To determine the quantity of fow in
each branch, the basic formula is applied, and:

2 20 3
= 5 (.66)
= 5 0.125
= 0.79
= 0.79q
since q
+ q
= 160
then 0.79q
+ q
= 160
= 160
= 89.4 gpm
and q
= 160 - 89.4 = 70.6 gpm
or q
= 0.79 89.4 = 70.6 gpm
inadequate Pressure
As previously noted, lack of adequate pressure is one of the most
frequent complaints and could be the cause of serious troubles.
Te pressure available for water distribution within a building
can come from various sources. Municipalities usually maintain
water pressure in their distribution mains within the range of
3545 psi. Tere are localities where the pressure maintained is
much less or greater. Te local utility will furnish the information
as to their minimum and maximum operating pressures. When
utilizing only the public water main pressure for the water dis-
tribution system within a building, it is very important to deter-
mine the pressure available in the mains during the summer
months. Huge quantities of water are used during this period
for sprinkling of lawns and for air-conditioning cooling tower
makeup water, which usually cause excessive pres-
sure loss in the mains. Future growth of the area
must also be analyzed. If large housing, commer-
cial, or industrial development is anticipated, the
pressure available will certainly decrease as these
loads are added to the public mains. It is good
practice to assume a pressure available for design
purposes as 10 psi less than the utility quotes.
If the pressure from the public mains is inade-
quate for building operation, other means must be
provided for increasing the pressure to an adequate
level. Tere are three basic methods available:
1. Gravity tank system
2. Hydropneumatic tank system
3. Booster pump system
Each system has its own distinct and special
advantages and disadvantages. All three should be
evaluated in terms of capital expenditure, operat-
ing costs, maintenance costs, and space require-
ments. Depending upon which criteria are the most important,
this will dictate which system is selected.
Flow deFinitions
Maximum fow or maximum possible fow is the fow that will
occur if the outlets on all fxtures are opened simultaneously.
Average fow is that fow likely to occur in the piping under
normal conditions. Maximum probable fow is the maximum
fow that will occur in the piping under peak conditions. It is
also called peak demand or peak fow.
deMand tyPes
Some outlets impose what is called a continuous demand on
the system. Tey are diferentiated from outlets that impose an
intermittent demand. Outlets such as hose bibbs, lawn irriga-
tion, air-conditioning makeup, water cooling, and similar fow
requirements are considered to be continuous demands. Tey
occur over an extended period of time. Plumbing fxtures draw
water for a relatively short period of time and are considered as
imposing an intermittent demand.
Each fxture has its own singular loading efect on the system,
which is determined by the rate of water supply required,
the duration of each use, and the frequency of use. Te water
demand is related to the number of fxtures, type of fxtures, and
probable simultaneous use.
estiMating deMand
Te basic requirements for estimating demand call for a
method that
1. Produces estimates that are greater than the average
demand for all fxtures or inadequate supply will result
during periods of peak demand.
2. Produces an accurate estimate of the peak demand to
avoid oversizing.
3. Produces estimates for demand of groups of the same type
of fxtures as well as for mixed fxture types.
design loads
Arriving at a reasonably accurate estimate of the maximum
probable demand is complicated due to the intermittent opera-
tion and irregular frequency of use of fxtures. Diferent kinds
of fxtures are not in uniform use. Bathroom fxtures are most
frequently used on arising or retiring and, not surprisingly,
during television commercials. Kitchen sinks fnd heavy usage
Figure 4 Example of Division of Flow in a Parallel Pipe Circuit
Plumbing Systems & Design MARCH/APRIL 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
before and after meals. Laundry trays and washing machines
are most likely to be used in the late morning. During the period
from midnight to 6 P.M. there is very little fxture use. Luckily,
fxtures are used intermittently and the total time in operation is
relatively small so it is not necessary to design for the maximum
potential load. Maximum fow is therefore of no real interest to
the designer. Average fow is also of no concern, for if a system
were designed to meet this criterion it would not satisfy the con-
ditions under peak fow. It is therefore necessary to consider
only the maximum probable demand (peak demand) imposed
by the fxtures on a system.
Two methods have evolved in the United States that, when
used where applicable, have proven to give satisfactory results.
Tey are the empirical method and method of probability. Te
empirical method is based upon arbitrary decisions arrived at
from experience and judgment. It is useful only for small groups
of fxtures. Te method of probability is based upon the theory
of probabilities and is most accurate for large groups of fxtures.
In the past, certain demand rates became generally accepted
as standard. Tese rates are tabulated in Table 2 for the common
types of fxtures and the average pressure necessary to deliver
this rate of fow. Te actual pressure for a specifc fxture will
vary with each manufacturers design, some requiring a greater
or lesser pressure than others.
Although the fow rates shown in Table 2 have been used by
engineers, they are hopelessly outdated. Water conservation
measures being mandated by federal regulations and model
codes make the fow rates shown in Table 2 unreasonable for
use in the design of systems. Te federal Energy Policy Act
(EPACT92) established the following criteria for water use by
Water closets: 1.6 gal/fush
Urinals: 1.5 gal/fush
Showers: 2.5 gpm
Lavatories: 2.5 gpm
Sinks: 2.5 gpm
Manufacturers ofer fxtures meeting these and more stringent
requirements. Lavatories with 0.5 gpm fow rates and urinals
with 1.0 gal/fush have been installed in thousands of buildings
with satisfactory results. However, there is a need for research
to determine the actual minimum fow required, for each type
of fxture, to satisfy psychological requirements of the user and
provide the necessary sanitary requirements.
water suPPly Fixture units
A standard method for estimating the water demand for a build-
ing has evolved through the years and has been accepted almost
unanimously by plumbing designers. It is a system based on
weighting fxtures in accordance with their water supply load-
producing efects on the water distribution system. Te National
Bureau of Standards has published report BMS 65, Methods of
Estimating Loads in Plumbing Systems, by the late Dr. Roy B.
Hunter, which gives tables of load-producing characteristics
(fxture unit weights) of commonly used fxtures, along with
probability curves that make it possible to apply the method
easily to actual design problems.
Te method of probability should not be used for a small
number of fxtures. Although the design load, as computed by
this method, has a certain probability of not being exceeded,
it may nevertheless be exceeded on rare occasions. When a
system contains only a few fxtures, the additional load imposed
by one fxture more than has been calculated by the theory of
probability can easily overload the system. When a system con-
tains a large number of fxtures, one or several additional fxture
loadings will have an insignifcant efect on the system.
In developing the application of the theory of probability to
determine design loads on a domestic water distribution system,
Hunter assumed that the operation of the fxtures in a plumb-
ing system could be viewed as purely random events. He then
determined the maximum frequencies of use of the fxtures. He
obtained the values of the frequencies from records collected
in hotels and apartment houses during the periods of heaviest
usage. He also determined characteristic values of the average
rates of fow for diferent fxtures and the time span of a single
operation of each.
If only one type of fxture were used in a building, the appli-
cation of the theory of probability would be very simple and
straightforward. When dealing with systems composed of
various types of fxtures that must be combined, the process
becomes extremely involved and too complicated to be of any
practical use. Faced with this dilemma, Hunter devised an inge-
nious method to circumvent the problem by a simple process
which yields results within % accuracy of the more involved
and laborious calculations required. He conceived the idea of
assigning fxture loading factors or fxture unit weights to
the diferent kinds of fxtures to represent the degree to which
they loaded a system when used at their maximum assumed
frequency. A fxture unit weight of 10 was arbitrarily assigned
by Hunter to a fush valve, and all other fxtures were assigned
values based on their load-producing efect in relation to the
fush valve. All fxtures have been converted, in essence, to one
fxture type and the application of the theory of probability is
greatly simplifed.
Hunter assigned water supply fxture unit (FU) values for dif-
ferent kinds of fxtures, which are given in Table 3. Conversion
of fxture unit values to equivalent gallons per minute, based on
the theory of probability of usage developed by Hunter, is given
in Table 4. A graphic representation of this table is shown by
Figures 5 and 6 (Hunters Curve). Figure 7 gives a graphic rep-
resentation of the conversion from fxture units to gallons per
minute for a mixed system. An examination of the curves and
tables reveals that demand for a system utilizing fush valves is
much greater than that for fush tanks for small quantities. Te
diference in demand for each system decreases as the fxture
unit load increases until 1,000 FUs are reached. At this loading
and beyond, the demand for both types of systems is the same.
Fixture Flow Pressure,
Flow Rate,
Ordinary lavatory faucet 8 3.0
Self-closing lavatory faucet 12 2.5
Sink faucet,
8 in. 10 4.5
Sink faucet, in. 5 4.5
Bathtub faucet 5 6.0
Laundry tub faucet, in. 5 5.0
Shower head 12 5.0
Water closet fush tank 15 3.0
Water closet fush valve, 1 in. 1025 1545
Urinal fush valve, in. 15 15.0
Hose bibb or sill cock, in. 30 5.0
Table 2 Demand at Individual Fixtures and Required
MARCH/APRIL 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
Fixture or Group Occupancy
Type of Supply
Fixture Units
Hot Cold Total
Water closet Public Flush valve 10 10
Water closet Public Flush tank 5 5
Pedestal urinal Public Flush valve 10 10
Stall or wall urinal Public Flush valve 5 5
Stall or wall urinal Public Flush tank 3 3
Lavatory Public Faucet 1.5 1.5 2
Bathtub Public Faucet 3 3 4
Shower head Public Mixing valve 3 3 4
Service sink Ofce, etc. Faucet 3 3 4
Kitchen sink Hotel or restaurant Faucet 3 3 4
Water closet Private Flush valve 6 6
Water closet Private Flush tank 3 3
Lavatory Private Faucet .75 .75 1
Bathtub Private Faucet 1.5 1.5 2
Shower head Private Mixing valve 1.5 1.5 2
Bathroom group Private Flush valve W.C. 2.25 6 8
Bathroom group Private Flush tank W.C. 2.25 4.5 6
Separate shower Private Mixing valve 1.5 1.5 2
Kitchen sink Private Faucet 1.5 1.5 2
Laundry tray Private Faucet 2 2 3
Combination fxture Private Faucet 2 2 3
Table 3 Demand Weight of Fixtures, in Fixture Units
Figure 6 Conversion of Fixture Units to gpm (enlarged scale)
Figure 5 Conversion of Fixture Units to gpm
Fixture Units
(Load), gpm
System with
Flush Tanks
(Load), gpm
System with
Flush Valves
1 0
2 1
3 3
4 4
5 6
6 5
8 6.5
10 8 27
12 9 29
14 11 30
16 12 32
18 13 33
20 14 35
25 17 38
30 20 41
35 23 44
40 25 47
45 27 49
50 29 52
60 32 55
70 35 59
80 38 62
90 41 65
100 44 68
120 48 73
140 53 78
160 57 83
180 61 87
200 65 92
225 70 97
250 75 101
275 80 106
300 85 110
400 105 126
500 125 142
750 170 178
1,000 208 208
1,250 240 240
1,500 267 267
1,750 294 294
2,000 321 321
2,250 348 348
2,500 375 375
2,750 402 402
3,000 432 432
4,000 525 525
5,000 593 593
6,000 643 643
7,000 685 685
8,000 718 718
9,000 745 745
10,000 769 769
Table 4 Conversion of Fixture Units to
Equivalent gpm
Plumbing Systems & Design MARCH/APRIL 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
For hot water piping and where there are no fush valves on
the cold water piping, the demand corresponding to a given
number of fxture units is determined from the values given for
the fush tank system.
Te accuracy of Hunters curve, however, has come into seri-
ous question. Results utilizing the curve have proven to be as
much as 100% infated in some instances. Te consistent overde-
sign, however, should in no way be interpreted as indicating that
Hunters basic research and approach are incorrect.
His method is demonstrably accurate, but it must be remem-
bered that his basic assumptions and criteria were promulgated
more than 60 years ago. Many things have changed, and changed
drastically, in the interim. Improvements have been made in
fush valve design as well as in faucets and fxtures. Social cus-
toms and living patterns have changed. Te public emphasis on
water and energy conservation has altered many basic criteria.
It is now necessary to change some of Hunters basic assump-
tions (but not his concept).
It has been demonstrated by thousands of projects operating
satisfactorily that it is safe to reduce the values obtained by use
of Hunters curve by 40%. It is stressed again that this reduction
can be applied only for systems with a large number of fxtures.
Te opposite is true for water use in toilet facilities where large
numbers of people gather, such as sport facilities and auditori-
ums. In these types of facilities, demand fow rates will exceed
those determined by Hunters curve because many people will
use the toilet rooms during breaks in the game or performance.
Te student is again warned to use the table of fxture unit
values in the code applicable to the locality of the project. Te
values vary slightly from code to code. Te student is also alerted
to the fact that water supply fxture units are not the same as
drainage fxture unit values. Te discharge rates of cer-
tain fxtures are entirely diferent from the rate at which
water is supplied, e.g., bathtubs. Te loading efect is
therefore diferent on the drainage system than it is on
the water supply system for specifc fxtures.
For supply outlets that are likely to impose continuous
demands, estimate the continuous demand separately
from the intermittent demand and add this amount in
gallons per minute to the demand of the fxtures in gal-
lons per minute.
It should be kept in mind when calculating maxi-
mum probable demands that, except for continuous
demands, fxture unit values are always added, never
gpm values. For example, if the maximum probable
demand for two branches is required and one branch
has a load of 1250 FU and the other 1750 FU, it would be
wrong to add 240 gpm + 294 gpm to obtain 534 gpm for
the total demand. Te correct procedure is to add 1250
FU + 1750 FU to obtain a total FU value of 3000 and then
from Table 4 determine the correct peak demand as 432
gpm. Te 432 gpm value refects the proper application
of the theory of probability.
Te following example illustrates the procedure for
sizing a system.
Example 1
Determine the peak demands for hot and cold and
total water for an ofce building that has 60 fush valve
water closets, 12 wall hung urinals, 40 lavatories, and
2 hose bibbs and requires 30 gpm for air-conditioning
water makeup.
From Table 3 determine the FU values:
Hot Water Cold Water Total (Hot & Cold)
60 WC 10 600 600
12 UR 5 60 60
40 Lavs 2 80
40 Lavs 1.5 60 60
60 FU 720 FU 740 FU
From Table 4 or Figure 5:
60 FU = 32 gpm hot water demand
720 FU = 174 gpm cold water demand
740 FU = 177 gpm total water demand
To the cold water and total water demand must be added the
continuous demand:
2 hose bibbs 5 (from Table 2) = 10 gpm
Air-conditioning makeup = 30 gpm
40 gpm
Hot water demand: = 32 gpm
Cold water demand: 174 + 40 = 214 gpm
Total water demand: 177 + 40 = 217 gpm
Te conversion of fxture unit loads to equivalent gallons
per minute demand was obtained from Table 4 using straight
line interpolations to obtain intermediate values. Total water
demand is required for sizing the water service line for the
building and also for the cold water piping inside the build-
ing up to the point where the connection is taken of to the hot
water heater supply.
Figure 7 Conversion of Fixture Units to gpm (Mixed System)
MARCH/APRIL 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
About This Issues Article
The March/April 2007 continuing education article is Water
System Design, Chapter 13 of Engineered Plumbing Design II by
A. Cal Laws, PE, CPD.
The objective in designing the water supply systems for
any project is to ensure an adequate water supply at adequate
pressure to all fixtures and equipment at all times and to
achieve the most economical sizing of the piping. There are at
least six important reasons why proper design of water distri-
bution systems is absolutely essential: health, pressure, flow,
water, pipe failure, and noise. This chapter describes how to
design an effective water system keeping these factors in mind,
focusing on pressure, flow, and demand.
You may locate this article at Read
the article, complete the following exam, and submit your
answer sheet to the ASPE office to potentially receive 0.1 CEU.

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsWater System Design (PSD 138)
1. The fow of water through two parallel circuits of
diferent pipe sizes results in a pressure loss _________.
a. of equal proportions in each circuit
b. higher in the circuit with the smaller pipe size
c. lower in the circuit with the larger pipe size
d. that is double compared to a single piping run
. The accuracy of Hunters Curve has been proven to be
_________ percent infated.
a. 25
b. 50
c. 75
d. 100
. The coefcient of friction is the measurement of _______
in piping.
a. pressure drop
b. velocity
c. roughness or smoothness
d. none of the above
. Flow rates shown in Figure are _________.
a. generally accepted by system designers
b. hopelessly outdated
c. unreasonable for use in designing systems
d. b and c
. Pipe failure can be caused by corrosion from _________.
a. contaminated water
b. excessive velocities
c. softened water
d. hot water
. The actual inside diameter of -inch Type K copper
tube is _________.
a. 2.435 inches
b. 2.465 inches
c. 2.469 inches
d. 2.500 inches
. The empirical method is _________.
a. based on arbitrary decisions
b. cannot be duplicated
c. allowed only by the most out-of-date codes
d. used only by the most senior and the most junior of
8. Research is required to _________.
a. determine the actual minimum fow required for each
fxture type
b. satisfy the psychological requirements of the users
c. provide the necessary sanitary requirements
d. all of the above
9. The pressure that exists in a piping network at any point
when water is fowing is considered _________.
a. static Pressure
b. residual Pressure
c. fow pressure
d. none of the above
10. The probability method _________.
a. works for all plumbing systems
b. unanimously accepted by plumbing engineers
c. should not be used for small numbers of fxtures
d. a and b
11. The two methods of sizing domestic water, empirical
method and method of probability, _________.
a. are contradictory
b. give satisfactory results
c. cannot be relied upon
d. have been replaced by computer-based methods
1. An automatic fow control orifce is designed to _______.
a. regulate pressure
b. deliver constant fow
c. restrict pressure
d. increase pressure
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Now Online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Te following exam and application form
also may be downloaded from the website. Reading the article and
completing the form will allow you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit.
For most people, this process will require approximately one hour. If
you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test, you will be notifed
that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD
renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs.
(Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the acceptance
policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept on fle at
the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
8 Plumbing Systems & Design MARCH/APRIL 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Private Sewage
Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
With the ever-increasing cost of land located in proximity to
urban centers, more and more construction is being imple-
mented in outlying areas. Sanitary sewers are not usually avail-
able in these remote locations and it becomes necessary for the
plumbing engineer to design private sewage systems to handle
the wastes from buildings. Before the rapid escalation of land
values, most private sanitary disposal systems were used almost
exclusively for private residences. It is estimated that 15 mil-
lion such systems are presently in use in the United States. Of
greater signifcance, roughly 25% of all new home construction
now employs the septic tanksoil absorption sewage disposal
Where the concentration of population is not sufcient to
economically justify the installation of public sewer systems,
installation of a septic tank in conjunction with a subsurface soil
absorption feld has proven to be an exceptionally satisfactory
method of sewage disposal. When properly designed, installed,
operated, and maintained, it compares very favorably with the
most sophisticated municipal sewage treatment plants.
In 1946, the U.S. Public Health Service, in cooperation with
other federal agencies involved in housing, embarked upon a
fve-year study to establish criteria for the design, installation,
and maintenance of the septic tank. Most of the information in
this chapter is freely drawn from that study and a later report
issued in 1967.
Sewage SyStem Criteria
Te proper disposal of sewage is a major factor afecting the
health of the public. When improper or inadequate disposal
of sewage occurs, many diseases, such as dysentery, infectious
hepatitis, typhoid, paratyphoid, and various types of diarrhea
are transmitted through contamination of food and water. To
avoid such hazards, any system of sewage disposal must meet
the following criteria:
It must not contaminate any drinking water supply.
It must not be accessible to insects, rodents, or other
possible carriers that might come in contact with food or
drinking water.
It must not be accessible to children.
It must not violate laws or rules and regulations governing
water pollution or sewage disposal.
It must not pollute or contaminate the waters of any bath-
ing beach, shellfsh breeding ground, or any stream used
for public or private water supply or for recreational pur-
It must not become malodorous or unsightly in appear-
All these criteria are admirably fulflled by a public sewage dis-
posal system. Every efort should be made to utilize such facili-
ties if at all possible. When public sewers are not available, some
other satisfactory method must be employed.
Any method of sewage disposal is merely an attempt to com-
plete the hydrologic cycle, or as it is now popularly called, the
ecological cycle. Contaminated water (wastes) of undesirable
quality is received and, after processing, returned at an accept-
able level of quality. Te systems to be discussed are those that
return the waste water to the soil and ultimately to the ground
water (water table).
Tere are presently two systems that return waste water to the
soil. Tey are the cesspool and the septic tanksoil absorption
A cesspool is nothing more than a covered pit with an open-
jointed or perforated lining into which raw sewage is discharged.
Te liquid portion of the sewage is disposed by seepage or leach-
ing into the porous soil surrounding the cesspool. Te solids
(sludge) are retained in the pit.
A cesspool fnds its greatest application in receiving the efu-
ent from one-family homes and it is not recommended even
for this use. Te raw sewage tends to seal the openings in the
pit lining as well as the surrounding soil, thus necessitating fre-
quent visits from the honey dippers (cesspool cleaning ser-
vices). Cloggage may become so severe that complete abandon-
ment of the existing cesspool and the construction of a new pit
is often necessary. A cesspool should never be recommended as
a substitute for a septic tank with a soil absorption feld.
A seepage pit (discussed in another portion of this chapter)
should never be confused with a cesspool. Although the con-
struction is the same for both, a seepage pit receives the efu-
ent from a septic tank (where the solids have been liquifed),
whereas a cesspool receives raw sewage.
SeptiC tankS
A septic tank is a liquid-tight structure, with inlet and outlet
connections, which receives raw sewage. It is basically a sewage
settling tank in which raw sewage is retained for a specifed
period of time, usually 24 hr. Te primary purpose of the septic
tank is to act as a settling tank and to break up solids so that the
resulting efuent will not clog the pores of the soil in the leach-
ing feld. Very little purifcation is accomplished in the tank; the
actual treatment and digestion of harmful waste materials takes
place in the ground after discharge from the tank.
Tree functions are performed by a septic tank to produce an
efuent suitable for acceptance by a subsoil absorption system
of sewage disposal: (1) removal of solids, (2) biological treat-
ment, and (3) sludge and scum storage.
removal of SolidS
Clogging of the soil varies directly with the amount of suspended
solids in the liquid. Te rate of fow entering the septic tank is
reduced within the tank so that solids sink to the bottom or rise
to the surface of the liquid in the tank. Tese solids are retained
and the clarifed efuent is discharged.
Private Sewage
Disposal Systems
Reprinted from Engineered Plumbing Design II, Chapter 21: Private Sewage Disposal Systems, by A. Calvin Laws, PE, CPD.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
Plumbing Systems & Design MAY/JUNE 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Solids and liquid in the tank are exposed to bacterial and
natural processes, which decompose them. Te bacteria pres-
ent in the wastes are of the anaerobic type, which thrives in the
absence of oxygen. Decomposition of the sewage under anaer-
obic conditions is termed septic and it is from this the tank
derives its name.
After such biological action, the efuent causes less clogging
of the soil than untreated sewage containing the same quantity
of suspended solids.
Sludge and SCum Storage
Sludge is an accumulation of solids at the bottom of the tank.
Scum is a partially submerged foating mat of solids that forms
at the surface of the liquid in the tank. Te sludge is digested and
compacted into a smaller volume. Te same action occurs with
the scum but to a lesser degree. Regardless of the efciency of
the operation of the septic tank, a residual of inert solid mate-
rial will always remain. Adequate space must be provided in the
tank to store this residue during the intervals between cleanings.
Sludge and scum will fow out of the tank with the efuent and
clog the disposal feld in a very short period of time if pumping
out of the residue is not performed when required.
Septic tanks are eminently efective in performing their pur-
pose when adequately designed, constructed, operated, and
maintained. Tey do not accomplish a high degree of bacte-
ria removal. Although the sewage undergoes some treatment
in passing through the tank, infectious agents present in the
sewage are not removed. Te efuent of a septic tank cannot be
considered safe. In many respects, the discharged liquid is more
objectionable than the infuent because it is septic and mal-
odorous. Tis should not be construed in any way as detracting
from the value of the tank because its primary purpose is simply
to condition the raw sewage so that it will not clog the disposal
Continued treatment and the removal of pathogens are
accomplished by percolation through the soil. Disease-produc-
ing bacteria will die out after a time in the unfavorable environ-
ment of the soil. Bacteria are also removed by physical forces
during fltration through the soil. Tis combination of factors
achieves the eventual purifcation of the septic tank efuent.
SeptiC tank loCation
Te location of the septic tank should be chosen so as not to
cause contamination of any well, spring, or other source of
water supply. Underground contamination can travel in any
direction for considerable distances unless efectively fltered.
Tanks should never be closer than 50 ft to any source of water
supply and, where possible, greater distances are preferable.
Tey should be located where the largest possible area will be
available for the disposal feld and should never be located in
swampy areas subject to fooding. Ease of maintenance and
accessibility for cleaning are important factors to be considered.
When it is anticipated that public sewers will be available in the
future, provisions should be made for the eventual connection
of the house sewer to such a public source.
tank CapaCity
Studies have proven that liberal tank capacity is not only desir-
able from a functional viewpoint but is good economical design
practice. Te liquid capacities recommended in Table 1 make
allowances for all household appliances including garbage
tank material
Septic tanks must be watertight and constructed of materials
not subject to excessive corrosion or decay. Acceptable materi-
als are concrete, coated metal, vitrifed clay, heavyweight con-
crete blocks, or hard-burned bricks. Properly cured precast and
cast-in-place, reinforced concrete are believed to be acceptable
everywhere. Local codes should be checked as to the acceptabil-
ity of the other materials. Steel tanks conforming to U.S. Depart-
ment of Commerce Standard 177-62 are generally acceptable.
Precast tanks should have a minimum wall thickness of 3 in. and
should be adequately reinforced to facilitate handling. When
precast slabs are used as covers, they should be watertight, at
least 3 in. thick and adequately reinforced. All concrete surfaces
should be coated with a bitumastic paint or similar compound
to minimize corrosion.
tank aCCeSS
Access should be provided to each compartment of the tank for
cleaning and inspection by means of a removable cover or a 20-
in. minimum size manhole. When the top of the tank is more
than 18 in. below grade, manholes and inspection holes should
be extended to approximately 8 in. below grade. Tey can be
extended to grade if a seal is provided to prevent the escape of
tank inlet
Te invert elevation of the inlet should be at least 3 in. above
the liquid level in the tank. Tis will allow for momentary surges
during discharge from the house sewer into the tank and also
prevent the backup and stranding of solids in the piping enter-
ing the tank.
A vented inlet tee or bafe should be provided to direct the
infuent downward. Te outlet of the tee should terminate at
least 6 in. below the liquid level but in no case should it be lower
than the bottom of the outlet ftting or device.
tank outlet
Te outlet ftting or device should penetrate the liquid level
just far enough to provide a balance between the sludge and
scum storage volumes. Tis will assure usage of the maximum
available tank capacity. A properly operating tank divides itself
into three distinct layers: scum at the top, a middle layer free of
solids (clear space), and sludge at the bottom layer. While the
outlet tee or device retains the scum in the tank, it also limits the
amount of sludge that can be retained without passing some of
the sludge out with efuent.
Data collected from feld observation of sludge accumulations
indicate that the outlet device should extend to a distance below
the liquid level equal to 40% of the liquid depth. For horizontal
cylindrical tanks the percentage should be 35. Te outlet device
or tee should extend up to within 1 in. of the top of the tank for
venting purposes. Te space between the top of the tank and
Table 1 Liquid Capacity of Tank (gal)
(provides for use of garbage grinders, automatic clothes
washers, and other household appliances)
Number of
Minimum Tank
Capacity per
2 or less 750 375
3 900 300
1000 250
a For each additional bedroom, add 250 gal.
MAY/JUNE 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
the bafe permits gas to pass through the tank into the building
sanitary system and eventually to atmosphere where it will not
cause a nuisance.
tank Shape
Available data indicate that for tanks of a given capacity and
depth, the shape of a septic tank is unimportant and that shal-
low tanks function equally as well as deep ones. It is recom-
mended, however, that the minimum plan dimension be 2 ft
and the liquid depth range from 30 to 60 in.
SCum Storage SpaCe
Space is required above the level of the liquid in the tank for the
accumulated scum, which foats on top of the liquid. Although
there is some variation, approximately 30% of the total amount
of scum will accumulate above the liquid level and 70% will be
submerged. In addition to the scum storage space, 1 in. should
be provided at the top of the tank for free passage of gas through
the tank back to the inlet and building drainage system.
For tanks with vertical walls, the distance between the top of
the tank and the liquid level should be approximately 20% of the
liquid depth. For horizontal cylindrical tanks, the liquid depth
should be 79% of the diameter of the tank. Tis will provide an
open area at the top of the tank equal to 15% of the total cross-
sectional area of the tank.
Although a number of arrangements are possible, compart-
ments refer to the number of units in series. Tey can be sepa-
rate units connected together or sections enclosed in one con-
tinuous shell with watertight partitions separating the individual
A single-compartment tank gives acceptable performance,
but available research data indicate that a two-compartment
tank with the frst compartment equal to to
3 of the total
volume provides better suspended solids removal. Tanks with
three or more equal compartments perform about on an equal
basis with a single-compartment tank of the same
total capacity. Te use of a more than two-compart-
ment tank is therefore not recommended. All the
requirements of construction stated previously for
a single-compartment tank apply to the two-com-
partment tank. Each compartment should be pro-
vided with an access manhole and venting between
compartments for the free passage of gas.
Figure 1 illustrates all the salient features of a
typical two-compartment septic tank.
Cleaning of tankS
Before too much sludge or scum is allowed to accu-
mulate, septic tanks should be cleaned to prevent
the passage of sludge or scum into the disposal
feld. Tanks should be inspected at least once a year
and cleaned when necessary.
Cleaning is usually accomplished by pumping
the contents of the tank into a tank truck. A small
residual of sludge should be left in the tank for
seeding purposes. Tanks should never be washed
or disinfected after cleaning.
ChemiCal additiveS
Te operation of a septic tank is not improved in
any way whatsoever by the addition of chemicals;
and such additions are not recommended. Some products
that claim to clean septic tanks contain sodium hydroxide or
potassium hydroxide as the active agent. Such compounds may
result in sludge bulking and a sharp increase in alkalinity, which
may interfere with digestion. Te efuent may severely damage
the soil structure of the disposal feld and cause accelerated
clogging even though some immediate temporary relief may be
experienced shortly after application of the product.
On the other hand, ordinary household chemicals in general
use around the home will not have a harmful efect on the oper-
ation of a septic tank. Small amounts of chorine bleach or small
quantities of lye or caustic are not objectionable. If tanks are
sized as recommended herein, the dilution of the lye or caus-
tics in the tank will be enough to minimize any harmful efects.
Soaps, detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners, etc., will have no
appreciable adverse efect on the system. However, since both
the soil and the organisms might be susceptible to large doses
of chemicals, moderation is recommended.
Toilet paper substitutes, paper towels, newspaper, wrapping
paper, rags, and sticks should not be introduced into the septic
tank. Tey may not decompose and are likely to lead to clogging
of the disposal feld.
Backwash from a household water-softening unit has no
adverse efect on the operation of a septic tank, but may cause a
slight shortening of life of the disposal feld installed in a struc-
tured clay type soil.
SeptiC tankS for nonreSidential BuildingS
Table 1 gives the liquid capacity of tanks on the basis of the
number of bedrooms. When designing a septic tank for other
types of buildings, Table 2 may be used to estimate the quantity
of sewage fow. Te quantities listed are merely the best aver-
ages presently available and should be modifed in localities or
establishments where available information indicates a need to
do so.
Figure 1 Precast Septic Tank
Plumbing Systems & Design MAY/JUNE 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Private Sewage Disposal Systems
Te retention period of the sewage in a septic tank should be
24 hr. Table 2 gives the gallons per person per day (24 hr). Te
required liquid capacity of the tank can then be determined by
multiplying the values given in the table by the estimated popu-
Tables 3 and 4 give daily gallonages in terms of fxtures for
country clubs and public parks, respectively.
SuBSurfaCe Soil aBSorption SyStem
Criteria for deSign
Te frst step in the design of a subsurface soil absorption
sewage disposal system is to determine whether the soil is suit-
able for the absorption of the septic tank efuent. If it is, the next
step is to determine the area required for the disposal feld. Te
soil must have an acceptable percolation rate and should have
adequate clearance from ground water. In general, two criteria
must be met:
1. Te percolation rate should be within the range shown in
Table 5 or Table 6.
2. Te maximum elevation of the groundwater table should
be at least 4 ft below the bottom of the trench or seepage
pit. Rock formation or other impervious strata should be at
a depth of more than 4 ft below the bottom of the trench or
seepage pit.
Table 2 Quantities of Sewage Flows
Type of Establishment
Gallons Per Person Per Day
(unless otherwise noted)
Airports (per passenger) 5
Apartmentsmultiple family (per resident) 60
Bathhouses and swimming pools 10
Campground with central comfort stations 35
With fush toilets, no showers 25
Construction camps (semi-permanent) 50
Day camps (no meals served) 15
Resort camps (night and day) with limited plumbing 50
Luxury camps 100
Cottages and small dwellings with seasonal occupancy 50
Country clubs (per resident member) 100
Country clubs (per non-resident member present) 25
Boarding houses 50
additional for non-resident boarders 10
Luxury residences and estates 150
Multiple-family dwellings (apartments) 60
Rooming houses 40
Single-family dwellings 75
Factories (gallons/person/shift, exclusive of industrial wastes) 35
Hospitals (per bed space) 250
Hotels with private baths (2 persons per room) 60
Hotels without private baths 50
Institutions other than hospitals (per bed space) 125
Laundries, self service (gal/wash, i.e., per customer) 50
Mobile home parks (per space) 250
Motels with bath, toilet, and kitchen wastes (per bed space) 50
Motels (per bed space) 40
Picnic parks (toilet wastes only) (per picknicker) 5
Picnic parks with bathrooms, showers, and fush toilets 10
Restaurants (toilet and kitchen wastes per patron) 10
Restaurants (kitchen wastes per meal served) 3
Restaurants, additional for bars and cocktail lounges 2
Boarding 100
Day, without gyms, cafeterias, or showers 15
Day, with gyms, cafeterias, and showers 25
Day, with cafeterias, but without gyms or showers 20
Service stations (per vehicle served) 10
Swimming pools and bathhouses 10
Movie (per auditorium seat) 5
Drive-in (per car space) 5
Travel trailer parks
Without individual water and sewer hookups (per space) 50
With individual water and sewer hookups (per space) 100
Construction (at semi-permanent camps) 50
Day, at schools and ofces (per shift) 15
Table 3 Sewage Flow from
Country Clubs
Type of Fixture
Gallons per Day
per Fixture
Showers 500
Baths 300
Lavatories 100
Toilets 150
Urinals 100
Sinks 50
Table 4 Sewage Flow at Public
Parks (during hours when park is open)
Type of Fixture
Gallons per Day
per Fixture
Flush toilets 36
Urinals 10
Showers 100
Faucets 15
Table 6 Allowable Rate of Sewage Application to a Soil
Absorption System
Percolation Rate
(time for water to fall
1 in.), in minutes
Maximum Rate of Sewage Application
for Absorption Trenches
Seepage Beds, and Seepage Pits
1 or less 5.0
2 3.5
3 2.9
4 2.5
5 2.2
10 1.6
15 1.3
d, e
a Not including efuents from septic tanks that receive wastes from garbage grinders
and automatic washing machines.
b Absorption area is fgured as trench bottom area, and includes a statistical allowance
for vertical sidewall area.
c Absorption area for seepage pits is efective sidewall area.
d Over 30 unsuitable for seepage pits.
e Over 60 unsuitable for absorption systems.
Table 5 Absorption Area Requirements for Individual Residences
(provides for garbage grinder and automatic clothes washing machines)
Percolation Rate
(time required for water
to fall 1 in.), in minutes
Required Absorption Area, in
, standard trench
seepage beds
, and seepage pits

1 or less 70
2 85
3 100
4 115
5 125
10 165
15 190
c, e
c, e
c, e, f
a It is desirable to provide sufcient land area for an entire new absorption system if
needed in the future.
b In every case, sufcient land area should be provided for the number of bedrooms
(minimum of two) that can be reasonably anticipated, including the unfnished space
available for conversion as additional bedrooms.
c Absorption area is fgured as trench bottom area and includes a statistical allowance for
vertical side wall area.
d Absorption area for seepage pits is fgured as efective side wall area beneath the inlet.
e Unsuitable for seepage pits if over 30.
f Unsuitable for absorption systems if over 60
MAY/JUNE 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
If these two primary conditions cannot be met, the site is
unsuitable for a soil absorption system and some other seepage
disposal system must be employed.
perColation teStS
Percolation tests help to determine the acceptability of the
site and establish the size of the disposal system. Te length of
time required for percolation tests varies for diferent types of
soil. Te safest method is to make tests in holes that have been
kept flled with water for at least 4 hrs and preferably overnight.
Percolation rates should be determined on the basis of test
data obtained after the soil has had the opportunity to become
wetted or saturated.
Enough tests should be made in separate holes to assure
the validity of results. Te percolation test as developed at the
Robert A. Taft Sanitary Engineering Center has proven to be one
of the best in the country and is given here in its entirety:
Procedure for Percolation Tests
1. Number and Location of Tests. Six or more tests shall be
made in separate test holes spaced uniformly over the pro-
posed absorption feld site.
2. Type of Test Hole. Dig or bore a hole, with horizontal
dimensions of from 4 to 12 in. and vertical sides to the
depth of the proposed absorption trench. In order to save
time, labor, and volume of water required per test, the
holes can be bored with a 4-in. auger.
3. Preparation of a Test Hole. Carefully scratch the bottom
and sides of the hole with a knife blade or sharp-pointed
instrument, in order to remove any smeared soil surfaces
and to provide a natural soil interface into which water
may percolate. Remove all loose material from the hole.
Add 2 in. of coarse sand or fne gravel to protect the bottom
from scouring and sediment.
4. Saturation and Swelling of the Soil. It is important to
distinguish between saturation and swelling. Saturation
means that the void spaces between soil particles are full of
water. Tis can be accomplished in a short period of time.
Swelling is caused by intrusion of water into the individual
soil particle. Tis is a slow process, especially in clay-type
soil, and is the reason for requiring a prolonged soaking
In the conduct of the test, carefully fll the hole with clear
water to a minimum depth of 12 in. over the gravel. In
most soils, it is necessary to refll the hole by supplying a
surplus reservoir of water, possibly by means of an auto-
matic syphon, to keep water in the hole for at least 4 hrs
and preferably overnight. Determine the percolation rate
24 hrs after water is frst added to the hole. Tis procedure
is to ensure that the soil is given ample opportunity to
swell and to approach the condition it will be in during
the wettest season of the year. Tus, the test will give com-
parable results in the same soil, whether made in a dry
or wet season. In sandy soils, containing little or no clay,
the swelling is not essential, and the test may be made as
described under item 5C, after the water from one flling of
the hole has completely seeped away.
5. Percolation Rate Measurement. With the exception of
sandy soils, percolation rate measurements shall be made
on the day following the procedure described under item
4, above.
A. If water remains in the test hole after the overnight
swelling period, adjust the depth to approximately 6
in. over the gravel. From a fxed reference point, mea-
sure the drop in water level over a 30-min. period. Tis
drop is used to calculate the percolation rate.
B. If no water remains in the hole after the overnight
swelling period, add clear water to bring the depth of
water in the hole to approximately 6 in. over the gravel.
From a fxed reference point, measure the drop in
water level at approximately 30-min intervals for 4 hrs,
reflling 6 in. over the gravel as necessary. Te drop
that occurs during the fnal 30-min period is used to
calculate the percolation rate. Te drops during prior
periods provide information for possible modifcation
of the procedure to suit local circumstances.
C. In sandy soils (or other soils in which the frst 6 in. of
water seeps away in less than 30 min, after the over-
night swelling period), the time interval between mea-
surements shall be taken as 10 min and the test run
for 1 hr. Te drop that occurs during the fnal 10 min is
used to calculate the percolation rate.
aBSorption area
For locations where the percolation rates and soil characteris-
tics prove to be satisfactory, the next step is to determine the
required absorption area from Table 5 for residences or from
Table 6 for other types of buildings. As noted in the tables, soil
in which the percolation rate is slower than 1 in. in 30 min is not
suitable for seepage pits and a rate slower than 1 in. in 60 min is
not satisfactory for any type of soil absorption system.
Tere are three types of soil absorption systems:
1. Absorption trenches
2. Seepage beds
3. Seepage pits.
Te selection of the system will be afected by the location
of the system in the area under consideration. A safe distance
must be maintained between the site and the source of any
water supply. No specifc distance can be absolutely safe in all
localities because of the many variables involved in the under-
ground travel of pollution. Table 7 can be used as a guide for
establishing minimum distances between various components
of a sewage disposal system.
Seepage pits should never be installed in areas of shallow
wells or where there are limestone formations and sinkholes
Table 7 Minimum Distance Between Components of Sewage Disposal System
Horizontal Distance (ft)
Component of
Well or
Suction Line
Water Supply
Line (pressure)
Stream Dwelling Property
Building sewer 50 10
Septic tank 50 10 50 5 10
Disposal feld
and seepage bed
100 25 50 20 5
Seepage pit 100 50 50 20 10
100 50 50 20 15
a Where the water supply line must cross the sewer line, the bottom of the water service within 10 ft of the
point of crossing shall be at least 12 in. above the top of the sewer line. The sewer line shall be of cast iron
with leaded or mechanical joints at least 10 ft on either side of the crossing.
b Not recommended as a substitute for a septic tank. To be used only when found necessary and approved by
the health authority.
Plumbing Systems & Design MAY/JUNE 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Private Sewage Disposal Systems
with connection to underground channels through
which pollution could travel to water sources.
aBSorption trenCheS
Te drain pipe for a soil absorption feld may be 12-in.
lengths of 4-in. agricultural drain tile, 23 ft lengths of
open-joint vitrifed clay sewer pipe, or perforated non-
metallic pipe. Individual laterals should not exceed 100
ft in length and the trench bottom and piping should be
level. Use of more and shorter laterals is recommended
because if a breakdown should occur in any one lateral,
most of the feld would still be operative. Te space
between laterals should be at least twice the depth of
gravel to prevent overtaxing the percolative capacity of
the adjacent soil.
Te depth of the absorption trenches should be at least
24 in. to provide the minimum required gravel depth
and earth cover. Additional depth may be required for
ground contour adjustment, for extra aggregate speci-
fed under the pipe, or for other design purposes. Te
minimum distance of 4 ft between the bottom of the
trench and the water table is essential to minimize
groundwater contamination. Freezing is an extremely
rare occurrence in a well-constructed system that is
kept in continuous operation. It is of course extremely
important that the pipe be completely surrounded by the gravel
to provide for free movement of the waste water.
Te required absorption area is based upon the results of the
percolation tests and may be selected from Table 5 or 6.
Example 1
For a three-bedroom house and a percolation rate of 1 in. in
15 min, the necessary absorption area will be 3 bedrooms 190
per bedroom (Table 5) = 570 ft
. For 2-ft-wide trenches with 6
in. of gravel below the drain pipe the total length of trench will
be: 570 2 = 285 ft. If this length is divided into three portions
(3 laterals), the length of each lateral will be 285 3 = 95 ft. If
this length is too long for the site, the number of laterals must
be increased. Using 5 laterals, the length of each lateral will be
57 ft. If the trenches are separated by 6 ft, the width of the feld
will be 2-ft-wide trenches 5 trenches = 10 ft plus 6 ft between
trenches 4 spaces = 24 ft. Te total feld will then be 57 ft in
length by 34 ft. in width for a total area of 1938 ft
plus the addi-
tional land required to keep the feld an acceptable distance
from property lines, wells, etc.
Careful construction is extremely important in achieving a sat-
isfactory soil absorption system. Care must be exercised so as
not to seal the surfaces on the bottom and sides of the trenches.
Trenches should not be excavated when the soil is wet enough
to smear or compact easily. Open trenches should always be
protected from surface runof to prevent entrance of silt and
debris. All smeared or compacted surfaces should be raked to a
depth of 1 in. and loose material removed before placing gravel
in the trench.
Te pipe should be completely surrounded by clean, graded
gravel ranging in size from to 2 in. Cinders, broken shells,
or similar materials are unsuitable as they are too fne and will
lead to premature clogging of the soil. Te gravel should extend
at least 2 in. above the top of the pipe, at least 6 in. below the
bottom of the pipe and fll the entire width of the trench. Te top
of the gravel should be covered with untreated building paper
or a 2-in. layer of hay, straw, or similar pervious material to pre-
vent the earth backfll from clogging the gravel. If an impervious
covering is used, it will interfere with evapotranspiration at the
surface. Tis is an important factor in the operation of a disposal
feld and, although evapotranspiration is not generally taken
advantage of in the calculations, it provides an added factor of
If tile pipe is used, the upper half of the joint openings should
be covered. Drain tile connectors, collars, clips or other spacers
with covers for the upper half of the joints may be used to assure
uniform spacing, proper alignment, and protection of the joints.
Tey are available in galvanized iron, copper, and plastic.
Te problem of root penetration can be avoided by the use of
a liberal quantity of gravel around the pipe. Tere should be at
least 12 in. of gravel beneath the pipe when a trench is within 10
ft of large trees or dense shrubbery.
Backflling of the trench should be hand tamped and the trench
should be overflled at least 4 to 6 in. Tis will prevent settlement
to a point lower than the surface of the adjacent ground where
storm water could collect and cause premature saturation of the
absorption feld and possible complete washout of the trench.
Machine tamping or hydraulic backflling should never be per-
mitted. Figure 2 illustrates a typical absorption trench.
Seepage BedS
Te use of seepage beds in lieu of standard trenches has been
around for over twenty-fve years. Common design practice for
soil absorption felds is for trenches with widths varying from 12
to 36 in. When trenches are wider than 3 ft they are called seep-
age beds. Typically rectangular in shape, seepage beds are com-
pact and used when less land is available for system design. Dry
climates prove to be a better environment for use than climates
having wet, humid conditions. Keep in mind, seepage beds do
not have the sidewall area to provide oxygen to the center of a
bed and long-term performance depends on the condition of
the sidewall area. Slopes greater than 5% are not suitable for this
absorption system application. Care must be taken during con-
Figure 2 Section through Typical Absorption Trench
MAY/JUNE 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
struction so as not to destroy soil structure by compacting the
soil in the bottom of the bed. Additionally, the Federal Build-
ing Administration has sponsored studies indicating that seep-
age beds are a satisfactory method for disposing of the efuent
from septic tanks in soils that are satisfactory for soil absorp-
tion systems. Te studies have demonstrated that the empirical
relationship between percolation tests and the bottom area of
trenches is applicable for the design of seepage beds.
Te three main elements of a seepage bed are the same as those
of trenches:
1. Te absorption surface
2. Te gravel layer
3. Te distribution system.
Te advantages of seepage beds are (1) a wide bed makes more
efcient use of land than a series of long narrow trenches with
wasted land between the trenches and (2) efcient use can be
made of a variety of modern earth-moving equipment already
at the site, which will result in lower costs for the system.
Design Criteria for Seepage Beds
Te following criteria should be adhered to in the design of
seepage beds:
1. Te amount of bottom absorption area
shall be the same as for trenches, shown
in Table 5 or 6.
2. Percolation tests should be performed as
previously outlined.
3. Te bed should have a minimum depth
of 24 in. to provide a minimum earth
backfll cover of 12 in.
4. Te bed should have a minimum of 12
in. depth of gravel extending at least 2 in.
above and 6 in. below the pipe.
5. Te bottom of the bed and the distribu-
tion tile or perforated pipe should be
6. Te drain lines for distributing the efu-
ent from the septic tank should be spaced no greater than 6
ft apart and no greater than 3 ft from the bed sidewalls.
Distribution Boxes
Although many codes specifcally require the use of a distribu-
tion box in a soil absorption system, research and feld tests
have conclusively demonstrated that they ofer practically no
advantages and can be a source of serious problems in many
installations. As a result of its study of distribution boxes, the
Public Health Service set forth the following conclusions in the
report to the Federal Housing Administration:
1. Distribution boxes can be eliminated from septic tank-
soil absorption systems in favor of some other method of
distribution without inducing increased failure of disposal
felds. In fact, evidence indicates that distribution boxes as
presently used may be harmful to the system.
2. Data indicate that on level ground, equal distribution is
not necessary if the system is designed so that an overload
trench can drain back to the other trenches before failure
3. On sloping ground a method of distribution is needed to
prevent excessive buildup of head and failure of any one
trench before the capacity of the entire system is utilized.
It is doubtful that distribution boxes as presently used give
equal distribution. Rather, they probably act as diversion
devices sending most of the liquid to part of the system.
Because of the above fndings, it is recommended that distri-
bution boxes be eliminated in all disposal feld systems where
they are not specifcally required by local codes.
Seepage pitS
Where absorption felds are impractical, seepage pits may be
applicable. Te capacity of a seepage pit should be computed
on the basis of percolation tests made in each vertical stratum
penetrated. Te weighted average of the results should be used
to obtain the design fgure. Soil strata in which percolation rates
are in excess of 30 min/in. should not be included in computing
the absorption area.
Efective Area of Seepage Pit
Te efective area of a seepage pit is the vertical wall area of the
pervious ground below the inlet. Te area of the bottom of the
pit is not considered in calculating the efective area nor is any
impervious vertical areas. Table 8 is a compilation of vertical
surface area for various pit diameters and depths. Te bottom of
the pit must always be at least 4 ft above groundwater table.
When more than one pit is required to obtain the necessary
absorption area, the distance between the walls of adjacent pits
should be equal to three times the diameter of the largest pit.
For pits 20 ft or greater in depth the minimum spacing between
walls should be 20 ft.
Construction of Seepage Pit
All loose material should be removed from the excavated
pit. Te pit should be backflled with clean gravel to a depth
of 1 ft above the pit bottom to provide a sound foundation for
the pit lining. Material for the lining may be clay or concrete
brick, block, or rings. Rings should have weepholes or notches
to provide for seepage. Brick and block should be laid dry with
staggered joints. Brick should be laid fat to form a 4-in. wall.
Te outside diameter of the lining should be 12 in. less than the
diameter of the pit to provide a 6-in. annular space between
the lining and pit wall. Tis annular space should be flled with
clean, coarse gravel to the top of the lining.
Flat concrete covers are recommended. Tey should be sup-
ported by undisturbed earth and extend at least 12 in. beyond
the excavation. Te cover should not bear on the lining for sup-
port. A 9-in. capped opening in the pit cover is convenient for pit
inspection. All concrete surfaces should be coated with a bitu-
mastic paint or similar product to minimize corrosion.
Table 8 Vertical Wall Areas of Seepage Efective Strata Depth Below Flow Line (below inlet)
Diameter of seep-
age pit (feet) 1 foot 2 feet 3 feet 4 feet 5 feet 6 feet 7 feet 8 feet 9 feet 10 feet
3 9.4 19 28 38 47 57 66 75 85 94
4 12.6 26 38 50 63 75 88 101 113 126
5 15.7 31 47 63 79 94 110 126 141 157
6 18.8 38 57 75 94 113 132 151 170 188
7 22.0 44 66 88 110 132 154 176 198 220
8 25.1 50 75 101 126 151 176 201 226 251
9 28.3 57 85 113 141 170 198 226 251 283
10 31.4 63 94 126 157 188 220 251 283 314
11 34.6 69 101 138 173 207 212 276 311 346
12 37.7 75 113 151 188 226 264 302 339 377
Example: A pit of 5-foot diameter and 6-foot depth below the inlet has an efective area of 94 square feet. A pit of 5-foot diameter and
16-foot depth has an area of 94 + 157, or 251 square feet.
Plumbing Systems & Design MAY/JUNE 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Private Sewage Disposal Systems
All connecting piping should be laid on a frm bed of undis-
turbed soil throughout their length and at a minimum grade of
2% ( in./ft). Te pit inlet pipe should extend at least 1 ft into
the pit with a tee or ell to direct the fow downward to prevent
washing and eroding of the sidewalls. When more than one pit
is utilized they should be connected in series.
MAY/JUNE 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
About This Issues Article
The May/June 2007 continuing education article is Private
Sewage Disposal Systems, Chapter 13 of Engineered Plumbing
Design II by A. Cal Laws, PE, CPD.
With the ever-increasing cost of land located in proximity to
urban centers, more and more construction is being imple-
mented in outlying areas. Sanitary sewers are not usually avail-
able in these remote locations and it becomes necessary for the
plumbing engineer to design private sewage systems to handle
the wastes from buildings. Where the concentration of popula-
tion is not sufcient to economically justify the installation of
public sewer systems, installation of a septic tank in conjunction
with a subsurface soil absorption feld has proven to be an excep-
tionally satisfactory method of sewage disposal. This chapter
explains the diferent types of private sewage disposal systems
for residential and commercial applications as well as criteria for
their design and construction.
You may locate this article at Read the
article, complete the following exam, and submit your answer
sheet to the ASPE office to potentially receive 0.1 CEU.

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsPrivate Sewage Disposal Systems (PSD 139)
1. The retention period of sewage in a septic tank should
be _________.
a. 12 hours, b. 24 hours, c. 36 hours, d. 48 hours
. The frst step in the design of a subsurface soil
absorption sewage disposal system is _________.
a. ascertain the code requirements
b. determine the area required for the disposal feld
c. determine whether the soil is suitable for the
absorption of the septic efuent
d. calculate the fxture unit load to be served
. The recommended septic tank capacity for a fve-
bedroom home is _________.
a. 750, b. 900, c. 1,000, d. 1,250
. The minimum distance between a cesspool and a water
supply line, as noted in Table , is _________.
a. 100 feet
b. 20 feet
c. 15 feet
d. not recommended as a substitute for a septic tank
. What approximate percentage of new home
construction employs a septic tank/soil absorption
sewage disposal system?
a. 15 percent
b. 20 percent
c. 25 percent
d. 30 percent
. Distribution boxes _________.
a. are required by many codes
b. should be used only when specifcally required by code
c. ofer practically no advantages
d. all of the above
. The absorption area to be provided for an individual
residence containing three bedrooms with a percolation
rate of three minutes is recommended to be _________.
a. 100 square feet
b. 200 square feet
c. 300 square feet
d. 600 square feet
. A covered pit with an open-jointed or perforated lining
into which raw sewage is discharged is called a ________.
a. septic tank
b. cesspool
c. seepage pit
d. none of the above
. The drain lines for distributing the efuent from the
septic tank should be spaced no grater than _________
a. 3 feet, b. 6 feet, c. 9 feet, d. a and b
10. The quantity of sewage fow from a single-family
dwelling per person is _________ gallons per day.
a. 50
b. 75
c. 100
d. 125
11. The primary purpose of a septic tank is to _________.
a. distribute raw sewage to the leaching feld
b. chemically treat raw sewage
c. vent odors to atmosphere
d. act as a settling tank
1. Sewage pit connecting piping _________.
a. should be laid at a minimum grade of 2 percent
b. must be 6 inches in diameter minimum
c. must be a least 5 feet deep
d. none of the above
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Now Online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Te following exam and application form
also may be downloaded from the website. Reading the article and
completing the form will allow you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit.
For most people, this process will require approximately one hour. If
you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test, you will be notifed
that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD
renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs.
(Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the acceptance
policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept on fle at
the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
10 Plumbing Systems & Design MAY/JUNE 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Flow in Water
ContinuingEducationfromPlumbing Systems & Design
Hydraulics can be defned as the study of the principles and
laws that govern the behavior of liquids at rest or in motion.
Hydrostatics is the study of liquids at rest and hydrokinetics is
the study of liquids in motion.
Although this text deals exclusively with water, all the data
developed can be applied to any liquid.
Physical ProPerties of Water
Te weight of water, or its density, varies with its temperature
and purity. Water has its greatest specifc weight (weight per
cubic foot) at a temperature of 39.2F. If this phenomenon did
not occur, lakes would start freezing from the bottom up instead
of from the top down. Table 1 tabulates densities of pure water
at various tempera-
tures. For the normal
range of tempera-
tures met in plumb-
ing systems, the den-
sity of water is very
close to 62.4 lbm/ft

and this value can be
used for all calcula-
tions without any
signifcant error.
Viscosity can be
defned as the inter-
nal friction, or inter-
nal resistance, to the relative motion of fuid particles. It can also
be defned as the property by which fuids ofer a resistance to a
change of shape under the action of an external force. Viscosity
varies greatly from one liquid to another. It approaches the condi-
tions of a solid for highly viscous liquids and approaches a gas for
the slightly viscous liquids. Viscosity decreases with rising tem-
peratures. For example, #6 oil is a solid at low temperatures and
begins to fow as it is heated.
Water is perfectly elastic, compressing when pressure is
imposed and returning to its original condition when the pres-
sure is removed. Te compressibility of water may be expressed
as 1/K, where K is the coefcient of compressibility and is equal
to 43,200,000 lb/ft2. It can be seen that if a pressure of 100 lb/ft2
were applied, the volumetric change would be 10043,200,000.
Te change is of such negligible signifcance that water is always
treated as incompressible for all calculations in plumbing
Te temperature at which water boils varies with the pressure
to which it is subjected. At sea level14.7 psiwater boils at
212F. At an elevation above sea level, where the atmospheric
pressure is less than 14.7 psi, water will boil at a lower tem-
perature. In a closed system, such as that found in the domestic
hot water system where the pressure is generally around 50 psi
above atmospheric pressure, the water will not boil until a tem-
perature of 300F is reached.
tyPes of floW
When water is moving in a pipe, two types of fow can exist. One
type is known by the various names of streamline, laminar, or
viscous. Te second is called turbulent fow. At various viscosi-
ties (various temperatures), there is a certain critical velocity for
every pipe size above which turbulent fow occurs and below
which laminar fow occurs. Tis critical velocity occurs within
a range of Reynolds numbers from approximately 2100 to 4000.
Reynolds formula is:
Equation 1
= Reynolds number, dimensionless
D = Pipe diameter, ft
V = Velocity of fow, ft/sec
= Density, lbm/ft
= Absolute viscosity, lbf sec/ft
gc = Gravitational constant, 32.2 lbmft/lbfsec2
Within the limits of accuracy required for plumbing design,
it can be assumed that the critical velocity occurs at a Reynolds
number of 2100. In laminar fow, the roughness of the pipe wall
has a negligible efect on the fow but the viscosity has a very
signifcant efect. In turbulent fow, the viscosity has an insignif-
icant efect but the roughness of the pipe wall has a very marked
efect on the fow.
Very rarely is a velocity of less than 4 ft/sec employed in
plumbing design. Te Reynolds number for a 3 in. pipe and a
velocity of fow of 4 ft/sec would be
= 82,500
(2.35 10
)(32.2 lbmft/lbfsec
(which is well above the critical number of 2,100)
It can be seen that all plumbing design is with turbulent fow
and only when very viscous liquids or extremely low velocities
are encountered does the plumbing engineer deal with laminar
fow. Critical velocities of , 1, and 2-in. pipe at 60F are 0.61,
0.31, and 0.15 ft/sec, respectively, and at 140F they are 0.25,
0.13, and 0.06 ft/sec, respectively.
Velocity of floW
When the velocity of fow is measured across the section of pipe
from the center to the wall, it is found that there is a variation in
the velocity, with the greatest velocity at the center and a mini-
mum velocity at the walls. Te average velocity for the entire
cross-section is approximately 84% of the velocity as measured
at the center. Te plumbing engineer is concerned only with
the average velocity, and all formulas are expressed in average
velocity. Whenever and wherever the term velocity is used, it is
the average velocity of fow that is meant.
Since water is incompressible within the range of pressures
met in plumbing design, a defnite relationship can be expressed
between the quantity fowing past a given point in a given time
Flow in Water Piping
Reprinted from Engineered Plumbing Design II, Chapter 11: Flow in Water Piping, by A. Calvin Laws, PE, CPD.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
Table 1 Density of Pure Water at Various
32 62.416 100 61.988
35 62.421 120 61.719
39.2 62.424 140 61.386
40 62.423 160 61.006
50 62.408 180 60.586
60 62.366 200 60.135
70 62.300 212 59.843
80 62.217
Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
and the velocity of fow. Tis can be expressed as (Equation 3-
Q = AV
Q = quantity of fow (volumetric fow rate), ft
A = cross-sectional area of fow, ft
V = velocity of fow, ft/sec
Te units employed in this fow formula are inconvenient for
use in plumbing design. Te plumbing engineer deals in gallons
per minute and inches for pipe sizes. Converting to these terms,
the fow rate becomes (Equation 8-8):
q = 2.448 d
q = quantity of fow (fow rate), gpm
d = diameter of pipe, in.
V = velocity of fow, ft/sec
Potential energy
One of the most fundamental laws of thermodynamics is that
energy can be neither created nor destroyed; it can only be con-
verted from one form to another. Te energy of a body due to
its elevation above a given level is called its potential energy in
relation to that datum. Work had to be performed to raise the
body to that elevation and this work is equal to the product of
the weight of the body and the height it was raised. Tis can be
expressed as:
Equation 2
= w h =
= potential energy, ft lbf
w = weight of the body, lbf
h = height raised, ft
g = gravitational acceleration, 32.2 ft/s
= gravitational constant, 32.2 lbmft/
When the weight is equal to 1 lb the for-
mula becomes
Equation 3
EP = potential energy per pound weight
Kinetic energy
Te energy of a body due to its motion is
called kinetic energy and is equal to one-half
its mass and the square of its velocity. Mass
is equal to the weight of the body divided by
its acceleration imposed by gravity.
Equation 4
m =
Equation 5

c 2g
= kinetic energy, ft lbf
w = weight of body, lbf
m = mass of the body, lbm
g = gravitational acceleration, 32.2 ft/sec
= gravitational constant, 32.2 lbmft/lbfsec
V = velocity, ft/sec
When the body weighs 1 lb the formula becomes
Equation 6
= kinetic energy per pound weight
static head
At any point below the surface of water that is exposed to atmo-
spheric pressure, the pressure (head) is produced by the weight
of the water above that point. Te pressure is equal and efective
in all directions at this point and is proportional to the depth
below the surface. Tis pressure is variously called static head,
static pressure, hydrostatic head, or hydrostatic pressure. It is the
measure of the potential energy. Because pressure is a function
of the weight of the water, it is possible to convert the static head
expressed as feet of head into pounds per square inch. (See
Table 2.)
Te pressure developed by the weight of a column of water 1
in cross-sectional area and h ft high may be expressed as
Equation 7
p =

p = pressure, lbf/in

h = static head, ft
At 50F, the pressure expressed in pounds per square inch for
a 1-ft column of water is then:
Table 2 Heads of Water in Feet Corresponding to Pressure in Pounds per Square Inch
PSI 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0 2.3 4.6 6.9 9.2 11.6 13.9 16.2 18.5 20.8
10 23.1 25.4 27.7 30.0 32.3 34.7 37.0 39.3 41 .6 43.9
20 46.2 48.5 50.8 53.1 55.4 57.8 60.1 62.4 64.7 67.0
30 69.3 71.6 73.9 76.2 78.5 80.9 83.2 85.5 87.8 90.1
40 92.4 94.7 97.0 99.3 101.6 104.0 106.3 108.6 110.9 113.2
50 115.5 117.8 120.1 122.4 124.7 127.1 129.4 131.7 134.0 136.3
60 138.6 140.9 143.2 145.5 147.8 150.2 152.5 154.8 157.1 159.4
70 161.7 164.0 166.3 168.6 170.9 173.3 175.6 177.9 180.2 182.5
80 184.8 187.1 189.4 191.7 194.0 196.4 198.7 201.0 203.3 205.6
90 207.9 210.2 212.5 214.8 217.1 219.5 221.8 224.1 226.4 228.7
100 231.0 233.3 235.6 237.9 240.2 242.6 244.9 247.2 249.5 251.8
110 254.1 256.4 258.7 261.0 263.3 265.7 268.0 270.3 272.6 274.9
120 277.2 279.5 281.8 284.1 286.4 288.8 291.1 293.4 295.7 298.0
130 300.3 302.6 304.9 307.2 309.5 311.9 314.2 316.5 318.8 321.1
140 323.4 325.7 328.0 330.3 332.6 335.0 337.3 339.6 341.9 344.2
150 346.5 348.8 351.1 353.4 355.7 358.1 360.4 362.7 365.0 367.3
160 369.6 371.9 374.2 376.5 378.8 381.2 383.5 385.8 388.1 390.4
170 392.7 395.0 397.3 399.6 401.9 404.3 406.6 408.9 411.2 413.5
180 415.8 418.1 420.4 422.7 425.0 427.4 429.7 432.0 434.3 436.6
190 438.9 441.2 443.5 445.8 448.1 450.5 452.8 455.1 457.4 459.7
200 462.0 464.3 466.6 468.9 471.2 473.6 475.9 478.2 480.5 482.8
210 485.1 487.4 489.7 492.0 494.3 496.7 499.0 501.3 503.6 505.9
220 508.2 510.5 512.8 515.1 517.4 519.8 522.1 524.4 526.7 529.0
230 531.3 533.6 535.9 538.2 540.5 542.9 545.2 547.5 549.8 552.1
240 554.4 556.7 559.0 561.3 563.6 566.0 568.3 570.6 572.9 575.2
250 577.5 579.8 582.1 584.4 586.7 589.1 591.4 593.7 596.0 598.3
Notes: 1. To use the chart, fnd the point corresponding to the specifc pressure (psi) by adding incremental values in the top line to the base values in the extreme
left column. For example, to fnd head in ft. corresponding to 25 psi, follow the line of fgures to the right of 20 psi and read 57.8 ft under 5 psi. 2. Head values in
the body of the chart were calculated by multiplying psi by 2.31. To convert ft of head to psi, multiply by 0.433, or use the chart in reverse.
JULY/AUGUST 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
p =
1 = 0.433 lbf/in
Conversely, the height of a column of water that will impose a
pressure of 1 lb/in.
h = p

h = 1
= 2.31 ft
To convert from feet of head to pounds per square inch, mul-
tiply the height by 0.433. To convert pounds per square inch to
feet of head, multiply the pounds per square inch by 2.31.
Velocity head
In a piping system with the water at rest, the water has poten-
tial energy. When the water is fowing it has kinetic energy as
well as potential energy. To cause the water to fow some of the
available potential energy must be converted to kinetic energy.
Te decrease in the potential energy, or static head, is called the
velocity head.
In a freely falling body, the body is accelerated by the action
of gravity at a rate of 32.2 ft/sec
. Te height of the fall and the
velocity at any moment may be expressed as:
Equation 8
h =
Equation 9
V = gt
or t =
h = velocity head, ft
t = time, sec
g = gravitational acceleration, 32.2 ft/sec
V = velocity, ft/sec
Substituting t = V/g in the frst equation,
h =

Equation 10
h =
Te foregoing illustrates the conversion of the
potential energy of a body (static head) due to its
height into kinetic energy (velocity head). Te
velocity head, V
/2g, is a measure of the decrease in
static head expressed in feet of column of water.
Bernoullis theorem
As previously stated, energy can be neither created
nor destroyed. Bernoulli developed an equation to
express this conservation of energy as it is applied
to a fowing liquid. Te liquid is assumed to be fric-
tionless and incompressible.
Equation 11
= E
g 2g
= total energy ftlbf/lbm
Z = height of point above datum, ft
P = pressure, lbf/ ft
= density, lbm/ft3
V = velocity, ft/sec
g = gravitational acceleration, 32.2 ft./sec
= gravitational constant, 32.2 lbmft/lbfsec
Te term Pg
/g is equal to the static head or height of the
liquid column. Substituting in the equation it becomes
Equation 12
+ h +
= E
c 2g
For any two points in a system, we may then write:
Equation 13
+ h
+ h
c 2g
c 2g
Figure 1 illustrates the application of this equation.
When water fows in a pipe, friction is produced by the rubbing
of water particles against each other and against the walls of
the pipe. Tis friction generates heat, which is dissipated in the
form of a rise in the temperature of the water and the piping.
Tis temperature rise in plumbing systems is insignifcant and
can safely be ignored in plumbing design. It requires a potential
energy of 778 ft-lbf to raise 1 lb of water 1F. Te friction pro-
duced by fowing water also causes a pressure loss along the
line of fow, which is called friction head. By utilizing Bernoullis
equation this friction head loss can be expressed as:
Figure 11-1 Bernoulli's Theorem (Disregarding Friction)
+ h
+ h
c 2g
c 2g
Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
+ h
+ h
] g
c 2g
c 2g
floW from outlets
Experiments to determine the velocity of fow from an
outlet in the side of an open tank were performed by
Toricelli in the 17th century. Te result of these experi-
ments was expounded in the theorem: Except for minor
frictional efects, the velocity is the same as if the fuid
had fallen freely from the surface through a vertical dis-
tance to the outlet. Tis can be expressed as:
Equation 15
V = 2gh
It is graphically shown in Figure 2.
If friction, size, and shape of the opening and entrance
losses are disregarded, the ideal velocity is the same as the
maximum velocity and is equal to the velocity attained
by free fall. Te actual velocity, however, is always less
than the ideal. All the factors, previously ignored, when
taken into consideration can be expressed as the coef-
fcient of discharge, C
. Te actual velocity can then be
Equation 16
V = C
For most outlets encountered in a plumbing system
an average coefcient of discharge of 0.67 can be safely
floW in PiPing
Te velocity of fow at any point in a system is due to the
total energy at that point. Tis is the sum of the potential
and kinetic energy, less the friction head loss. Te static
head is the potential energy, but some of it was con-
verted to kinetic energy to cause fow and some of it was
used to overcome friction. It is for these reasons that the
pressure during fow is always less than the static pressure. Te
pressure measured at any point while water is fowing is called
the fow pressure. Tis is the pressure that is read on a pressure
gauge installed in the piping.
Te kinetic energy of water fowing in a plumbing system is
extremely small. Very rarely is the design velocity for water fow
in plumbing systems greater than 8 ft/sec. Te kinetic energy
(velocity head) at this velocity is V
/2g or
64.4. Tis is equal to
1 ft or 0.433 psi, which is less than 0.5 psi. It can be seen that
such an insignifcant pressure can be safely ignored in all calcu-
lations. Te maximum rate of discharge from an outlet can now
be determined from the fow pressure and the diameter of the
outlet (using Equations 8-2 to 8-5):
= C
= C
2.448 d
= C
= C
h or
Equation 17
= C
= actual quantity of discharge, gpm
= ideal quantity of discharge, gpm
= coefcient of discharge, dimensionless
d = diameter of outlet, in.
= ideal velocity, ft/sec
h = fow pressure, ft
p = fow pressure, psi
If 0.67 is used for the coefcient of discharge, then, per Equa-
tion 6-1,
= 13.17d
Equation 18
= 20d
friction in PiPing
As stated previously, whenever fow occurs, there is a continu-
ous loss of pressure along the piping in the direction of fow. Te
amount of this head loss because of friction is afected by
1. Density and temperature of the fuid
2. Roughness of the pipe
3. Length of run
4. Velocity of the fuid
Experiments have demonstrated that the friction head loss is
inversely proportional to the diameter of the pipe, proportional
to the roughness and length of the pipe, and varies approxi-
Figure 11-2 Toricelli's Theorem
JULY/AUGUST 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
mately with the square of the velocity. Darcy expressed this rela-
tionship as:
h =
D 2g
Equation 19
p =
144D 2g
h = friction head loss, ft
p = friction head loss, lbf/in
= density of fuid, lbm/ft3
f = coefcient of friction, dimensionless
L = length of pipe, ft
D = diameter of pipe, ft
V = velocity of fow, ft/sec
= gravitational constant, 32.2 lbm ft/lbf sec
Values for the coefcient of friction are given in Table 3.
It can be seen from Table 3 that steel pipe is much rougher
than brass, lead or copper. It follows that there will be a greater
head loss in steel pipe than in the other material.
For ease of application for the plumbing engineer, the for-
mula for friction head loss can be reduced to a simpler form.
Assuming an average value for the coefcient of friction of 0.02
for brass and copper and 0.04 for steel, the formula becomes:
For brass and copper
Equation 20
h = 0.000623q

Equation 21
p = 0.00027q

and for steel
Equation 22
h = 0.00124q

Equation 23
p = 0.00539q

Tese formulas can be rearranged in another
useful form:
For brass and copper
Equation 24
q = 40.1 d

Equation 25
q = 60.8 d

and for steel
Equation 26
q = 28.3 d

Equation 27
q = 43.0 d

q = quantity of fow, gpm
d = diameter of pipe, in.
h = pressure, ft
p = pressure, psi
L = length of pipe, ft
Te terms h/L and p/L represent the loss of head due to fric-
tion for 1 ft of pipe length and is called the uniform friction loss.
Values of d
for various diameters of pipe and various materials
are given in Table 4.
In all water fow formulas, the term L (length of run in feet)
is always the equivalent length of run (ELR).Every ftting and
valve imposes more frictional resistance than the pipe itself.To
take this additional friction head loss into account, the ftting or
valve is converted to an equivalent length of pipe of the same
size that will impose an equal friction loss, e.g., a 4-in. elbow
is equivalent to 10 ft of 4-in. pipe.Tus, if the measured length
of run of 4-in. piping with one elbow is 15 ft, then the equiva-
lent length of run is 15 + 10 = 25 ft.Te length of pipe measured
Table 4 Values of d
Size, In.
Brass or
Copper Pipe
Type K
Type L
Iron or Steel
0.31 0.20 0.22 0.31
0.61 0.48 0.55 0.62
1 1.16 0.99 1.06 1.13
1 2.19 1.73 1.80 2.24
1 3.24 2.67 2.78 3.29
2 6.17 5.37 5.55 6.14
2 9.88 9.25 9.54 9.58
3 16.41 14.41 14.87 16.48
4 32.00 29.23 30.13 32.53
Table 5 Equivalent Pipe Length for Valves and Fittings
Pipe Size
Valve Full
Valve Full
Check Full
Elbow or
Run of Tee
Std. Tee
0.35 9.3 18.6 4.3 0.78 1.11 1.7 3.3
0.44 11.5 23.1 5.3 0.97 1.4 2.1 4.2
1 0.56 14.7 29.4 6.8 1.23 1.8 2.6 5.3
1 0.74 19.3 38.6 8.9 1.6 2.3 3.5 7.0
1 0.86 22.6 45.2 10.4 1.9 2.7 4.1 8.1
2 1.10 29.0 58.0 13.4 2.4 3.5 5.2 10.4
2 1.32 35.0 69.0 15.9 2.9 4.2 6.2 12.4
3 1.60 43.0 86.0 19.8 3.6 5.2 7.7 15.5
4 2.10 57.0 113.0 26.0 4.7 6.8 10.2 20.3
5 2.70 71.0 142.0 33.0 5.9 8.5 12.7 25.4
6 3.20 85.0 170.0 39.0 7.1 10.2 15.3 31.0
8 4.30 112.0 224.0 52.0 9.4 13.4 20.2 40.0
Table 3 Average Values for Coefcient of Friction, f
Pipe Size, in.
Brass, Copper,
or Lead
Iron or Steel
0.022 0.044
0.021 0.040
1 0.020 0.038
1 0.020 0.036
1 0.019 0.035
2 0.018 0.033
2 0.017 0.031
3 0.017 0.031
4 0.016 0.030
Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
along the centerline of pipe and fttings is the developed length.
Table 5 shows equivalent lengths of pipe for valves and fttings
of various sizes. Note that the larger the pipe size, the more
signifcant the equivalent length of run becomes. In the design
phase of piping systems, the size of the piping is not known and
the equivalent lengths cannot be accurately determined. A rule
of thumb that has worked exceptionally well is to assume 50%
of the developed length as an allowance for fttings and valves.
Once the sizes are determined, the accuracy of the assumption
can be checked.
All equipment imposes a friction head loss and must be care-
fully considered in the design and operation of a system. Te
pressure drop through any piece of equipment can be obtained
from the manufacturer. Te knowledgeable engineer is care-
ful to specify the maximum pressure drop he/she will permit
through a piece of equipment.
JULY/AUGUST 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design
inWaterPiping,Chapter11ofEngineered Plumbing Design II

ContinuingEducationfromPlumbing Systems & Design
1. The average coefcient of friction (f) in a -inch steel
pipe is _________.
a. 0.037
b. 0.035
c. 0.033
d. 0.031
. Friction is created by the fow of water in piping. This
friction generates _________.
a. pressuredrop
b. pressureincrease
c. heat
d. noneoftheabove
. Number six () oil _________.
a. isnotpartofthischapter
b. isasolidatlowtemperatures
c. beginstofowwhenheated
d. bandconly
. Water is _________.
a. notcompressible
b. perfectlyelastic
c. greatlycompressible
d. noneoftheabove
. Experiments to determine the velocity of fow from an
outlet were performed by _________ in the 1th century.
a. Bernoulli
b. Reynolds
c. Toricelli
d. Hunter
. Velocity head (V

/g) _________.
a. isameasureofthedecreaseinstatichead
b. isofnoconsequencetotheplumbingengineer
c. mustbeunderstoodtocontrolwaterhammer
d. isresponsibleformostpipefttingfailures
. How much potential energy is required to raise 1 pound
of water 1F?
a. 728ft-lbf,b. 778ft-lbf,c. 828ft-lbf,d. 878ft-lbf
8. The pressure at any point below the surface of water
exposed to atmospheric pressure is referred to as ______.
a. statichead
b. hydrostaticpressure
c. specifcpressure
d. aorb
9. What is the equivalent pipe length for a -inch fully
open globe valve?
a. 113.0
b. 142.0
c. 170.0
d. 224.0
10. The critical velocity of water _________.
a. in-inch,1-inch,and2-inchpipeislessthan0.5fpsat
b. isrepresentedbyaReynoldsnumberof82,500
c. isR
d. isgreaterthan20ft/secforallpipe10inchesand
11. The static pressure is always _________ the pressure
during fow.
a. lessthan
b. greaterthan
c. thesameas
d. noneoftheabove
1. Water in motion _________.
a. hasuseditspotentialenergy
b. hasonlykineticenergy
c. hasbothkineticandpotentialenergy
d. noneoftheabove
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Te following exam and application form
also may be downloaded from the website. Reading the article and
completing the form will allow you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit.
For most people, this process will require approximately one hour. If
you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test, you will be notifed
that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD
renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs.
(Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the acceptance
policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept on fle at
the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
8 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Te function of an automatic irrigation
system is to provide and distribute a pre-
determined amount of water to economi-
cally produce and maintain ornamental
shrubs, cultivated lawns, and other large
turf areas. Other benefts of an automatic
irrigation system include convenience,
full landscape coverage, easy control for
overnight and early morning watering,
and minimized plant loss during drought.
Tis chapter discusses the basic design
criteria and components of irrigation
systems for ornamental lawns and turf.
Among the factors considered are water
quality and requirements, soil consid-
erations, system concepts, and system
components. A design information sheet
is also provided, as Appendix A, to assist
the plumbing engineer in the orderly col-
lection of the required feld information
and other pertinent data.
Water QualIty and
In urban areas, where the source of the
water supply is often the municipal water
system, the plumbing engineer does not
need to be concerned with the qual-
ity of the water. In cases where private
sources are used and the water quality is
unknown, the water should be analyzed
by the appropriate local health authority
having jurisdiction prior to use. Te three
main areas of concern are as follows:
1. Any silt content that, if high, may
result in the baking and sealing of
2. Any industrial waste that may be
harmful to good growth
3. Any soluble salts that may build up
in the root area
Te most common solution currently
available for handling excessive amounts
of silt is the construction of a settling
basin, usually in the form of a decorative
lake or pond. In those areas where the salt
content is excessive, 1,000 parts per mil-
lion (ppm) and above, the inability of the
soil to cope with the problem may require
the use of special highly salt-tolerant
Te quantity of water required for an
efective irrigation system is a function
of the type of grass, the soil, and local
weather conditions. Te quantity of water
is usually expressed as the depth of the
water applied during a given period over
the area to be covered. Te amount of
water applied to a given area can be con-
trolled easily by adjusting the irrigation
systems length and frequency of opera-
Irrigation Systems
Reprinted from ASPE Data Book Volume 3: Special Plumbing Systems, Chapter 4: Irrigation Systems.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
Table 1 Net Amount of Water to Apply per Irrigation
Soil Profle Amount, in. (mm)
Coarse, sandy soils 0.45 (11.43)
Fine, sandy loams 0.85 (21.59)
Silt loams 1.10 (27.94)
Heavy clay or clay loams 0.90 (22.86)
Note: Net amount of moisture required based on 12 in. (304.8 mm) root depth.
Figure 1 Examples of a Block System
2 Plumbing Systems & Design SEPTEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
tion. An efcient irrigation system takes
into consideration the rate of the appli-
cation of the water, usually expressed in
inches per hour, and the attempt to match
the application rate with the absorption
rate of the soil. Often, this condition is
achieved through frequent short water-
ing cycles.
soIl consIderatIons
Sandy, porous soils have relatively high
absorption rates and can handle the high
output of the sprinklers. Steep slopes
and very tight, nonporous soils require
low precipitation rates to avoid erosion
damage and wasteful runof.
A sufcient amount of water must be
applied during each irrigation period to
ensure penetration to the root zone. Table
1 suggests guidelines for several soil pro-
fles (net amount of water to apply per
irrigation cycle). In the absence of any
specifc information on the soil and local
weather conditions, the irrigation system
may be designed for 1 inches (38.1 mil-
limeters) of water per week. Te plumb-
ing engineer should consult with the local
administrative authority to determine
compliance with the applicable codes in
the jurisdiction. Te engineer can obtain
specifc information on the soil and local
weather conditions by contacting a local
weather bureau, university, or state engi-
system concepts
Te three basic system concepts that can
be used by the engineer in the design
of an irrigation network are the block
method, the quick-coupling method, and
the valve-per-sprinkler method.
Te block system is an approach in
which a single valve controls the fow of
water to several sprinklers. It is ideal for
residential and other small turf areas.
Either manual or automatic valves may
be used in the block system. As the irriga-
tion area increases or where high-volume
sprinklers are employed, the block system
becomes less attractive to the engineer
because of the large valves and pipelines
required. Examples of the block system
are shown in Figure 1.
Te quick-coupling irrigation system
is an answer to the high cost incurred on
large block system projects. Development
of the quick-coupling valve provided a
more fexible irrigation system. Te valve
is located underground but can be acti-
vated from the surface. Where manpower
is not critical and security is reasonable,
the quick-coupling irrigation system may
be considered by the engineer. An exam-
ple of a quick-coupling valve is illustrated
in Figure 2.
Te last concept in
sprinkler system design
is the valve-per-sprinkler
method. Small actuator
valves, operated at low volt-
age, provide great fexibil-
ity and control. Sprinklers
in diverse areas having the
same (or similar) water
requirements may be
operated concurrently. In
other applications, such as
quarter applications cov-
ering quarter circles or half
circles, the irrigation sprin-
klers may be piped, wired,
and operated together
through system program-
mers. Te valve-per-sprin-
kler system provides the
opportunity to standardize
the pipe sizes by selecting
the appropriate sprinklers
to be operated at any given time. Figure 3
illustrates this design.
system components
One of the most important considerations
for the plumbing engineer when design-
ing an irrigation system is the selection of
the sprinklers. Sprinklers are mechanical
devices with nozzles used to distribute
water by converting water pressure to a
high-velocity discharge stream. Many
diferent types of sprinklers are manufac-
tured for a variety of system applications.
Te plumbing engineer should become
knowledgeable of the various types before
selecting the sprinklers, as the fow rates
and operating pressures must be nearly
the same in each of the irrigation systems
Spray Sprinklers Surface-type spray
and pop-up spray sprinklers (see Figure
4) produce a single sheet of water and
cover a relatively small area, about 10 to 20
feet (3.05 to 6.10 meters) in radius. Tese
sprinklers can operate on a low-pressure
range of 15 to 35 pounds per square inch
(psi) (103.4 to 241.3 kPa). Tey apply the
water at a high rate of application1 to
2 inches/hour (25.4 to 50.8 mm/hour)
and are most economical in small turf
or shrub areas and in irregularly shaped
Due to the fne spray design, the pattern
can be easily distorted by the wind; there-
Figure 2 Quick-Coupling Valve
Figure 3 Valve-in-Head System
SEPTEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 3
fore, these sprinklers should be installed
in protected areas.
Impact Sprinklers Impact sprinklers
(see Figure 5) can be permanent or mov-
able and either the riser-mounted type
(see Figure 2) or the pop-up rotary type
(see Figure 6).
Impact sprinklers have an adjustable,
revolving water stream and are available
in both single-nozzle and
double-nozzle designs.
Tese devices can oper-
ate at a higher pressure
(25 to 100 psi [172.3 to
689.5 kPa]) and cover
larger areas (40 to 100
feet [12.2 to 30.5 meters]
in radius). Te water is
applied at a lower rate
(0.20 to 0.5 inches/hour
[5.08 to 12.7 mm/hour]).
Because of its larger,
more compact stream
of water, this sprinkler
is not easily distorted
by the wind and is most
economical in large,
open turf areas.
Freestanding sprin-
klers are not desirable
where they are exposed.
In such cases, the pop-up,
rotary-type sprinklers
shown in Figure 6 may be
used. Tese nozzles rise
above the ground level
only when the water is
being delivered to the
Half-circle, rotary
sprinklers can discharge
the same volume of
water as full-circle units.
A half-circle, rotary
sprinkler can provide the
same amount of water
as a full-circle unit over
half the area, doubling
the application rate.
Quarter-circle sprinklers
will quadruple the appli-
cation rate. Some equip-
ment manufacturers use
diferent nozzles to com-
pensate for the reduced
area and to provide a
uniform application rate.
If compensating nozzles
are not used in half-
circle sprinklers, these
units must be valved and
operated separately for a balanced appli-
cation of the water.
Shrub Sprinklers Several types of
shrub sprinklers are available, including
bubblers (see Figure 7), fat-spray sprin-
klers, and stream-spray sprinklers. Shrub
sprinklers can be mounted on risers to
spray over plants. If the plants are tall
and not dense near the ground, shrub
sprinklers can be used on short risers,
and the spray can be directed under the
plants. Te spray can also be kept below
the plant. Flat-spray shrub heads are best
employed for these applications.
Trickle Irrigation Trickle irrigation
is commonly used in vineyards and
orchards and routed through tubing with
special emitters installed at each planting.
Most emitters have fexible orifces and
may have provisions for adding fertilizer.
Tese irrigation systems have a low-vol-
ume usage and usually are not installed
in conjunction with conventional lawn
sprinkler systems.
Remote-control valves are generally clas-
sifed into three basic categories: electric,
hydraulic, and thermal-hydraulic. Te
electrically operated valve receives an
electric signal from the controller and
actuates a solenoid in the valve. Tis sole-
noid opens and closes the control valve.
Te hydraulic control valve is operated
with the water pressure and has control
tubing from the controller to the valve.
Te thermal-hydraulic control valve uses
an electric signal from the controller to
heat up the components of the valve to
open the unit. Te most common use of
this valve is to control the water usage to
the diferent zones.
Tese devices should be installed with
access for maintenance. Most control
valves have some provisions for manual
operation. In some systems, manual con-
trol valves are installed in pits or vaults
Figure 4 Pop-Up Spray Heads





Figure 5 Impact Sprinkler





Figure 6 Rotor SprinklerArcs and Full Circles





4 Plumbing Systems & Design SEPTEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
with a long T-handle wrench used for the
activation of each circuit.
An irrigation system may be installed
with an automatic check valve on the
sprinkler heads. When a zone is installed
on sloping terrain, these valves will close
when they sense a low pressure at turn-
of, preventing the drainage of the supply
pipe through a sprinkler head installed in
a lower area.
Atmospheric vacuum breakers (see
Figure 8) must be installed on every
sprinkler circuit downstream of the con-
trol valve to eliminate the possibility of
back-siphonage into the potable water
system. Many (if not all) local jurisdic-
tions have codes that require this type
of valve. Te plumbing designer should
consult with the local administrative
authority and check all applicable codes
for their requirements.
Pressure-reducing valves are installed
where higher street pressures are involved
and also are commonly used to maintain
a constant pressure where the inlet pres-
sures may vary. Some manufacturers
ofer remote-control valves with pressure
Low-fow control valves may be
installed to avoid damage to the piping
or tubing from pressure surges during the
flling of a (dry) system. Tis control valve
allows a slow flling of the piping or tubing
until the pressure is established.
In climates where freezing conditions
may occur, automatic-type drain valves
should be installed at the low points of
the system to allow for drainage of the
system. Tis control valve will open auto-
matically when the water pressure drops
below a set point. In heavy or dense soils,
a pit of gravel should be provided for
quick drainage.
BackfloW deVIces
An irrigation system may be installed with
an automatic check valve on the sprin-
klers. When a zone is installed on sloping
terrain, these valves will close when they
sense a low pressure at turnof, prevent-
ing drainage of the supply pipe through a
sprinkler head installed in a low area.
Te use of pressure vacuum break-
ers to eliminate the possibility of back-
siphonage into the potable water system
is the minimum level of backfow pre-
vention accepted by most jurisdictions.
Te plumbing engineer should consult
with the local administrative authority
and check all applicable codes for their
Presently, many types of controllers for
irrigation systems are available. Selec-
tion of this device is based on the spe-
cifc application involved. Controllers
are programmed to activate each irriga-
tion zone at a specifc time and also will
control the length of time that each zone
is activated. Some controllers have a cal-
endar that allows the irrigation system to
be used only on certain days. Other types
of controllers have manual (or automatic)
overrides to shut down all systems during
rain or to turn on specifc zones for extra
water. Some controllers have soil mois-
ture monitors, which turn on zones only
when needed. Controller panels can be
surface mounted, recessed mounted, or
pedestal mounted. Figure 9 shows a typi-
cal illustration of a surface-mounted and
a pedestal-mounted irrigation system
desIgn InformatIon
When designing an underground sprin-
kler system, the plumbing engineer
should consider the following factors: the
site plan, type of plants, type of soil, type
and source of water, and system location.
sIte plan
An accurate site plan, preferably laid
out to scale and showing all buildings,
shrubs, trees, hedges, walks, drives, and
parking, should be drawn as accurately as
possible. Areas where overspray is unde-
sirable, such as walkways and buildings,
should be clearly noted. Property lines
also should be shown on the site plan.
Te heights and diameters of shrubs and
hedges should be indicated.
types of plantIngs
Te engineer should show the areas that
will be irrigated on the site plan as well as
the areas that will be omitted. Tose areas
that require a diferent style of sprinkler
and separate zoning also should be indi-
cated. Some plantings require more fre-
quent watering than others; therefore,
they will require a separate zone and
control valve. Te engineer should deter-
mine whether the plantings allow spray
on their leaves (or any other special type
of spray) and should select the sprinklers
Figure 8 Installation of Atmospheric-Type Vacuum Breakers
Figure 7 NozzlesAdjustable Arcs and Patterns





SEPTEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 5
type of soIl
Te type of soil determines the proper
rate of application of water to the soil. Te
length and frequency of the applications
can be determined by considering the
soil and the types of plants.
A sufcient amount of water must be
applied during each irrigation period to
ensure penetration to the root zone. Table
1 recommends acceptable guidelines for
several types of soil profles. Where avail-
able, the engineer should secure local soil
and weather conditions by contacting
the local state extension engineer, a uni-
versity, or the weather bureau. Te local
weather bureau usually publishes an
evapotranspiration guide, which shows
the defcit water required to maintain turf
grass. Tis value is compiled by measuring
the rainfall minus the evaporation taking
place during a particular period. Te bal-
ance is the amount of water required. In
the absence of any specifc information
on local soil and weather conditions, the
irrigation system should be designed for
a minimum of 1 inches (38.1 mm) of
water per week.
Sandy, porous soils (as previously indi-
cated) have relatively high absorption
rates and can handle the high output of
sprinklers. Steep slopes and very tight,
nonporous soils require low precipita-
tion rates to avoid erosion damage and
type and source of Water
Te source of the water should be located
on the site plan. If the water source is a
well, the pump capacity, well depth,
pump discharge pressure, and other
pertinent data should also be recorded.
If the water source is a city water main,
the locations, size, service-line material,
and length of piping from the service line
to the meter should be researched by
the plumbing engineer. Te water meter
size and the static water pressure of the
city main are also needed. Te engineer
should determine whether special meter
pits or piping arrangements are required
by the utility company.
system locatIon
Due to the infuence of physical and
local climatic conditions, the general
area may require specifc design consid-
erations, such as drain valves on systems
subjected to freezing temperatures. Windy
areas require closer spacing of sprinklers,
and the wind velocity and direction must
be considered. For areas on sloping ter-
rain, there will be a diference in the
outlet pressure, and consideration must
be made for system drainage.
Te engineer must review local codes
to determine acceptable piping materi-
als, installation, requirements, and the
approved connection to municipal water
Te ABCs of Lawn Sprinkler Systems. Irri-
gation Association, Fairfax, Virginia.
Pair, Claude H., ed. Sprinkler Irrigation,
4th edition. Sprinkler Irrigation
Association, Silver Spring, Maryland.
Architect-engineers Turf Sprinkler
Manual. Te Rainbird Company,
Glendora, California.
Design Information for Large Turf Irriga-
tion Systems. Te Toro Company,
Riverside, California.
Young, Virgil E. Sprinkler Irrigation
Systems. Mister Rain, Inc., Auburn,
Te Irrigation Association, www.irriga-
Figure 9 Irrigation Sprinkler Programmers





6 Plumbing Systems & Design SEPTEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
appendIx a
suggested InformatIon sheet for sprInkler system desIgn
All available information should be contained on this sheet, plot plan, or both.
1. Project name_______________________________ Address_______________________________________
2. Water supply:
a. Location and size of existing tap, meter, pump, or other __________________________________
b. Existing meter, pump, or tap capacity: Residual pressure _______________GPM _____________
c. Power supply: Location _________________________________________ Voltage _________________
d. Length, type, location, and size of existing supply line (identify on plan)
3. Area to be watered. Identify all planted areas whether shrubbery or trees; indicate clearance under trees. (Identify on plan.)
4. Soil type: Light _______________________ Medium _____________________ Heavy __________________
5. Hours per day and night allowed for irrigation __________________________________________________
6. Amount of precipitation required per week __________________________________________________
7. Area to be bordered or not watered (identify on plan)
8. Elevations and prevailing wind conditions (identify on plan)
9. Type of system: (a) Automatic electric _________________ (b) Automatic hydraulic _______________
(c) Manual pop-up ______________ (d) Manual quick-coupling _____________ (e) Other____________
10. Indicate equipment preference _____________________________________________________________
11. Indicate preferred location for valves and controllers _________________________________________________________________
12. Indicate vacuum breaker and/or drain valve requirement ____________________________________________________________
13. Indicate pipe material preference: 2 and larger ______________ 2 and smaller _______________
14. Indicate any preference for sprinkler riser types ____________________________________________
SPECIAL NOTES (use additional sheet if necessary) _____________________________________________________________________
SEPTEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 7
About This Issues Article
The September 2007 continuing education article is
Irrigation Systems, Chapter 4 of ASPE Data Book 3: Special
Plumbing Systems.
This chapter discusses the basic design criteria and com-
ponents of irrigation systems for ornamental lawns and
turf. Among the factors considered are water quality and
requirements, soil considerations, systems concepts, and
components. A design information sheet is also provided, as
Appendix A, to assist the plumbing engineer in the orderly
collection of the required feld information and other perti-
nent data.
You may locate this article at Read
the article, complete the following exam, and submit your
answer sheet to the ASPE office to potentially receive 0.1 CEU.

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsIrrigation Systems (PSD 141)
1. The function of an irrigation system is _________.
a. to conserve water
b. as a labor-saving device for yard maintenance
c. to provide and distribute a predetermined amount of
water to economically produce and/or maintain shrubs,
lawns, and turf
d. none of the above
2. When designing an underground sprinkler system,
the plumbing engineer should consider which of the
following factors?
a. site plan, b. types of plants, c. type of soil,
d. all of the above
3. The amount of water to apply per irrigation cycle in
coarse, sandy soil, assuming a 14-inch root depth, is ____.
a. 0.45 inch, b. 0.85 inch, c. 1.10 inches,
d. none of the above
4. The three basic concepts that can be used by the engineer
in the design of the irrigation network are _________.
a. block method, quick-coupling method, and valve-per-
sprinkler method
b. uniform water coverage, controlled depth of water per
square foot, and zone control method
c. both a and b
d. none of the above
5. Water for irrigation systems _________.
a. may be from an urban source
b. may be from a private source
c. may be from a storage reservoir, tank, or surface pond
d. any of the above
6. Soil conditions _________.
a. need not be considered when urban sources of water are
b. afect the amount of water needed
c. are not important because the landscaper will supply the
proper soil for the plants used
d. should have high absorption rates
7. The last concept in sprinkler system design is _________.
a. plant type, b. soil type, c. the valve-in-head method,
d. slope of grade at the site
8. One of the most important considerations for the
plumbing engineer when designing an underground
sprinkler system is _________.
a. the selection of the sprinkler heads
b. the system controller
c. using a sufcient quantity of water
d. using the least amount of water
9. Windy areas require _________.
a. more water due to evaporation
b. closer spacing of sprinklers
c. increased outlet pressure
d. both a and c
10. Atmospheric vacuum breakers must be installed
a. only if required by code
b. on every sprinkler circuit downstream of the control
c. when the designer does not want to use a backfow
d. below grade
11. Trickle irrigation is commonly used in _________.
a. vineyards and orchards
b. where water is scarce
c. foreign countries
d. less afuent areas
12. In climates where freezing conditions may occur,
a. manual drain valves should be installed
b. reduced-pressure backfow preventers should not be
c. automatic-type drain valves should be installed
d. the piping system must be heat traced
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Now Online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Te following exam and application form
also may be downloaded from the website. Reading the article and
completing the form will allow you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit.
For most people, this process will require approximately one hour. If
you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test, you will be notifed
that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD
renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs.
(Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the acceptance
policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept on fle at
the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
8 Plumbing Systems & Design SEPTEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
Te purpose of the sanitary drainage system is to remove efu-
ent discharged from plumbing fxtures and other equipment to
an approved point of disposal. A sanitary drainage system gen-
erally consists of horizontal branches, vertical stacks, a building
drain inside the building, and a building sewer from the build-
ing wall to the point of disposal.
To economically design a sanitary drainage system, use the
smallest pipes according to the code that can rapidly carry away
the soiled water from individual fxtures without clogging the
pipes, leaving solids in the piping, generating excessive pneu-
matic pressures at points where the fxture drains connect to the
stack (which might cause the reduction of trap water seals and
force sewer gases back through inhabitable areas), and creating
undue noise.
Since vents and venting systems are described in Chapter 3 of
this volume, the following discussion centers only on the design
of drain and waste systems.
Plumbing codes establish a minimum acceptable standard for
the design and installation of systems, including sanitary drain-
age. Tere are various model codes, but some states and large
cities have adopted plumbing codes other than the ones usually
associated with the region. Because of this non-standardization,
the actual plumbing code used for each specifc project must be
obtained from a responsible code ofcial. Tere are a variety of
diferent codes used to lay out and size interior sanitary drain-
age system. Some codes have been adopted by major cities such
as New York, Chicago, Los Angles, and others.
Te information pertaining to sanitary design for any specifc
project appears in the approved local plumbing code and must
be the primary method used for the accepted methods and
sizing. Te tables and charts appearing in this chapter are used
only to illustrate and augment discussions of sizing methods,
sizing procedures, and design methods and should not be used
for actual design purposes.
A stack is considered a main vertical pipe that carries away dis-
charge from within a facility of water closets and urinals (soil
stack) or other clear water waste from equipment and non-
sanitary fxtures (waste stack). Flow in the drain empties into
the vertical stack ftting, which may be a long-turn tee-wye or
a short-turn or sanitary tee. Each of these fttings permits fow
from the drain to enter the stack with a component directed
vertically downward. Depending on the rate of fow out of the
drain into the stack, the diameter of the stack, the type of stack
ftting, and the fow down the stack from higher levels, if any,
the discharge from the fxture drain may or may not fll the cross
section of the stack at the level of entry. In any event, as soon as
the water enters the stack, the force of gravity rapidly accelerates
it downward, and before it falls very far, it assumes the form of a
sheet around the wall of the stack, leaving the center of the pipe
open for the fow of air.
Tis sheet of water continues to accelerate until the frictional
force exerted by the wall of the stack on the falling sheet of water
equals the force of gravity. From that point onif the distance
the water falls is great enough and provided that no fow enters
the stack at lower levels to interfere with the sheetthe sheet
remains unchanged in thickness and velocity until it reaches
the bottom of the stack. Te ultimate vertical velocity the sheet
attains is called the terminal velocity. Te distance the sheet
must fall to attain this terminal velocity is called the terminal
length. Following are the formulae developed for calculating
the terminal velocity and terminal length:
Equation 1
= 3.0
= 0.052V
= Terminal velocity in stack, fps (m/s)
= Terminal length below point of fow entry, ft (m)
Q = Quantity rate of fow, gpm (L/s)
d = Diameter of stack, in. (mm)
Terminal velocity is approximately 10 to 15 fps (3.05 to 4.57
m/s), and this velocity is attained within 10 to 15 ft (3.05 to 4.57
m) of fall from the point of entry.
At the center of the stack is a core of air that is dragged along
with the water by friction and for which a supply source must
be provided if excessive pressures in the stack are to be avoided.
Te usual means of supplying this air are through the stack vent
or vent stack. Te entrained air in the stack causes a pressure
reduction inside the stack, which is caused by the frictional
efect of the falling sheet of water dragging the core of air along
with it.
If the sheet of water falling down the stack passes a stack ft-
ting through which the discharge from a fxture is entering the
stack, the water from the branch mixes with or defects the
rapidly moving sheet of water. An excess pressure in the drain
from which the water is entering the stack is required to defect
the sheet of water fowing downward or mix the branch water
with it. Te result is a backpressure created in the branch, which
increases with the fow rate and fow velocity down the stack
and with the rate of fow out of the drain.
Te importance of this research is that it conclusively abol-
ishes the myth that water falling from a great height will destroy
the fttings at the base of a stack. Te velocity at the base of a
100-story stack is only slightly and insignifcantly greater than
the velocity at the base of a three-story stack. Te concern is the
weight of the stack, which must be supported by clamps at each
foor level.
Sanitary Drainage Systems
Reprinted from Plumbing Engineering Design Handbook, Volume 2: Plumbing Systems, Chapter 1: Sanitary Drainage Systems.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
2 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
When the sheet of water reaches the bend at the base of the
stack, it turns at approximately right angles into the building
drain. Flow enters the horizontal drain at a relatively high veloc-
ity compared to the velocity of fow in a horizontal drain under
uniform fow conditions. Te slope of the building drain is not
adequate to maintain the velocity that existed in the vertical
sheet when it reached the base of the stack and must fow hori-
zontally. Te velocity of the water fowing along the building
drain and sewer decreases slowly then increases suddenly as
the depth of fow increases and completely flls the cross section
of the drain. Tis phenomenon is called a hydraulic jump.
Te critical distance at which the hydraulic jump may occur
varies from immediately at the stack ftting to 10 times the diam-
eter of the stack downstream. Less hydraulic jump occurs if the
horizontal drain is larger than the stack. After the hydraulic
jump occurs and water flls the drain, the pipe tends to fow full
until the friction resistance of the pipe retards the fow to that of
uniform fow conditions.
Determination of the required drain size is a relatively simple
matter, since the fxture drain must be adequate only to carry
the discharge from the fxture to which it is attached. Because of
the problem of self-siphonage, however, it is advisable to select
the diameter of the drain so that the drain fows little more than
half full under the maximum discharge conditions likely to be
imposed by the fxture.
For example, a lavatory drain capable of carrying the fow dis-
charged from a lavatory may still fow full over part or all of its
length. Tere are several reasons for this. Te vertical compo-
nent of the fow out of the trap into the drain tends to make the
water attach itself to the upper elements of the drain, and a slug
of water is formed, flling the drain at that point. If there is not
sufcient air aspirated through the overfow, the pipe will fow
full for part of its length, with the average velocity of fow being
less than the normal velocity for the rate of fow in the drain at
a given slope.
If the fxture considered is a water closet, the surge of water
from the closet will continue almost without change even
along a very long drain until it reaches the stack. Tus, it can be
assumed, for all practical purposes, that the surge caused by the
discharge of a water closet through a fxture drain reaches the
stack or horizontal branch with practically the same velocity it
had when it left the fxture.
Because of the pressure conditions in a stack and a
building drain, the wastewater does not fll the cross
section anywhere, so the air can fow freely along with
the water. Te water fowing down the wall of the stack
drags air with it by friction and carries it through the
building drain to the street sewer. Te air is then vented
through the main street sewer system so dangerous
pressures do not build up. Te generally accepted
pressure is plus or minus 1 inch of water column.
If air is to enter the top of the stack to replace the
air being carried along with the water, there must be
a pressure reduction inside the stack. Because of the
head loss necessary to accelerate the air and to provide
for the energy loss at the entrance, however, this pres-
sure reduction is negligible; it amounts to only a small fraction
of an inch (a millimeter) of water. What causes appreciable pres-
sure reductions is the partial or complete blocking of the stack
by water fowing into the stack from a horizontal branch.
A small increase in pneumatic pressure will occur in the
building drain even if there is no complete blocking of the air-
fow by a hydraulic jump or by submergence of the outlet and
the building sewer. Tis is due to the decrease in cross-sectional
area available for airfow when the water fowing in the drain
has adapted itself to the slope and diameter of the drain.
Te discharge characteristic curvesfow rates as a function of
timefor most water closet bowls have the same general shape,
but some show a much lower peak and a longer period of dis-
charge. Te discharge characteristics for various types of water
closet bowls, particularly low-fow water closets, have a sig-
nifcant impact on estimating the capacity of a sanitary drain-
age system. Other plumbing fxtures, such as sinks, lavatories,
and bathtubs, may produce similar surging fows in drainage
systems, but they do not have as marked of an efect as water
Drainage Loads Single-family dwellings contain certain
plumbing fxturesone or more bathroom groups, each consist-
ing of a water closet, a lavatory, and a bathtub or shower stall; a
kitchen sink, dishwasher, and washing machine; and, possibly,
a set of laundry trays. Large buildings also have other fxtures,
such as slop sinks and drinking water coolers. Te important
characteristic of these fxtures is that they are not used continu-
ously. Rather, they are used with irregular frequencies that vary
greatly during the day. In addition, the various fxtures have
quite diferent discharge characteristics regarding both the aver-
age rate of fow per use and the duration of a single discharge.
Consequently, the probability of all the fxtures in the building
operating simultaneously is small. Assigning drainage fxture
unit (dfu) values to fxtures to represent their load-producing
efect on the plumbing system was originally proposed in 1923
by Dr. Roy B. Hunter. Te fxture unit values were designed for
application in conjunction with the probability of simultaneous
use of fxtures to establish the maximum permissible drainage
loads expressed in fxture units rather than in gallons per minute
(gpm, L/s) of drainage fow. Table 1 gives the recommended fx-
ture unit values. Te plumbing engineer must conform to local
code requirements.
Table 1 Residential Drainage Fixture Unit (dfu) Loads
Fixture Drainage Fixture Units (dfu) IPC UPC
Bathtub 2 3
Clothes washer 3 3
Dishwasher 2 2
Floor drain 3 * * Trap loadings
Laundry tray 2 2 1" 1 dfu
Lavatory, single 1 1 1" 3 dfu
Lavatory, in sets of 2 or 3 2 2 2 4 dfu
Shower (each head) 2 2 3" 6 dfu
Sink (including dishwasher and garbage disposer) 3 3 4" 8 dfu
Water closet (1.6-gpf gravity tank) 4 4
Water closet (1.6-gpf fushometer tank) 5 5
Water closet (1.6-gpf fushometer valve) 4 4
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 3
A dfu is a quantity of load-producing discharge in relation to
that of a lavatory.
Dr. Hunter conceived the idea of assigning a fxture unit value
to represent the degree to which a fxture loads a system when
used at the maximum assumed fow and frequency. Te pur-
pose of the fxture unit concept is to make it possible to calcu-
late the design load of the system directly when the system is a
combination of diferent kinds of fxtures, each having a unique
loading characteristic. Current or recently conducted studies of
drainage loads on drainage systems may change these values.
Tese include studies of (1) reduced fow from water-saving fx-
tures; (2) models of stack, branch, and house drain fows; and
(3) actual fxture use.
Te criterion of fow capacities in drainage stacks is based on
the limitation of the water-occupied cross section to a speci-
fed fraction (r
) of the cross section of the stack where terminal
velocity exists, as suggested by earlier investigations.
Flow capacity can be expressed in terms of the stack diameter
and the water cross section:
Equation 2
Q = 27.8 r
Q = Capacity, gpm (L/s)
= Ratio of cross-sectional area of the sheet of water to
cross-sectional area of the stack
D = Diameter of the stack, in. (mm)
Values of fow rates based on r = ,
24, and
3 are tabulated in
Table 2.
Whether or not Equation 2 can be used safely to predict stack
capacities remains to be confrmed and accepted. However, it
provides a defnite law of variation of stack capacity with diam-
eter. If this law can be shown to hold for the lower part of the
range of stack diameters, it should be valid for the larger diam-
eters. It should be remembered that both F.M. Dawson and Dr.
Hunter, in entirely independent investigations, came to the
conclusion that slugs of water, with their accompanying violent
pressure fuctuations, did not occur until the stack fowed to
3 full. Most model codes have based their stack loading tables
on a value of r = or
Te recommended maximum permissible fow in a stack is
of the total cross-sectional area of the stack. By substituting r =
into Equation 2, the corresponding maximum permissible fow
for the various sizes of pipe in gpm (L/s) can be determined.
Table 1-3 lists the maximum permissible fxture units (fu) to be
conveyed by stacks of various sizes. Te table was created by
taking into account the probability of simultaneous use of fx-
tures. For example, the 500 fu is the maximum loading for a 4-in.
(100-mm) stack, thus 147 gpm (9.3 L/s) is equivalent to 500 fu.
Tis is the total load from all branches.
It should be noted that there is a restriction of the amount
of fow permitted to enter a stack from any branch when the
stack is more than three branch intervals. If an attempt is made
to introduce too large a fow into the stack at any one level, the
infow will fll the stack at that level and will even back up the
water above the elevation of infow, which will cause violent
pressure fuctuations in the stackresulting in the siphoning of
trap sealsand may also cause sluggish fow in the horizontal
branch. Tis problem was solved in a study of stack capacities
made by Wyly and Eaton at the National Bureau of Standards for
the Housing and Home Finance Agency in 1950.
Te water fowing out of the branch can enter the stack only by
mixing with the stream fowing down the stack or by defecting
it. Such a defection of the high-velocity stream coming down
the stack can be accomplished only if there is a large enough
hydrostatic pressure in the branch, since a force of some kind is
required to defect the downward fowing stream and therefore
change its momentum. Tis hydrostatic pressure is built up by
the backing up of the water in the branch until the head thus
created sufces to change the momentum of the stream already
in the stack to allow the fow from the branch to enter the stack.
Te magnitude of the maximum hydrostatic pressure that
should be permitted in the branch as a result of the backing up
of the spent water is based on the consideration that this backup
should not be sufciently great to cause the water to back up
into a shower stall or to cause sluggish fow. It is half the diam-
eter of the horizontal branch at its connection to the stack. Tat
is, it is the head measured at the axis of the pipe that will cause
the branch to fow full near the exit.
When a long-turn tee-wye is used to connect the branch to
the stack, the water has a greater vertical velocity when it enters
the stack than it does when a sanitary tee is used, and the back
pressures should be smaller in this case for the same fows down
the stack and in the branch.
Table 3 shows the maximum permissible fu loads for sanitary
stacks. Te procedure for sizing a multistory stack (greater than
three foors) is to frst size the horizontal branches connected to
the stack. Tis is done by totaling the fxture units connected to
Table 3 Horizontal Fixture Branches and Stacks
of pipe, in.
Maximum Number of Drainage Fixture Units (dfu) that May
Be Connected
1 Stack of
3 or Fewer
Stacks with More than 3
Branch Intervals
Total for
Total at
1 Branch
1 (40) 3 4 8 2
2 (50) 6 10 24 6
2 (65) 12 20 42 9
3 (80) 20
4 (100) 160 240 500 90
5 (125) 360 540 1,100 200
6 (150) 620 960 1,900 350
8 (200) 1,400 2,200 3,600 600
10 (250) 2,500 3,800 5,600 1,000
12 (300) 3,900 6,000 8,400 1,500
15 (380) 7,000
Does not include branches of the building drain.
No more than two water closets or bathroom groups within each branch interval or more than
six water closets or bathroom groups on the stack.
Table 2 Capacities of Stacks
Pipe Size,
in. (mm)
Flow, gpm (L/s)
r =
4 r =
24 r =
2 (50) 17.5 (1.1) 23.0 (1.45) 28 (1.77)
3 (80) 52 (3.28) 70 (4.41) 85 (5.36)
4 (100) 112 (7.07) 145 (9.14) 180 (11.35)
5 (125) 205 (12.93) 261 (16.5) 324 (20.44)
6 (150) 330 (20.82) 424 (26.8) 530 (33.43)
8 (200) 710 (44.8) 913 (57.6) 1,140 (72)
10 (250) 1,300 (82.0) 1,655 (104.4) 2,068 (130.5)
12 (300) 2,082 (131.4) 2,692 (170) 3,365 (212.3)
4 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Sanitary Drainage Systems
each branch and size in accordance with
column 2 in Table 3. Next, total all the
fxture units connected to the stack and
determine the size from the same table,
under column 4. Immediately check the
next column, Total at One Branch Inter-
val, and determine if this maximum is
exceeded by any of the branches. If it is
exceeded, the size of the stack as originally
determined must be increased at least
one size, or the loading of the branches
must be redesigned so maximum condi-
tions are satisfed. Take, for example, a
4-in. (100-mm) stack more than three
stories in height. Te maximum loading
for a 4-in. (100-mm) branch is 160 fu, as
shown in column 2 of Table 3. Tis load
is limited by column 5 of the same table,
which permits only 90 fu to be introduced
into a 4-in. (100-mm) stack in any one-
branch interval. Te stack would have to
be increased in size to accommodate any
branch load exceeding 90 fu.
To illustrate clearly the requirements
of a stack with an ofset of more than
45 from the vertical, Figure 1 shows the
sizing of a stack in a 12-story building
where there is one ofset between the ffth
and sixth foors and another ofset below
the street foor.
Sizing is computed as follows:
Step 1. Compute the fxture units connect-
ed to the stack. In this case, assume
1,200 fxture units are connected to
the stack from the street foor through
the top foor.
Step 2. Size the portion of the stack above
the fifth-floor offset. There are 400
fxture units from the top foor down
through the sixth foor. According to
Table 3, column 4, 400 fxture units
require a 4-in. (100-mm) stack.
Step 3. Size the ofset on the ffth foor. An
ofset is sized and sloped like a building drain.
Step 4. Size the lower portion of the stack from the ffth foor down
through the street foor. Te lower portion of the stack must be
large enough to serve all fxture units connected to it, from the
top foor down (in this case 1,200 fxture units). According to
Table 3, 1,200 fxture units require a 6-in. (150-mm) stack.
Step 5. Size and slope the ofset below the street foor the same
as a building drain.
Te fxture on the sixth foor should be connected to the stack
at least 2 ft (0.6 m) above the ofset. If this is not possible, then
connect them separately to the stack at least 2 ft (0.6 m) below
the ofset. If this is not possible either, run the fxture drain down
to the ffth or fourth foor and connect to the stack at that point.
Te characteristics of sewage are the same as plain water.
Capacities of horizontal or sloping drains are complicated by
surging fow.
Te determination of drain size is based on highly fuctuating
or surging fow conditions in the horizontal branches carrying
the discharge of fxtures to the soil or waste stack. After falling
down the vertical stack, the water is assumed to enter the build-
ing drain with peaks of the surges leveled of somewhat but still
in a surging condition.
In a large building covering considerable ground area there
are probably several primary branches and certainly at least one
secondary branch. After the water enters the building drain, the
surge continues to level of, becoming more and more nearly
uniform, particularly after the hydraulic jump has occurred. If
the secondary branch is long enough, and if the drain serves
a large number of fxtures, the fow may become substantially
uniform before it reaches the street sewer.
Figure 1 Procedure for Sizing an Ofset Stack
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 5
Although the equations of steady, uniform fow in sloping drains
should not be used to determine the capacities of sloping drains
in which surging fow exists, fow computations based on these
formulas aford a rough check on values obtained by the more
complicated methods that are applicable to surging fow. Hence,
three of the commonly used formulas for fow in pipes will be
considered: (1) Hazen and Williams, (2) Darcy-Weisbach, and
(3) Manning.
Hazen and Williams formula Tis formula is
usually written as follows:
Equation 3
V = 1.318 C R
V = Mean velocity of fow, fps (m/s)
C = Hazen and Williams coefcient
R = Hydraulic radius of pipe, ft (m)
S = Slope of pressure gradient
Te exponents of R and S in Equation 3 have been
selected to make the coefcient C as nearly constant
as possible for diferent pipe diameters and for dif-
ferent velocities of fow. Tus, C is approximately
constant for a given pipe roughness.
Darcy-Weisbach formula In this formula the dimensionless
friction coefcient f varies with the diameter of the pipe, the
velocity of fow, the kinematic viscosity of the fuid fowing, and
the roughness of the walls. It is usually written as follows:
Equation 4
f L V
D 2g
= Pressure drop or friction loss, ft (m)
f = Friction coefcient
L = Length of pipe, ft (m)
D = Diameter of pipe, ft (m)
V = Mean velocity of fow, fps (m/s)
g = Acceleration of gravity, 32.2 fps
(9.8 m/s
Manning formula Te Manning formula, which is similar
to the Hazen and Williams formula, is meant for open-channel
fow and is usually written as follows:
Equation 5
V =
n n
In this formula, n is the Manning coefcient and varies with
the roughness of the pipe and the pipe diameter.
Te quantity of fow is equal to the cross-sectional area of fow
times the velocity of fow obtained from the above three equa-
tions. Tis can be expressed as:
Equation 5a
Q = AV
Q = Quantity rate of fow, cfs (m
A = Cross-sectional area of fow, ft
V = Velocity of fow, fps (m/s)
By substituting the value of V from Mannings formula, the
quantity of fow in variously sized drains of the same material
can be calculated as
Equation 5b
Q = A
Tis is the formula used by many plumbing engineers to deal
with sloping drain problems. Te signifcant hydraulic param-
eters used in the above equation are listed in Table 4.
It should be noted that the units in the above equations should
be converted to the proper units whenever utilizing Equations
5a or 5b.
Horizontal drains are designated to fow at half-full capacity
under uniform fow conditions to minimize the generation of
pneumatic pressure fuctuations. A minimum slope of in./
ft (6.4 mm/m) should be provided for pipe 3 in. (80 mm) and
8 in./ft (3.2 mm/m) for 4-6-in. (100-150-mm) pipe,
16 in./ft (1.6 mm/m) for pipe 8 in. (200 mm) and larger.
Tese slopes are not a hard and fast rule and might be less
under unusual conditions. Te signer must confrm required
slopes with the local code authority. Tese minimum slopes
are required to maintain a velocity of fow greater than 2 fps
for scouring action. Table 5 gives the approximate velocities for
given fow, slopes, and diameters of horizontal drains based on
the Manning formula for half-full pipe and n = 0.015.
A fow velocity of 2 fps will prevent the solids within a pipe
from settling out and forming a system stoppage. Table 6 has
been prepared to give the size of a pipe in conjunction with fow
rate to maintain a self-cleansing velocity of 2 fps.
Te recommended loads for building drains and sewers are tab-
ulated in Table 7. Tis table shows the maximum number of fx-
ture units that may be connected to any portion of the building
drain or building sewer for given slopes and diameters of pipes.
For example, an ofset below the lowest branch with 1,300 fu at
in./ft (6.4 mm/m) slope requires an 8-in. (200-mm) pipe.
For devices that provide continuous or semi-continuous fow
into the drainage system, such as sump pumps, ejectors, and air-
conditioning equipment, a value of 2 fu can be assigned for each
gpm (L/s) of fow. For example, a sump pump with a discharge
rate of 200 gpm (12.6 L/s) is equivalent to 200 2 = 400 fu.
Te distinction between sump and ejector pumps is more termi-
nology than actual fact. A sump pump is designed to transport
clear, non-sanitary wastewater with some turbidity and sus-
Table 4 Values of R, R2/3, AF, and AH
Pipe Size,
in. (mm) R =
4, ft (mm) R
, ft (mm)
Area for Full Flow),
AH (Cross-Sectional
Area for Half-full
Flow), ft
1 (40) 0.0335 (1.02) 0.1040 (3.17) 0.01412 (0.0013) 0.00706 (0.00065)
2 (50) 0.0417 (1.27) 0.1200 (3.66) 0.02180 (0.0020) 0.01090 (0.0009)
2 (65) 0.0521 (1.59) 0.1396 (4.24) 0.03408 (0.0031) 0.01704 (0.0015)
3 (80) 0.0625 (1.90) 0.1570 (4.78) 0.04910 (0.0046) 0.02455 (0.0023)
4 (100) 0.0833 (2.54) 0.1910 (5.82) 0.08730 (0.0081) 0.04365 (0.0040)
5 (125) 0.1040 (3.17) 0.2210 (6.74) 0.13640 (0.0127) 0.06820 (0.0063)
6 (150) 0.1250 (3.81) 0.2500 (7.62) 0.19640 (0.0182) 0.09820 (0.0091)
8 (200) 0.1670 (5.09) 0.3030 (9.23) 0.34920 (0.0324) 0.17460 (0.0162)
10 (250) 0.2080 (6.33) 0.3510 (10.70) 0.54540 (0.0506) 0.27270 (0.0253)
12 (300) 0.2500 (7.62) 0.3970 (12.10) 0.78540 (0.0730) 0.39270 (0.0364)
15 (380) 0.3125 (9.53) 0.4610 (14.05) 1.22700 (0.0379) 0.61350 (0.0570)
6 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Sanitary Drainage Systems
pended solids no larger than sand grains. An ejector pump is
designed to transport sanitary waste and larger solids suspended
in the efuent. All efuent is a liquid with solids suspended in it
but has the same hydraulic characteristics as water.
Building drains that cannot fow directly into a sewer by grav-
ity must be discharged into a covered basin from which fuid is
lifted into the buildings gravity drainage system by automatic
pump equipment or by any equally efcient method approved
by the administrative authority.
An ejector basin must be of airtight construction and must
be vented. It is airtight to prevent the escape of foul odors gen-
erated by sanitary waste from the subdrainage system. Since
it is airtight, a vent is required to relieve the air in the basin as
wastes discharge into it and also to supply air to the basin while
the contents are being discharged to the sanitary gravity drain-
age system. A duplex pump system shall be used. If one pump
breaks down, the control system will alert the second pump
to start. Te system will remain in operation and no damage
will be caused by the cessation of system operation. When a
Table 5 Approximate Discharge Rates and Velocities in Sloping Drains, n = 0.015
Actual Inside
Diameter of
in. (mm)
Actual Inside Half-full Flow Discharge Rate and Velocity
16 in./ft (1.6 mm/m) Slope
8 in./ft (3.2 mm/m) Slope
4 in./ft (6.4 mm/m) Slope
2 in./ft (12.7 mm/m) Slope
gpm (L/s)
Velocity, fps
gpm (L/s)
Velocity, fps
gpm (L/s)
Velocity, fps
gpm (L/s)
Velocity, fps
1 (31.8) 3.40 (0.21) 1.78 (45.5)
8 (34.9) 3.13 (0.20) 1.34 (0.41) 4.44 (0.28) 1.90 (48.3)
1 (38.9) 3.91 (0.247) 1.42 (0.43) 5.53 (0.35) 2.01 (51.1)
8 (41.28) 4.81 (0.30) 1.50 (0.46) 6.80 (0.38) 2.12 (53.9)
2 (50.8) 8.42 (0.53) 1.72 (0.52) 11.9 (0.75) 2.43 (61.8)
2 (63.5) 10.8 (0.68) 1.41 (0.43) 15.3 (0.97) 1.99 (0.61) 21.6 (1.36) 2.82 (71.7)
3 (76.3) 17.6 (1.11) 1.59 (0.49) 24.8 (1.56) 2.25 (0.69) 35.1 (2.21) 3.19 (81.1)
4 (101.6) 26.70 (1.68) 1.36 (34.6) 37.8 (2.38) 1.93 (0.59) 53.4 (3.37) 2.73 (0.83) 75.5 (4.76) 3.86 (98.2)
5 (127) 48.3 (3.05) 1.58 (40.2) 68.3 (4.30) 2.23 (0.68) 96.6 (6.10) 3.16 (0.96) 137 (8.64) 4.47 (113.7)
6 (152.4) 78.5 (4.83) 1.78 (45.3) 111 (7.00) 2.52 (0.77) 157 (10) 3.57 (1.09) 222 (14.0) 5.04 (128.2)
8 (203.2) 170 (10.73) 2.17 (55.2) 240 (15.14) 3.07 (0.94) 340 (21.5) 4.34 (1.32) 480 (30.3) 6.13 (155.9)
10 (256) 308 (19.43) 2.52 (64.1) 436 (27.50) 3.56 (1.09) 616 (38.9) 5.04 (1.54) 872 (55.0) 7.12 (181.0)
12 (304.8) 500 (31.55) 2.83 (72.0) 707 (44.60) 4.01 (1.22) 999 (63.0) 5.67 (1.73) 1413 (89.15) 8.02 (204.0)
n = Manning coefcient, which varies with the roughness of the pipe.
For full fow: Multiply discharge by 2.00.
For full fow: Multiply velocity by 1.00.
For smoother pipe: Multiply discharge and velocity by 0.015 and divide by n of another pipe.
Table 7 Building Drains and Sewers
of Pipe, in.
Maximum Permissible Fixture Units for
Sanitary Building Drains and Runouts
From Stacks
Slope, in./ft (mm/m)
16 (1.6)
8 (3.2)
4 (6.4)
2 (12.7)
2 (50) 21 26
2 (65) 24 31
3 (80) 20 42
4 (100) 180 216 250
5 (125) 390 480 575
6 (150) 700 840 1,000
8 (200) 1400 1600 1,920 2,300
10 (250) 2500 2900 3,500 4,200
12 (300) 2900 4600 5,600 6,700
15 (380) 7000 8300 10,000 12,000
On-site sewers that serve more than one building may be sized according to the
current standards and specifcations of the administrative authority for public
No more than two water closets or two bathroom groups, except in single-family
dwellings, where no more than three water closets or three bathroom groups may be
installed. Check the local codes in the area served for exact requirements or restrictions.
Table 6 Slopes Of Cast Iron Soil Pipe Sanitary Sewers Required To Obtain Self-cleansing Velocities Of 2.0 And 2.5 Ft./sec.
(Rased On Mannings Formula With N = .012)
Size (in.)
1/4 Full 1/2 Full 3/4 Full Full
2.0 2.0 0.0313 4.67 0.0186 9.34 0.0148 14.09 0.0186 18.76
2.5 0.0489 5.04 0.0291 11.67 0.0231 17.62 0.0291 23.45
3.0 2.0 0.0178 10.71 0.0107 21.46 0.0085 32.23 0,0107 42.91
2.5 0.0278 13.47 0.0167 26.62 0.0133 40.29 0.0167 53.64
4.0 2.0 0.0122 19.03 0.0073 38.06 0.0058 57.01 0.0073 76.04
2.5 0.0191 23.79 0.0114 47.58 0.0091 71.26 0.0114 95.05
5.0 2.0 0.0090 29.89 0.0054 59.79 0.0043 89.59 0.0054 119.49
2.5 0.0141 37.37 0.0085 74.74 0.0067 111.99 0.0085 149.36
6.0 2.0 0.0071 43.18 0.0042 86.36 0.0034 129.54 0.0042 172.72
2.5 0.0111 53.98 0.0066 101.95 0.0053 161.93 0.0066 215.90
8.0 2.0 0.0048 77.20 0.0029 154.32 0.0023 231.52 0.0029 308.64
2.5 0.0075 96.50 0.0045 192.90 0.0036 289.40 0.0045 385.79
10.0 2.0 0.0036 120.92 0.0021 241.85 0.0017 362.77 0.0021 483.69
2.5 0.0056 151.15 0.0033 302.31 0.0026 453.46 0.0033 604.61
12.0 2.0 0.0028 174.52 0.0017 349.03 0.0013 523.55 0.0017 678.07
2.5 0.0044 218.15 0.0026 436.29 0.0021 654.44 0.0026 612.58
15.0 2.0 0.0021 275.42 0.0012 550.84 0.0010 826.26 0.0012 1101.68
2.5 0.0032 344.28 0.0019 688.55 0.0015 1032.83 0.0019 1377.10
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 7
duplex unit is used, each pump should be sized for 100 percent
fow, and it is good practice to have the operation of the pumps
alternate automatically.
A sump basin need not be airtight or vented because of the
lack of objectionable odors. Incoming water is collected in the
sump before it is pumped to the gravity drain pipe. Heavy-
fow drains require large sumps to retain greater-than-usual
amounts of water, thereby creating more head pressure on the
pipe inlet. Most manufacturers make their basins with bottom,
side, or angle inlets and with inside caulk, no-hub, push-on,
spigot, or screwed connections. Outlet connections are made to
accept pressure-type pipe joints. No-hub pipe and fttings are
not acceptable on pumped discharge piping due to the pressure
limitations of the pipe joints.
Sump and ejector systems normally use a wet pit and will have
the pumps either above slab or submerged. Tey are controlled
with a foat switch or electronic, with control switches mounted
inside the basin. Typical ejector installations are illustrated in
Figure 2. Typical ejector installations are illustrated in Figure 3.
Te cleanout provides access to horizontal and verti-
cal lines to facilitate inspection and provide a means
of removing obstructions such as solid objects, greasy
wastes, and hair. Cleanouts, in general, must be gas- and
water-tight, provide quick and easy plug removal, allow
ample space for the operation of cleaning tools, have a
means of adjustment to fnished surfaces, be attractive
in appearance, and be designed to support whatever
trafc is directed over them.
Some cleanouts are designed with a neoprene seal
plug, which prevents freezing or binding to the fer-
rule. All plugs are machined with a straight or running
thread and a fared shoulder for the neoprene gasket,
permitting quick and certain removal when necessary. A
maximum opening is provided for tool access. Recessed
covers are available to accommodate carpet, tile, ter-
razzo, and other surfaces fnishes and are adjustable to
the exact foor level established by the adjustable hous-
ing or by the set screws.
Waste lines are normally laid beneath the foor slabs
at a distance sufcient to provide adequate backfll over
the joints. Cleanouts are then brought up to foor-level
grade by pipe extension pieces. Where the sewer line is
at some distance below grade and not easily accessible
through extensions, small pits or manholes with access
covers must be installed. When cleanouts are installed
in trafc areas, the trafc load must be considered when
the materials of construction are selected.
Te size of the cleanout within a building should be
the same size as the piping, up to 4 in. (100 mm). For
larger size interior piping, 4-in. (100-mm) cleanouts
are adequate for their intended purpose; however, 6-in.
(150-mm) cleanouts are recommended to allow for a
larger variety of access needs such as for sewer video
Cleanouts should be provided at the following loca-
1. Five ft 0 in. (1.5 m) outside or inside the building at
the point of exit.
2. At every change of direction greater than 45.
3. A maximum distance between cleanouts of 50 ft (15.1 m)
should be maintained for piping 4 in. (100 mm) and smaller,
and of 75 ft (22.9 m) for larger piping. Underground sanitary
sewer piping larger than 10 in. (250 mm) in diameter should
be provided with cleanouts at every change of direction and
every 150 ft (45.7 m).
4. At the base of all stacks.
5. To comply with applicable codes.
Optional locations include:
1. At the roof stack terminal.
2. At the end of horizontal fxture branches or waste lines.
3. At fxture traps. (Fixture traps can be pre-manufactured with
cleanout plugs, although some codes prohibit the installa-
tion of this kind of trap.)
Figure 2 Typical Ejector Pump Installation
8 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Sanitary Drainage Systems
A large-diameter drain with a deep sump connected to a large-
diameter pipe passes more water faster than a smaller drain.
However, economics do not allow the designer arbitrarily to
select the largest available drain when a smaller, less-expen-
sive unit will do a satisfactory job. High-capacity drains are
intended for use primarily in locations where the fow reaches
high rates, such as malls, wash-down areas, and certain indus-
trial applications. Table 8, which shows minimum ratios of open
grate area based on pipe diameter, is ofered as a guide for the
selection of drains where the drain pipe diameter is known.
Te only drawback to using the open-area-pipe-diameter-
ratio method is that all drain manufacturers do not list the total
open areas of grates in their catalogs. Tis information usually
can be obtained upon request, however.
For the sizing of foor drains for most indoor applications, the
capacity of a drain is not extremely critical because the drains
primary function is to handle minor spillage or fxture overfow.
Te exceptions are, of course, cases where equipment discharges
to the drain, where automatic fre sprinklers may deluge an area
with large amounts of water, and where fushing of the foor is
required for sanitation.
Generally located foor drains or drains installed to anticipate
a failure may not receive sufcient water fow to keep the pro-
tective water seal or plumbing trap from evaporating. If it does
evaporate, sewer gases will enter the space. Auto-
matic or manual trap primers should be installed
to maintain a proper trap seal. (A small amount of
vegetable oil will dramatically reduce the evapora-
tion rate of infrequently used foor drains and foor
Figure 4 shows the basic components of a foor
Te selection of grates is based on use and the
amount of fow. Light-trafc areas may have a nickel-
bronze-fnished grate, while mechanical areas may
have a large, heavy-duty, ductile iron grate.
Te wearing of spike-heeled shoes prompted the
replacement of grates with a heel-proof, -in.-square
(6.4-mm) grate design in public toilet rooms, corri-
dors, passageways, promenade decks, patios, stores,
theaters, and markets. Tough this type of grating
has less drainage capacity than the previous one, its
safety feature makes it well worth the change.
Grates or strainers should be secured with stain-
less-steel screws in nickel-bronze tops. Vandal-proof
fasteners are available from most manufacturers.
Vandal-proofng foor drain grates is advisable. If
there is public access to the roof, consideration must
be given to protecting the vent openings from van-
In school gymnasium shower rooms, where the
blocking of fat-top shower drains with paper towels
can cause fooding, dome grates in the corners of
the room or angle grates against the walls can be
specifed in addition to the regular shower drains.
Shower-room gutters and curbs have become unde-
sirable because of code requirements and the obvi-
ous dangers involved. Terefore, the passageways
from shower areas into locker areas need extended-
length drains to prevent runof water from entering
the locker areas.
Where grates are not secured and are subject to
vehicular trafc, it is recommended that non-tilting
and /or tractor-type grates be installed. When a grate
Figure 3 Typical Submerged Sump Pump Installation
Table 8 Recommended Grate Open Areas for Various
Floor Drains With Outlet Pipe Sizes
Nominal Pipe
Size, in. (mm)
Recommended Minimum Grate
Open Area for Floor Drains
Transverse Area
of Pipe, in.
( 10 mm
Minimum Inside
Area, in.
( 10 mm
1 (40) 2.04 (1.3) 2.04 (1.3)
2 (50) 3.14 (2.0) 3.14 (2.0)
3 (80) 7.06 (4.6) 7.06 (4.6)
4 (100) 12.60 (8.1) 12.06 (8.1)
5 (125) 19.60 (12.7) 19.60 (12.7)
6 (150) 28.30 (18.3) 28.30 (18.3)
8 (200) 50.25 (32.4) 50.24 (32.4)
Based on extra-heavy soil pipe, nominal internal diameter.
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 9
starts to follow a wheel or is hit on one edge and starts to tilt,
the skirt catches the side of the drain body and the grate slides
back into its original position. Ramp-drain gratings should be
slightly convex because rapidly fowing ramp water has a ten-
dency to fow across the grate. A better solution to this problem
is to place fat-top grates on a level surface at the bottom of the
ramp, rather than on the ramp slope.
A technique in casting grates is the reversal of pattern draft,
which removes the razor-sharp edges created when grates are
bufed. See Figure 5. Te prevalent bufng technique is called
scuf-buf because it gives the grate a slightly used appearance.
Te use of slots in grates is becoming obsolete because of the
slicing edges they create, which cause excess wear and tear on
the wheels of hand-trucks and other vehicles. Square openings
are more desirable because they shorten this edge and provide
greater drainage capacity than round holes.
Tis component makes an efective seal, which prevents water
from passing around the drain to the area below.
A sediment bucket is an additional internal strainer designed
to collect debris that gets by the regular strainer. It is required
wherever the drain can receive solids, trash, or grit that could
plug piping, such as the following locations:
1. Toilet rooms in commercial buildings should be equipped with
foor drains with sediment buckets to facilitate cleaning.
2. Floor drains with sediment buckets must be provided in
mechanical equipment rooms, where pumps, boilers, water
chillers, heat exchangers, and HVAC equipment regularly
discharge and /or must be periodically drained for mainte-
nance and repairs. HVAC equipment requires the drainage
of condensate from cooling coils using indirect drains.
3. Boilers require drains with sediment buckets. Strategically
located foor drains are also required in buildings with wet
fre-protection sprinkler systems to drain water in case
sprinkler heads are activated. Te maximum temperature
of liquids discharged should be 140F (60C).
Floor drains shall connect to a trap so constructed that it can
be readily cleaned and sized to serve efciently the purpose
for which it is intended. A deep-seal-type trap or an approved
automatic priming device should be provided. Te trap shall be
accessible either from the foor-drain inlet or by a separate clea-
nout within the drain. Figure 6 illustrates several types of drains
that meet these conditions.
(A) Removable Grate; (B) Rust-Resistant Bolts; (C) Integral, One-Piece, Flashing Ring; (D) Cast Drain Body with Sump; (E) Sediment Bucket (optional).
Figure 4 Basic Floor-Drain Components:
(a) Sharp Edge, (b) Reverse Pattern
Figure 5 Pattern Draft for Floor Gratings
(A) Typical Drain with Integral Trap that May Be Cleaned Through Removable
Strainer at Floor Level;
(B) Floor Drain with Combination Cleanout and Backwater Valve, for Use Where
Possibility of Backfow Exists;
(C) Drain with Combined Cleanout, Backwater Valve, and Sediment Bucket.
Figure 6 Types of Floor Drain
10 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Sanitary Drainage Systems
A variety of accessories are available to make the basic drain
adaptable to various types of structures. Te designer must
know the construction of the building, particularly the foor and
deck structures, to specify the appropriate drain.
A backwater valve can be installed on a building sewer/house
drain when the drain is lower than the sewer line, when unusual
sewer surcharges may occur due to combined storm water and
sanitary sewer systems, or when old municipal sewers incur high
rates of infltration. A backwater valve reacts similarly to a check
valve. Te device consists of a mechanical fapper or disc, which
requires a certain amount of maintenance; therefore, attention
must be given during the placement of these devices to a free
area and access for maintenance. Sediment can accumulate
on the fapper valve seat, preventing the fapper from closing
tightly. Also, many valves employ a spring or mechanical device
to exert a positive pressure on the fapper device, which requires
occasional lubrication. Most manufacturers of backwater valves
provide an access cover plate for maintenance, which may also
be used as a building sewer cleanout.
Figure 7 illustrates various types of backwater valves that may
be installed where there is a possibility of backfow.
In commercial establishments such as service stations, garages,
auto repair shops, dry cleaners, laundries, industrial plants,
and process industries having machine shops, metal-treating
process rooms, chemical process or mixing rooms, etc., there
is always the problem of fammable or volatile liquids entering
the drainage system, which can contaminate the sewer line and
cause a serious fre or explosive condition.
Oil interceptors are designed to separate and collect oils and
other light-density, volatile liquids, which would otherwise
be discharged into the drainage system. An oil interceptor is
required wherever lubricating oil, cutting oil, kerosene, gaso-
line, diesel fuel, aircraft fuel, naphtha, parafn, trisodium phos-
phate, or other light-density and volatile liquids are present in
or around the drainage system.
Te interceptor is furnished with a sediment bucket, which
collects debris, small parts, chips, particles, and other sediment
that are frequently present in industrial waste from these types
of facilities and could clog the drainage system. A gasketed,
removable cover permits access for cleaning the interceptor. To
eliminate pressure buildup inside the interceptor, a connection
on each side of the body allows venting of the interceptor.
Oil interceptors are sized in accordance with the maximum
anticipated gpm (L/s) fow rate of wastewater that could be
discharged through a tailpiece and are typically protected from
back-siphonage by the vacuum breaker mounted at the tailpiece
Fixture wastewater type. Tese devices are mounted on the
trap of frequently used fxtures. A tapping at the overfow line
will allow small amounts of wastewater to enter an adjacent,
infrequently used drain as the trap surges during use.
Automatic trap primers can be obtained as pre-engineered
devices, which have widely accepted approval. All direct con-
nections between the sewer system and the potable water
system must be protected from potential contamination. Te
above-referenced primers can be manufactured, or ftted with,
devices that are approved to prevent cross-contamination.
Te location of pipe supports is usually specifed by code. Tey
are located to maintain a slope that is as uniform as possible
and will not change with time. In this regard, the rigidity of pipe
and joints and the possibility of creep and bedding settlement
are primary considerations. When building settlement may be
signifcant, special hanging arrangements may be necessary.
Underground piping should be continuously and frmly sup-
ported, but blocking below metal pipe is usually acceptable.
Consult the manufacturer for recommendations for piping
materials not covered in the code and for special problems.
Hangers should be designed adequately. To protect from
damage by building occupants, allow at least a 250-lb (113.4-kg)
safety factor when designing hangers. See Data Book, Volume 4,
Chapter 6 for further information.
Seismic restraint must also be considered.
Materials recommended for soil and waste piping, installed
aboveground within buildings, are copper alloy, copper, cast
iron (hub-and-spigot or hubless), galvanized steel, or PVC plas-
tic pipe. Underground building drains should be cast-iron soil
pipe, hard-temper copper tube, ABS or PVC, PVDF, DWV pattern
Schedule 40 plastic pipe with compression joints or couplings,
Figure 7 Various Types of Backwater Valve
Figure 8 Combination Floor Drain and Indirect Waste Receptor
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 11
installed with a minimum cover of 12 in. (300 mm). Corrosive
wastes require suitably acid-resistant materials such as high-
silicon cast iron, borosilicate glass, polypropylene, etc. (Note:
Some blood analyzers discharge sodium azide, which forms a
very dangerous, explosive compound with copper pipes. Either
other piping must be used or the sodium azide must be kept out
of the system.) Te materials used for pipe fttings must be com-
patible with the materials utilized for piping. Fittings should
slope in the direction of fow and have smooth interior surfaces
without ledges, shoulders, or reductions that may obstruct the
fow in piping.
Drains specifed with cast-iron or PVC bodies should be suit-
able for most installations. Where extra corrosion resistance is
required, high-silica cast iron, polypropylene, borosilicate glass,
stainless steel, galvanized iron, or other acid-resisting material
should be selected. Where a sediment bucket is used, it should
be bronze or galvanized or stainless steel. Enameled sediment
buckets are impractical because they chip when cleaned.
In the selection of materials for top surfaces, such as grates,
where foor drains are visible in fnished areas, appearance is a
prime consideration. As cast iron will rust and galvanizing and
chrome plating will eventually be worn of by trafc, the pre-
ferred material is solid, cast nickel-bronze, which maintains its
attractive appearance. In a swimming pool, however, chlorine
necessitates the use of chlorine-resistant materials. For large
grates that will be subject to hand-truck or forklift trafc, a duc-
tile iron grate with or without a nickel-bronze veneer is recom-
Polished brass or bronze for foor service has the disadvan-
tage of discoloring unless there is constant trafc over it. Cast
aluminum has also been found inadequate for certain foor-
service applications due to excessive oxidation and its inability
to withstand abrasion.
Drain and cleanout outlets are manufactured in fve basic
1. Inside caulk. In this arrangement, the pipe extends up into
the drain body and oakum is packed around the pipe tightly
against the inside of the outlet. Molten lead is then poured
into this ring and later stamped or caulked to correct for lead
shrinkage. Current installation methods use a fexible gasket
for a caulking material. See Figure 9.
2. Spigot outlet. Tis type utilizes the caulking method as out-
lined above, except that the spigot outlet is caulked into the
hub or bell of the downstream pipe or ftting. See Figure
3. Push-seal gasketed outlet. Tis type utilizes a neoprene gasket
similar to standard ASTM C564 neoprene gaskets approved
for hub-and-spigot, cast-iron soil pipe. A ribbed neoprene
gasket is applied to the accepting pipe, thus allowing the
drain outlet to be pushed onto the pipe.
4. No-hub. Tis type utilizes a spigot (with no bead on the end)
that is stubbed into a neoprene coupling with a stainless-steel
bolting band (or other type of clamping device), which, in
turn, accepts a downstream piece of pipe or headless ftting.
See Figure 11.
5. IPS or threaded. Tis type is a tapered female thread in the
drain outlet designed to accept the tapered male thread of
a downstream piece of pipe or ftting. See Figure 12.
Figure 9 Inside-Caulk Drain Body
Figure 10 Spigot-Outlet Drain Body
Figure 12 IPS or Threaded Outlet Drain Body
Figure 11 No-Hub-Outlet Drain Body
12 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Sanitary Drainage Systems
Avoiding direct metal-to-metal connections may reduce noise
transmission along pipes. Using heavier materials generally
reduces noise transmission through pipe walls. Isolating piping
with resilient materials, such as rugs, belts, plastic, or insulation
may reduce noise transmission to the building. See Table 9 for
relative noise-insulation absorption values.
Te installation of building sewers is very critical to the opera-
tion of the sewer. Inadequate bedding in poor soils may allow
the sewer to settle, causing dips and low points in the sewer.
Te settlement of sewers interrupts fow, diminishes minimum
cleansing velocity, reduces capacity, and creates a point where
solids can drop out of suspension and collect.
Te following are some guidelines for installing building
1. Compacted fll. Where natural soil or compacted fll exists,
the trench must be excavated in alignment with the proposed
pitch and grade of the sewer. Depressions need to be cut out
along the trench line to accept the additional diameter at
the piping joint or bell hub. A layer of sand or pea gravel is
placed as a bed in the excavated trench because it is easily
compacted under the pipe, allowing more accurate align-
ment of the pipe pitch. Te pipe settles into the bed and is
frmly supported over its entire length.
2. Shallow fll. Where shallow amounts of fll exist, the trench
can be over-excavated to accept a bed of sand, crushed stone,
or similar material that is easily compacted. Bedding should
be installed in lifts (layers), with each lift compacted to en-
sure optimum compaction of the bedding. Te bed must be
compacted in alignment with the proposed pitch and grade
of the sewer. It is recommended that pipe joints or bell hub
depressions be hand-prepared due to the coarse crushed
stone. Te soil-bearing weight determines trench widths and
bedding thickness.
3. Deep fll. Where deep amounts of fll exist, the engineer
should consult a geotechnical engineer, who will perform
soil borings to determine the depths at which soils with
proper bearing capacities exist. Solutions include compact-
ing existing fll by physical means or removing existing fll
and replacing it with crushed stone structural fll.
4. Backflling. Backflling of the trench is just as critical as the
compaction of the trench bed and the strength of existing
soils. Improper backfll placement can dislodge pipe and
cause uneven sewer settlement, with physical depressions
in the surface. Te type of backfll material and compac-
tion requirements need to be reviewed to coordinate with
the type of permanent surface. Landscaped areas are more
forgiving of improper backfll placement than hard surface
areas such as concrete or bituminous paving.
Care must be taken when using mechanical means to com-
pact soils above piping. Mechanical compaction of the frst layer
above the pipe by vibrating or tamping devices should be done
with caution. Compacting the soil in 6-in. (150-mm) layers is
recommended for a good backfll.
Proper sewer bedding and trench backfll will result in an instal-
lation that can be counted upon for long, trouble-free service.
All drains should be cleaned periodically, particularly those
in markets, hospitals, food-processing areas, animal shelters,
morgues, and other locations where sanitation is important.
Where sanitation is important, an acid-resisting enameled
interior in foor drains is widely accepted. Te rough surfaces
of either brass or iron castings collect and hold germs, fungus-
laden scum, and fne debris that usually accompany drain
waste. Tere is no easy or satisfactory way to clean these rough
surfaces. Te most practical approach is to enamel them. Te
improved sanitation compensates for the added expense. How-
ever, pipe threads cannot be cut into enameled metals because
the enameling will chip of in the area of the machining. Also,
pipe threads themselves cannot be enameled; therefore, caulked
joints should be specifed on enameled drains. Most adjustable
foor drains utilize threaded adjustments. Te drains cannot be
enameled because of this adjusting thread. However, there are
other adjustable drains that use sliding lugs on a cast thread and
may be enameled.
Another point to remember is that a grate or the top ledge of
a drain can be enameled, but the enamel will not tolerate traf-
fc abrasion without showing scratches and, eventually, chip-
ping. Te solution to this problem is a stainless-steel or nickel-
bronze rim and grate over the enameled drain body, a common
practice on indirect waste receptors, sometimes referred to as
foor sinks. Specifers seem to favor the square, indirect waste
receptor, but the round receptor is easier to clean and has better
anti-splash characteristics. For cases where the choice of square
or round is infuenced by the foor pattern, round sinks with
square tops are available.
In applications such as hospital morgues, cystoscopic rooms,
autopsy laboratories, slaughterhouses, and animal dens, the
enameled drain is ftted with a fushing rim. Tis is most advis-
able where blood or other objectionable materials might cling
to the sidewalls of the drain.
Where the waste being drained can create a stoppage in the
trap, a heel inlet on the trap with a fushing connection is rec-
ommended in addition to the fushing rim, which merely keeps
the drain sides clean. (Tis option may not be allowed by cer-
tain codes.) A 2-in. (50-mm) trap fushes more efectively than
a 3-in. (80-mm) trap because it allows the fushing stream to
drill through the debris rather than completely fush it out. A
Table 9 Relative Properties of Selected Plumbing
Materials for Drainage Systems
ABS Fair Good
Cast iron Excellent Good
Copper Fair Good
Glass borosilicate
Polypropylene Fair Excellent
PVC Fair Excellent
Silicon iron
Steel, galvanized Good Fair
This refers to domestic sewage. Consult manufacturer for resistance to particular
Since these materials are used only aboveground for chemical waste systems,
this is not applicable.
This material is usually allowed only belowground.
Susceptible to corrosion from hydrogen sulfde gas.
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 13
valve in the water line to the drain is the best way to operate the
fushing-rim drain. Flush valves have been used and save some
water; however, they are not as convenient or efective as a shut-
of valve. In any fushing water-supply line to a drain, a vacuum
breaker installed according to code must be provided.
When selecting kitchen drains, the designer must know the
quantity of liquid and solid waste the drains will be required
to accept, as well as which equipment emits waste on a regular
basis and which produces waste only by accidental spillage.
Floor-cleaning procedures should be ascertained to deter-
mine the amount of water used. If any amount of solid waste is
to be drained, receptors must be specifed with removable sedi-
ment buckets made of galvanized or stainless steel. Also, there
must be enough vertical clearance over these drains to conve-
niently remove the sediment buckets for cleaning.
Many kitchen planners mount kitchen equipment on a 5-in.
(125-mm) curb. Placing the drain on top of the curb and under
the equipment makes connection of indirect drain lines dif-
cult and the receptor inaccessible for inspection and cleaning.
Mounting the receptor in front of the curb takes up foor space,
and the myriad of indirect drains that discharge into it create
a potential hazard for employees who may trip over them. Te
solution requires close coordination between the engineer and
the kitchen designer. Figure 1-8 shows an arrangement whereby
any spillage in front of the curb can be drained by half of the
receptor, while indirect drains are neatly tucked away.
Where equipment is on the foor level and an indirect waste
receptor must be provided under the equipment, a shallow
bucket that can easily be removed is recommended.
Whenever a cast-iron drain is cemented into a slab, separation
due to expansion and contraction occurs and creates several
problems. One is the constant wet area in the crevice around
the drain that promotes mildew odor and the breeding of bac-
teria. Seepage to the foor below is also a possibility. A seepage
or fashing fange can correct this problem. Weep holes in the
fashing fange direct moisture into the drain. Also, this fange
accepts membrane material and, when used, the fashing ring
should lock the membrane to the fange.
One prevalent misconception about the fashing fange is that
it can have weep holes when used with cleanouts. In this case,
there can be no weep holes into the cleanout to which the mois-
ture can run. Weep holes should also be eliminated from the
fashing fanges of drains, such as refection-pool drains, where
an overfow standpipe to maintain a certain water level shuts of
the drain entrance.
Te term non-puncturing, used in reference to membrane-
fashing, ring-securing methods, is now obsolete, as securing
bolts have been moved inboard on fashing L fanges and the
membrane need not be punctured to get a seal. Of the various
arrangements, this bolting method allows the greatest squeeze
pressure on the membrane.
A major problem in setting foor drains and cleanouts occurs
when the concrete is poured level with the top of the unit, ignor-
ing the fact that the addition of tile on the foor will cause the
drain or cleanout to be lower than the surrounding surface. To
solve the problem, cleanouts can be specifed with tappings in
the cover rim to jack the top part of the cleanout up to the fn-
ished foor level. Floor drains can be furnished with adjustable
tops to attain an installation that is fush with the fnished foor.
When excessive thermal expansion is anticipated, pipe move-
ment should be controlled to avoid harmful changes in slope or
damage. Anchoring, using expansion joints, or using expansion
loops or bends may do this. When anchoring, avoid excessive
stress on the structure and the pipe. Piping or mechanical engi-
neering handbooks should be consulted if stress analysis is to
be performed due to excessive stresses or to the difering expan-
sion characteristics of materials.
Following are some common types of damage to anticipate and
some methods of protection:
Hazard Protection
Abrasion Plastic or rubber sleeves. Insulation where copper
pipe leaves slab.
Condensation Insulation on piping.
Corrosion See Plumbing Engineering Design Handbook, Vol. 1,
Ch. 8: Corrosion.
Earth loads Stronger pipe or pipe sleeves.
Expansion and
Flexible joints, loops, swing joints, or ofsets.
Fire Building construction around pipe. Some
jurisdictions require metal piping within 2 ft (0.6 m)
of an entry into a frewall. Must maintain fre ratings.
Heat Keeping thermoplastic pipe away from sources of
heat or using insulation.
Nails Using ferrous pipe, steel sleeves, steel plates, or space
pipe away from possible nail penetration zone.
Seismic Bracing pipe and providing fexible joints at the
connection between piping braced to walls or
structure and piping braced to the ceiling and
between stories (where there will be diferential
Settlement Sleeves or fexible joints. When embedded in
concrete, covering with three layers of 15-lb (6.8-kg)
Sunlight Protecting thermoplastic pipe by insulation and
jacket or shading to avoid warping.
Vandals Installing pipe above reach or in areas protected by
building construction. Piping needs to be supported
well enough to withstand 250 lb (113.4 kg) hanging
on the moving pipe.
Wood Shrinkage Providing slip joints and shrinkage clearance for
pipe when wood shrinks. Approximately
8 in. (16
mm)/foor is adequate for usual frame construction,
based on 4% shrinkage perpendicular to wood grain.
Shrinkage along the grain does not usually exceed
Te design and installation of alternative engineered plumbing
systems is permitted in all codes. A licensed professional engi-
neer who is responsible for the proper operation of the system
must design them. Te most important consideration is that if an
alternative system is contemplated, submission to, and approval
by, the authorities having jurisdiction must be obtained. In order
to expedite approval, the following is suggested:
1. Indicate on the design documents that the plumbing system,
or parts thereof, is an alternative design.
14 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Sanitary Drainage Systems
2. Submit enough technical data to support the proposed al-
ternative design and prove the system conforms to the intent
of the code. Tis shall include suitability for the intended
purpose, strength, equivalent level of performance compared
to traditional installations, safety, and quality of materials.
3. Te design documents shall include foor plans, riser dia-
grams, and an indication of the proposed fow.
4. Assurance that manufacturers installation instructions will
be adhered to.
5. If approval is given, the permit and all
construction applications shall indicate
an alternative engineered design is part
of the approved installation.
Te alternative systems are characterized
by, but not limited to, using a single stack
for both sanitary and vent or no vent at all.
One exception is a conventional drainage,
reduced vent system. All of the following
described systems have been successfully
used in the United States and in other parts
of the world for many years and have proven
efective in actual use.
All of the alternative systems to be dis-
cussed have combined sanitary and vent.
Because it is considered appropriate, they
have been included in the sanitary drainage
system chapter.
Te Sovent system was developed in 1959
in Switzerland. It is a patented, single-stack,
combination drainage and vent system that
uses a single stack instead of a conventional
two-pipe drainage and vent stack. Te Sovent
system uses copper pipe and is suitable
only for multistory buildings because it will
allow substantial economy in piping instal-
lation. Although installed in many countries
throughout the world, it remains an alter-
native, unconventional system with only
limited usage in the United States. It shall
conform to ANSI B-16.45 and CISMA Stan-
dard 177. It is not the intent of this chapter to
provide specifc design criteria for a Sovent
system, but rather to discuss the individual
component characteristics that will enable
a plumbing engineer to obtain a working
knowledge of how the Sovent system works.
A typical Sovent-Stack system is illustrated in
Figure 13.
Te entire Sovent system consists of three
principal parts: copper DWV piping for all
branch wastes and stacks, an aerator ftting at
each foor level where the branch waste line
connects to the stack, and a deaerator ftting
at the base of a stack where a stack enters the
house drain.
Te starting point is the horizontal soil and
waste branches. Te fxture units and branch
sizes are similar to those fgures found in
conventional systems. Te maximum fxture units that may be
connected to a branch or stack are also similar to that of conven-
tional systems. Branch sizes must be increased one size where
the following exists:
1. A second vertical drop or a vertical drop of more than 3 ft
(0.9 m) requires an increase in the downstream side of the
Figure 13 (A) Traditional Two-Pipe System, (B) Typical Sovent Single-Stack Plumbing System.
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 15
2. When three 90-degree changes in direction occur in a hori-
zontal branch, the horizontal branch shall be increased in
size at the upstream side of the third change.
3. When a branch serves two water closets and one or more ad-
ditional fxtures, the soil line shall be increased to 4 in. (100
mm) at the point where one water closet and one additional
fxture are connected.
4. When a soil branch exceeds 12 ft (3.7 m) in horizontal
5. When a waste line exceeds 15 ft (4.6 m) in horizontal
Stacks must be carried full size through the roof. Two stacks
can be connected at the top above the highest fxture. Two stacks
may also be combined at the bottom prior to entering the build-
ing drain. Te size is based on the total fxture units. Fixtures
may be connected into a horizontal ofset in a stack below the
deaerator ftting.
An aerator ftting is required at each level where a soil branch,
a waste line the same size as the stack, or a waste branch one size
smaller than the stack is connected. It consists of an upper stack
inlet, a mixing chamber, and a bafe in the center of the ftting.
Tis provides a chamber where the fow from the branches may
gradually mix smoothly with the air and liquid already fow-
ing in the stack. It also limits the turbulence and velocity of the
entering water. A 2-in. (50-mm) horizontal branch may enter the
stack with no ftting. Tere are two basic styles of aerator ftting
that meets the needs of most design conditions: the double-side
entry ftting and the single-entry ftting. Face entry and top entry
are used in special cases.
A deaerator ftting is required at the bottom of a stack and is
designed to overcome the tendency of the falling waste to build
up excessive back pressure at the bottom of the stack when the
fow is decelerated by the bend into the horizontal drain. It con-
sists of an air separation chamber, a nose piece, a pressure relief
outlet at the top connected to the building drain, and a stack
outlet at the bottom. Te purpose of the deaerator is to separate
the air fow from the stack and ensure the smooth fow of liquid
into the building drain and to relieve the positive pressure gen-
erated at the stacks base. Te confguration of the ftting causes
part of the air falling with the liquid to fow through the pres-
sure relief line, and the remainder of the air goes directly into
the building drain.
Tere is great importance in explaining the special require-
ments of the Sovent system to the installing contractor. It is
probable the contractor is unfamiliar with this system and a
complete explanation will be necessary. Te engineer should
make regular inspections of the project to assure the design
conditions are met. A complete set of contract documents shall
be provided to the owner to allow proper alteration or expan-
sion of the project in the future.
For additional information and specifc sizing contact the
Copper Development Association.
Te single-stack system is a combination drainage and vent
system consisting of a single stack instead of conventional sepa-
rate drainage and vent stacks. Tis drainage system is one where
the drainage stack shall serve as both a single-stack drainage
and vent system when properly sized. Te relief of internal air
pressure depends on making the one-pipe system larger than
that required for drainage purposes alone. Te drainage stack
and branch piping shall be considered as vents for the drainage
system as a whole. Although the pipe sizing is larger in a single-
stack system than in a conventional one, installation savings are
achieved by reducing the amount of vent piping required.
Te major components of the one pipe system are oversize,
unvented S traps instead of the conventionally sized and vented
P traps and fxtures that allow water to run of after the tap is
closed to fll the traps with water to maintain the trap seal. Te
trap arm length is limited to reduce any suction buildup, and the
stack is oversized to limit the internal air pressure and vacuum
Often referred to as the Philadelphia code, this unconven-
tional system has successfully operated for more than 100 years
with no problems. Consideration has been made by code bodies
to include this system as an engineered design, which allows this
to be used providing an engineer has designed it in accordance
with code. For further information, contact the Philadelphia
building department. A riser diagram of a typical Philadelphia
System is illustrated in Figure 13.
In 1974, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) conducted a
laboratory study of one-story and split-level experimental drain-
age systems where the vents varied from one to six pipes smaller
than those for conventional systems. Tey showed satisfactory
hydraulic and pneumatic performance under various loading
conditions. At the same time, the 10-story wet vent system at
the Stevens Building Technology Research Laboratory had been
modifed by reducing the vents one to three pipe sizes in accor-
dance with the plans and specifcations of the NBS and reducing
the size of the vents. Te results also indicated that the vents in
a two-story housing unit can safely be made smaller than pres-
ently allowed without jeopardizing the trap seals.
Tis system may allow economies of pipe size in the venting
design of low-rise residential buildings, although this particu-
lar system has not been accepted by authorities. It is limited to
special conditions and requires the vent pipes be of a material
such as copper or plastic that will resist the buildup of products
of corrosion.
Vacuum drainage operates on the principal of having the major-
ity of the system under a continuous vacuum. Te system is
proprietary and is made by various manufacturers. Te difer-
ent manufacturers have diferent names for devices performing
similar operations, so generic identifcation is used. Tere are
various designs capable of sanitary and waste disposal, either
separate or in combination, and are used for various projects
such as prisons, supermarkets, and ships. Tere is no direct con-
nection from the sanitary waste to the vacuum system. Te one
big advantage is that piping is installed overhead and no pipe is
required to be placed underground.
Te system consists of three basic components: a vacuum
network of piping and other devices that collects and transports
waste from its origin, vacuum generation pumps, and a vacuum
interface device at the point of origin that isolates the vacuum
piping from atmospheric pressure. When the system is to serve
water closets, the water closets must be purpose made, designed
to rinse and refll with gallon (2.2 L) of water.
Te piping network for a vacuum waste system is held under
a constant vacuum between 12 and 18 in. of mercury (in Hg)
16 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Sanitary Drainage Systems
(4065 kPa) and is generally fabricated from PVC, copper, or
other nonporous, smooth-bore material. Horizontal piping shall
slope at a rate of 1/8 in. per foot (1.18 mm) toward the vacuum
center. Tis piping slope is just as it is in conventional systems. If
this slope cannot be maintained, the traps created in the piping
runs when routed around obstacles would be cleared because of
the diferential pressure that exists between the vacuum center
and the point of origin. Te discharge of the piping system is
into the waste storage tanks.
Te vacuum generation system includes the vacuum pumps
that create a vacuum in the piping and storage tanks that col-
lect and discharge the waste into the sewer system. Te vacuum
pumps run only on demand and redundancy is provided. Tey
also have sewage pumps that pump the drainage from the stor-
age tank(s) into the sewer.
Te vacuum interface is diferent for sanitary drainage than
for clear waste similar to that of supermarkets. Water closet
and gray water waste are separate. Te vacuum toilets operate
instantly upon fushing. When a vacuum toilet is cycled, a dis-
charge control panel assembly is activated sending the discharge
to the tank. A valve acts as an interface between the vacuum and
the atmosphere controls gray water. It is designed to collect a
given amount of the water and then activate, sending the drain-
age into the tank. Te tank will discharge into the sewer when a
predetermined level is reached.
When clear water is discharged from a project like a super-
market, the water from cases, etc. goes into an accumulator.
When a controller senses sufcient waste is present, it opens
the normally closed extraction valve, which separates the atmo-
spheric pressure from the vacuum, and removes the waste from
the accumulator.
Because the vacuum toilets use 0.5 gallon/fush as compared
to 3.5 gallons/fush (1.9 L to 13 L) from a conventional system,
the holding tanks could be smaller. Tere is also a fush control
panel designed to provide all the control functions associated
with vacuum toilets. Te control panel consists of a fush valve,
fush controller, water valve, and vacuum breaker. All controls
are pneumatically operated. Te fush controller controls the
opening of the fush valve and the rinse valve as well as the
duration of the time the fush valve is open.
1. Daugherty, Robert L., Joseph B. Franzini, and E. John
Finnemore. 1985. Fluid mechanics with engineering applica-
tions. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
2. Dawson, F.M., and A.A. Kalinske. 1937. Report on hydraulics
and pneumatics of plumbing drainage systems. State Univer-
sity of Iowa Studies in Engineering, Bulletin no. 10.
3. Wyly and Eaton. 1950. National Bureau of Standards, Housing
and Home Finance Agency.
NOVEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 17
About This Issues Article
The November 2007 continuing education article is Sani-
tary Drainage Systems, Chapter 1 of ASPEs Plumbing Engi-
neering Design Handbook Volume 2: Plumbing Systems.
The purpose of the sanitary drainage system is to remove ef-
fuent discharged from plumbing fxtures and other equip-
ment to an approved point of dis posal. A sanitary drainage
system generally consists of horizontal branches, vertical
stacks, a building drain inside the building, and a building
sewer from the building wall to the point of disposal. The
discussion in this chapter cen ters only on the design of
drain and waste systems.
You may locate this article at Read
the article, complete the following exam, and submit your
answer sheet to the ASPE ofce to potentially receive 0.1 CEU.

Continuing Education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Kenneth G.Wentink, PE, CPD, and Robert D. Jackson
CE QuestionsSanitary Drainage Systems (PSD 142)
1. A vertical pipe that carries away clear water waste
from equipment and non-sanitary fxtures is called a
a. sanitary stack
b. soil stack
c. waste stack
d. water stack
2. The generally accepted pressure in a sanitary drainage
system is _________.
a. +/ 0.1 inch of water column
b. +/ 1 inch of water column
c. +/ 10 inches of water column
d. +/ 100 inches of water column
3. Who originally proposed using drainage fxture units
to represent a fxtures load-producing efect on the
plumbing system?
a. F.M. Dawson
b. Wyly and Eaton
c. Roy B. Hunter
d. none of the above
4. What is the recommended drainage fxture unit load for
a single lavatory?
a. 1, b. 2, c. 3, d. 4
5. Which common formula for calculating fow in pipes is
meant for open-channel fow?
a. Hazen and Williams
b. Manning
c. Darcy-Weisbach
d. none of the above
6. Which of the following is designed to transport sanitary
waste and larger solids suspended in the efuent?
a. storm sewer
b. sump pump
c. ejector pump
d. manhole
7. Cleanouts should be provided _________.
a. at the base of all stacks
b. at every change in direction greater than 45 degrees
c. at the roof stack terminal
d. all of the above
8. Which of the following is not a basic foor drain
a. sediment bucket
b. removable grate
c. air-admittance valve
d. cast drain body with sump
9. In a basic foor drain assembly, the _________ pre vents
water from passing around the drain to the area below.
a. fashing ring
b. sediment bucket
c. grate
d. strainer
10. The recommended material for a sediment bucket is
a. bronze
b. galvanized steel
c. stainless steel
d. all of the above
11. Which of the following pipe materials ofers excellent
noise absorption?
a. ABS
b. cast iron
c. PVC
d. galvanized steel
12. The single-stack system is also referred to as the
_________ system.
a. Sovent
b. Philadelphia
c. vacuum drainage
d. none of the above
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
Now Online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Te following exam and application form
also may be downloaded from the website. Reading the article and
completing the form will allow you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit.
For most people, this process will require approximately one hour. If
you earn a grade of 90 percent or higher on the test, you will be notifed
that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward the CPD
renewal requirement or numerous regulatory-agency CE programs.
(Please note that it is your responsibility to determine the acceptance
policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be kept on fle at
the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
18 Plumbing Systems & Design NOVEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Hot Water
Continuing education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Haig demergian, Pe, CPd
It has been determined through feld studies that the correct sizing
and operation of water heaters depend on the appropriateness of the
hot water maintenance system. If the hot water maintenance system
is inadequate, the water heater sizing criteria are wrong and the
temperature of the hot water distributed to the users of the plumb-
ing fxtures is below acceptable standards. Additionally, a poorly
designed hot water maintenance system wastes large amounts of
energy and potable water and creates time delays for those using
the plumbing fxtures. Tis chapter addresses the criteria for estab-
lishing an acceptable time delay in delivering hot water to fxtures
and the limitations of the length between a hot water recirculation
system and plumbing fxtures. It also discusses the temperature
drop across a hot water supply system, types of hot water recircula-
tion system, and pump selection criteria, and gives extensive infor-
mation on the insulation of hot water supply and return piping.
In the past, the plumbing engineering community considered the
prompt delivery of hot water to fxtures either a requirement for a
project or a matter of no concern. Te plumbing engineers decision
was based primarily on the type of facility under consideration and
the developed length from the water heater to the farthest fxture.
Previous reference material and professional common practices
have indicated that, when the distance from the water heater to the
farthest fxture exceeds 100 ft (30.48 m) water should be circulated.
However, this recommendation is subjective, and, unfortunately,
some engineers and contractors use the 100-ft (30.48-m) criterion
as the maximum length for all uncirculated, uninsulated, dead-end
hot water branches to fxtures in order to cut the cost of hot
water distribution piping. Tese long, uninsulated, dead-end
branches to fxtures create considerable problems, such as a
lack of hot water at fxtures, inadequately sized water heater
assemblies, and thermal temperature escalation in showers.
Te 100-ft (30.48-m) length criterion was developed in 1973
after the Middle East oil embargo, when energy costs were the
paramount concern and water conservation was given little
consideration. Since the circulation of hot water causes a loss
of energy due to radiation and convection in the circulated
system and such energy losses have to be continually replaced
by water heaters, the engineering community compromised
between energy loss and construction costs and developed
the 100-ft (30.48-m) maximum length criterion.
Recently, due to concern about not only energy conservation
but also the extreme water shortages in parts of the country, the
100-ft (30.48-m) length criteria has changed. Water wastage
caused by the long delay in obtaining hot water at fxtures has
become as critical an issue as the energy losses caused by hot
water temperature maintenance systems. To reduce the wast-
ing of cooled hot water signifcantly, the engineering com-
munity has reevaluated the permissible distances for uncir-
culated, dead-end branches to periodically used plumbing fxtures.
Te new allowable distances for uncirculated, dead-end branches
represent a trade-of between the energy utilized by the hot water
maintenance system and the cost of the insulation, on the one
hand, and the cost of energy to heat the excess cold water makeup,
the cost of wasted potable water, and extra sewer surcharges, on the
other hand. Furthermore, engineers should be aware that various
codes now limit the length between the hot water maintenance
system and plumbing fxtures. Tey also should be aware of the
potential for liability if an owner questions the adequacy of their
hot water system design.
What are reasonable delays in obtaining hot water at a fxture?
For anything beside very infrequently used fxtures (such as those in
industrial facilities or certain fxtures in ofce buildings), a delay of
0 to 10 sec is normally considered acceptable for most residential
occupancies and public fxtures in ofce buildings. A delay of 11 to
30 sec is marginal but possibly acceptable, and a time delay longer
than 31 sec is normally considered unacceptable and a signifcant
waste of water and energy. Terefore, when designing hot water
systems, it is prudent for the designer to provide some means of
getting hot water to the fxtures within these acceptable time limits.
Normally this means that there should be a maximum distance of
approximately 25 ft (7.6 m) between the hot water maintenance
system and each of the plumbing fxtures requiring hot water, the
distance depending on the water fow rate of the plumbing fxture
at the end of the line and the size of the line. (See Tables 1, 2, and 3.)
Te plumbing designer may want to stay under this length limita-
tion because the actual installation in the feld may difer slightly
from the engineers design, and additional delays may be caused
Recirculating Domestic Hot
Water Systems
Reprinted from Domestic Water Heating Design Manual, Second Edition, Chapter 14: Recirculating Domestic Hot Water Systems.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers , 2003.
2 Plumbing Systems & Design DECEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Table 1 Water Contents and Weight of Tube or Piping per Linear Foot
Copper Pipe
Type L
Copper Pipe
Type M
Steel Pipe
Schedule 40
Schedule 40
0.012 0.285 0.013 0.204 0.016 0.860 0.016 0.210
0.025 0.445 0.027 0.328 0.028 1.140 0.028 0.290
1 0.043 0.655 0.045 0.465 0.045 1.680 0.045 0.420
1 0.065 0.884 0.068 0.682 0.077 2.280 0.078 0.590
1 0.093 1.14 0.100 0.940 0.106 2.720 0.106 0.710
Pipe sizes are indicated for mild steel pipe sizing.
Table 1(M) Water Contents and Weight of Tube or Piping per Meter
Copper Pipe
Type L
Copper Pipe
Type M
Steel Pipe
Schedule 40
Schedule 40
DN15 0.045 0.129 0.049 0.204 0.061 0.390 0.061 0.099
DN20 0.095 0.202 0.102 0.328 0.106 0.517 0.106 0.132
DN25 0.163 0.297 0.170 0.465 0.170 0.762 0.170 0.191
DN32 0.246 0.401 0.257 0.682 0.291 1.034 0.295 0.268
DN40 0.352 0.517 0.379 0.940 0.401 1.233 0.401 0.322
Pipe sizes are indicated for mild steel pipe sizing.
by either the routing of the pipe or other problems. Furthermore,
with the low fxture discharge rates now mandated by national and
local laws, it takes considerably longer to obtain hot water from
non-temperature maintained hot water lines than it did in the past,
when fxtures had greater fow rates. For example, a public lavatory
with a 0.50 or 0.25 gpm (0.03 or 0.02 L/sec) maximum discharge
rate would take an excessive amount of time to obtain hot water
from 100 ft (30.48 m) of uncirculated, uninsulated hot water piping.
(See Table 3.) Tis table gives conservative approximations of the
amount of time it takes to obtain hot water at a fxture. Te times
are based on the size of the line, the fxture fow rate, and the times
required to replace the cooled of hot water, to heat the pipe, and to
ofset the convection energy lost by the insulated hot water line.
ResULTs Of DeLays IN DeLIveRINg hOT WaTeR TO
As mentioned previously, when there is a long delay in obtaining
hot water at the fxture, there is signifcant wastage of potable water
as the cooled hot water supply is simply discharged down the drain
unused. Furthermore, plumbing engineers concerned about total
system costs should realize that the cost of this wasted, previously
heated water must include: the original cost for obtaining potable
water, the cost of previously heating the water, the fnal cost of the
waste treatment of this excess potable water, which results in larger
sewer surcharges (source of supply to end disposal point), and the
cost of heating the new cold water to bring it up to the required tem-
perature. Furthermore, if there is a long delay in obtaining hot water
at the fxtures, the faucets are turned on for long periods of time to
bring the hot water supply at the fxture up to the desired tempera-
ture. Tis can cause the water heating system to run out of
hot water and make the heater sizing inadequate, because
the heater is unable to heat all the extra cold water brought
into the system through the wastage of the water discharged
down the drain. In addition, this extra cold water entering
the hot water system reduces the hot water supply tempera-
ture. Tis exacerbates the problem of insufcient hot water
because to get a proper blended temperature more lower
temperature hot water will be used to achieve the fnal mixed
water temperature. (See Chapter 1, Table 1.1.) Additionally,
this accelerates the downward spiral of the temperature of
the hot water system.
Another problem resulting from long delays in getting hot
water to the fxtures is that the fxtures operate for longer than
expected periods of time. Terefore, the actual hot water
demand is greater than the demand normally designed for.
Terefore, when sizing the water heater and the hot water
piping distribution system, the designer should be aware
that the lack of a proper hot water maintenance system can
seriously impact the required heater size.
Hot water maintenance systems are as varied as the imagina-
tions of the plumbing engineers who create them. Tey can
be grouped into three basic categories, though any actual
installation may be a combination of more than one of these
types of system. Te three basic categories are
1. Circulation systems.
2. Self-regulating heat trace systems.
3. Point-of-use water heaters (include booster water heat-
CirCulation SyStemS for CommerCial, induStrial,
and large reSidential ProjeCtS
A circulation system is a system of hot water supply pipes
and hot water return pipes with appropriate shutof valves,
balancing valves, circulating pumps, and a method of controlling
the circulating pump. Te diagrams for six basic circulating systems
are shown in Figures 1 through 6.
Self-regulating Heat traCe
Over approximately the last 20 years, self-regulating heat trace has
come into its own because of the problems of balancing circulated
hot water systems and energy loss in the return piping. For further
discussion of this topic, see Chapter 15.
DECEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 3
Table 3 Approximate Time Required to Get Hot Water to a Fixture
Delivery Time (sec)
Fixture Flow
Rate (gpm) 0.5 1.5 2.5 4.0
Length (ft) 10 25 10 25 10 25 10 25
Copper in. 25 63
8 21 5 13 3 8
Pipe in. 48
16 40
10 24 6 15
Steel Pipe in. 63
21 52
13 31
8 20
Sched. 40 in. 91
30 76
18 46
11 28
CPVC Pipe in. 64
21 53
13 32
8 20
Sched. 40 in. 95
32 79
19 48
12 30
Note: Table based on various fxture fow rates, piping materials, and dead-end branch lengths. Calculations are based
on the amount of heat required to heat the piping, the water in the piping, and the heat loss from the piping. Based on
water temperature of 140F and an air temperture of 70F.
Delays longer than 30 sec are not acceptable.
Table 3(M) Approximate Time Required to Get Hot Water to a Fixture
Delivery Time (sec)
Fixture Flow
Rate (L/sec) 0.03 0.10 0.16 0.25
Length (m) 3.1 7.6 3.1 7.6 3.1 7.6 3.1 7.6
Copper DN15 25 63
8 21 5 13 3 8
Pipe DN22 48
16 40
10 24 6 15
Steel Pipe DN15 63
21 52
13 31
8 20
Sched. 40 DN20 91
30 76
18 46
11 28
CPVC Pipe DN15 64
21 53
13 32
8 20
Sched. 40 DN20 95
32 79
19 48
12 30
Note: Table based on various fxture fow rates, piping materials, and dead-end branch lengths. Calculations are based
on the amount of heat required to heat the piping, the water in the piping, and the heat loss from the piping. Based on
water temperature of 60C and an air temperture of 21.1C.
Delays longer than 30 sec are not acceptable.
Table 2 Approximate Fixture and Appliance Water Flow Rates
Maximum Flow Rates
Lavatory faucet 2.0 1.3
Public non-metering 0.5 0.03
Public metering 0.25 gal/cycle 0.946 L/cycle
Sink faucet 2.5 0.16
Shower head 2.5 0.16
Bathtub faucets
Single-handle 2.4 minimum 0.15 minimum
Two-handle 4.0 minimum 0.25 minimum
Service sink faucet 4.0 minimum 0.25 minimum
Laundry tray faucet 4.0 minimum 0.25 minimum
Residential dishwasher 1.87 aver 0.12 aver
Residential washing machine 7.5 aver 0.47 aver
Unless otherwise noted.
Point-of-uSe HeaterS
Tis concept is applicable when there is a single
fxture or group of fxtures that is located far
from the temperature maintenance system. In
such a situation, a small, instantaneous, point-
of-use water heateran electric water heater, a
gas water heater, or a small under-fxture stor-
age type water heater of the magnitude of 6 gal
(22.71 L)can be provided. (See Figure 7.) Te
point-of-use heater will be very cost-efective
because it will save the cost of running hot water
piping to a fxture that is a long distance away
from the temperature maintenance system. Te
plumbing engineer must remember, however,
that when a water heater is installed there are
various code and installation requirements that
must be complied with, such as those pertain-
ing to T & P relief valve discharge.
Instantaneous electric heaters used in point-
of-use applications can require a considerable
amount of power, and may require 240 or 480
V service.
hOT WaTeR maINTeNaNCe sysTems
Te following are some of the potential prob-
lems with circulated hot water maintenance
systems that must be addressed by the plumb-
ing designer.
Water VeloCitieS in Hot Water PiPing
For copper piping systems, it is very important
that the circulated hot water supply piping and
especially the hot water return piping be sized
so that the water is moving at a controlled veloc-
ity. High velocities in these systems can cause
pinhole leaks in the copper piping in as short a
period as six months or less.
BalanCing SyStemS
It is extremely important that a circulated hot
water system be balanced for its specifed fows,
including all the various individual loops within
the circulated system. Balancing is required
even though an insulated circulated line usu-
ally requires very little fow to maintain satis-
factory system temperatures. If the individual
hot water circulated loops are not properly bal-
anced, the circulated water will tend to short-
circuit through the closest loops, creating high
velocities in that piping system. Furthermore,
the short-circuiting of the circulated hot water
will result in complaints about the long delays
in getting hot water at the remotest loops. If the
hot water piping is copper, high velocities can
create velocity erosion which will destroy the
piping system.
Because of the problems inherent in manu-
ally balancing hot water circulation systems,
many professionals incorporate factory preset
fow control devices in their hot water systems.
While the initial cost of such a device is higher
than the cost of a manual balancing valve, a
4 Plumbing Systems & Design DECEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUINg eDUCaTION: Recirculating Domestic hot Water systems
* See text for requirements for strainers.
Fixture 1 Upfeed Hot Water System with Heater at Bottom of System.
Figure 2 Downfeed Hot Water System with Heater at Top of System.
* See text for requirements for strainers.
Figure 3 Upfeed Hot Water System with Heater at Bottom of System.
* See text for requirements for strainers.
preset device may be less expensive when the
feld labor cost for balancing the entire hot
water system is included. When using a preset
fow control device, however, the plumbing
designer has to be far more accurate in select-
ing the control devices capacity as there is no
possibility of feld adjustment. Terefore, if
more or less hot water return fow is needed
during the feld installation, a new fow control
device must be installed and the old one must
be removed and discarded.
iSolating PortionS of Hot Water
It is extremely important in circulated systems
that shutof valves be provided to isolate an
entire circulated loop. Tis is done so that if
individual fxtures need modifcation, their
piping loop can be isolated from the system so
the entire hot water system does not have to
be shut of and drained. Te location of these
shutof valves should be given considerable
thought. Te shutof valves should be acces-
sible at all times, so they should not be located
in such places as the ceilings of locked ofces or
maintaining tHe BalanCe of Hot
Water SyStemS
To ensure that a balanced hot water system
remains balanced after the shutof valves have
been utilized, the hot water return system must
be provided with a separate balancing valve in
addition to the shutof valve or, if the balanc-
ing valve is also used as the shutof valve, the
balancing valve must have a memory stop.
(See the discussion of balancing valves with
memory stops below.) With a memory stop
on the valve, plumbers can return a system to
its balanced position after working on it rather
than have the whole piping system remain
unbalanced, which would result in serious
ProViding CHeCk ValVeS at tHe endS of
Hot Water looPS
Te designer should provide a check valve on
each hot water return line where it joins other
hot water return lines. Tis is done to ensure
that a plumbing fxture does not draw hot return
water instead of hot supply water, which could
unbalance the hot water system and cause
delays in obtaining hot water at some fxtures.
a delay in oBtaining Hot Water at
dead-end lineS
Keep the delay in obtaining hot water at fx-
tures to within the time (and branch length)
parameters given previously to avoid unhappy
users of the hot water system and to prevent
Te following are the more common types of
balancing device.
DECEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 5
Figure 4 Downfeed Hot Water System with Heater at Top of System.
* See text for requirements for strainers.
Note: This piping system increases the developed length of the HW system over the upfeed systems shown in Figures 1 and 3.
* See text for requirements for strainers.
Figure 5 Combination Upfeed and Downfeed Hot Water System with Heater at Bottom of System.
Note: This piping system increases the developed length of the HW system over the downfeed systems shown in Figures 2 and 4.
* See text for requirements for strainers.
Figure 6 Combination Downfeed and Upfeed Hot Water System with Heater at Top of System.
fixed orifiCeS and VenturiS
Tese can be obtained for specifc fow rates and
simply inserted into the hot water return piping system.
(See Figure 8.) However, extreme care should be taken
to locate these devices so they can be removed and
cleaned out, as they may become clogged with the
debris in the water. It is recommended, therefore, that
a strainer with a blowdown valve be placed ahead of
each of these devices. Additionally, a strainer with a
fne mesh screen can be installed on the main water
line coming into the building to help prevent debris
buildup in the individual strainers. Also, a shutof valve
should be installed before and after these devices so
that an entire loop does not have to be drained in order
to service a strainer or balancing device.
faCtory PreSet automatiC floW Control
Te same admonition about strainers and valves
given for fxed orifces and venturis above applies
to the installation and location of these devices. (See
Figure 9.)
floW regulating ValVeS
Tese valves can be used to determine the fow rate
by reading the pressure drop across the valve. Tey
are available from various manufacturers. (See Figure
BalanCing ValVeS WitH memory StoPS
Tese valves can be adjusted to the proper setting by installing
insertable pressure measuring devices (Petes Plugs, etc.) in the
piping system, which indicate the fow rate in the pipe line. (See
Figure 11.)
sIzINg hOT WaTeR ReTURN PIPINg sysTems aND
Te method for selecting the proper size of the hot water return
piping system and the recirculating pump is fairly easy, but it does
require engineering judgment. First, the plumbing engineer has
to design the hot water supply and hot water return piping sys-
tems, keeping in mind the parameters for total developed length,

prompt delivery of hot water to fxtures, and velocities in pipe lines.
Te plumbing engineer has to make assumptions about the sizes of
the hot water return piping.
After the hot water supply and hot water return systems are
designed, the designer should make a piping diagram of the hot
water supply system and the assumed return system showing
piping sizing and approximate lengths. From this piping diagram
the hourly heat loss occurring in the circulated portion of the hot
water supply and return systems can be determined. (See Table 4
for minimum required insulation thickness and Table 5 for approx-
imate piping heat loss.)
Next determine the heat loss in the hot water storage tank if one
is provided. (See Table 6 for approximate tank heat loss.) Calculate
the total hot water system energy loss (tank heat loss plus piping
heat loss) in British thermal units per hour (watts). Tis total hot
water system energy loss is represented by q in Equation 1 below.
Note: Heat losses from storage type water heater tanks are not nor-
mally included in the hot water piping system heat loss because
the water heater capacity takes care of this loss, whereas pumped
hot water has to replace the piping convection losses in the piping
(1) q = 60rwcT
[q = 3600rwcT]
60 = min/h
3600 = sec/h
q = piping heat loss, Btu/h (kJ/h)
r = fow rate, gpm (L/sec)
w = weight of heated water, lb/gal (kg/L)
c = specifc heat of water, Btu/lb/F (kJ/kg/K)
T = change in heated water temperature (tem-
perature of leaving water minus temperature of
incoming water, represented in this manual as T

, F [K])
q = c (gpm 8.33 lb/gal)(60 min/h)(F temperature
= 1(gpm) 500 F temperature drop
[q = c (L/sec

1kg/L)(3600 sec/h)(K temperature drop)
= 1(L/sec)

15 077 kJ/L/sec/K

K temperature drop]
(2) gpm
system heat loss (Btu/h)
500 F temperature drop
system heat loss (kJ/h)
15 077

K temperature drop
In sizing hot water circulating systems, the designer should note
that the greater the temperature drop across the system, the less
water is required to be pumped through the system and, therefore,
the greater the savings on pumping costs. However, if the domestic
hot water supply starts out at 140F (60C) with, say, a 20F (6.7C)
temperature drop across the supply system, the fxtures near the
end of the circulating hot water supply loop could be provided
with a hot water supply of only 120F (49C). In addition, if the hot
water supply delivery temperature is 120F (49C) instead of 140F
(60C), the plumbing fxtures will use greater volumes of hot water
to get the desired blended water temperature (see Chapter 1, Table
1.1). Terefore, the recommended hot water system temperature
drop should be of the magnitude of 5F (3C). Tis means that if
the hot water supply starts out from the water heater at a tempera-
ture between 135 and 140F (58 and 60C), the lowest hot water
supply temperature provided by the hot water supply system could
6 Plumbing Systems & Design DECEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUINg eDUCaTION: Recirculating Domestic hot Water systems





Figure 7 Instantaneous Point-of-Use Water Heater Piping Diagram.
be between 130 and 135F (54 and 58C). With multiple tempera-
ture distribution systems, it is recommended that the recirculation
system for each temperature distribution system be extended back
to the water heating system separately and have its own pump.
Using Equation 2, we determine that, if there is a 5F (3C) tem-
perature drop across the hot water system, the number to divide
into the hot water circulating system heat loss (q) to obtain the
minimum required hot water return circulation rate in gpm (L/sec)
is 2500 (500 5F), (45 213 [15 071

For a 10F (6C) temperature drop that number is 5000 (from
Equation 2, 500 10F = 5000) (90 426 [from Equation 2, 15 071

= 90 426]). However, this 10F (6C) temperature drop may produce
hot water supply temperatures that are lower than desired.
After Equation 2 is used to establish the required hot water return
fow rate, in gpm (L/sec), the plumbing designer can size the hot
water return piping system based on piping fow rate velocities
and the available pump heads. It is quite common that a plumb-
ing designer will make wrong initial assumptions about the sizes
of the hot water return lines to establish the initial
heat loss fgure (q). If that is the case, the plumbing
engineer will have to correct the hot water return
pipe sizes, redo the calculations using the new data
based on the correct pipe sizing, and verify that all
the rest of the calculations are now correct.
1. Assume that the hot
water supply piping system has 800 ft (244 m) of
average size 1 in. (DN32) pipe. From Table 5,
determine the heat loss per linear foot (meter). To
fnd the total heat loss, multiply length times heat
loss per foot (meter):
800 ft 13 Btu/h/ft = 10,400 Btu/h supply piping losses
(244 m

12.5 W = 3050 W supply piping losses)

2. Assume that the hot water return piping system for the
system in no. 1 above has 100 ft (30.5 m) of average in.
(DN15) piping and 100 ft (30.5 m) of average in. (DN20)
pipe. From Table 5 determine the heat loss per linear foot
100 ft 8 Btu/h/ft = 800 Btu/h piping loss
(30.5 m

7.7 W/m = 235 W piping loss)

100 ft 10 Btu/h/ft =
1000 Btu/h piping loss
1800 Btu/h piping loss
30.5 m

9.6 W/m =
293 W piping loss
528 W piping loss
3. Determine the hot water storage tank heat loss. Assume the
system in no. 1 above has a 200-gal (757-L) hot water storage
DECEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 7





Figure 8 Fixed Orifces and Venturi Flow Meters.




Figure 9 Preset Self-Limiting Flow Control Cartridge.
tank. From Table 6 determine the heat loss of the storage tank
@ 759 Btu/h (222 W).
4. Determine the hot water systems total heat losses by totaling
the various losses:
A. Hot water supply piping losses 10,400 Btu/h
B. Hot water return piping losses 1,800 Btu/h
C. Hot water storage tank losses 759 Btu/h
Total system heat losses 12,959 Btu/h
Total system piping heat losses (A + B) = 12,200 Btu/h
[A. Hot water supply piping losses 3050 W
B. Hot water return piping losses 527 W
C. Hot water storage tank losses 222 W
Total system heat losses 3799 W
Total system piping heat losses (A + B) = 3577 W]
From Equation 2, using a system piping loss of 12,200 Btu/h
(3577 W) and a 5F (3C) temperature drop,
12,200 Btu/h
= 4.88 gpm (say 5 gpm)
required hot water return
circulation rate
5F temperature diference 500
3577 W
= 0.29 (say 0.3) L/sec
required hot water return
3C temp. diference

4188.32 kJ/m
reCalCulation of Hot Water SyStem loSSeS
1. Assume that the hot water supply piping system has 800 ft
(244 m) of average size 1 in. (DN32) pipe. From Table 5
determine the heat loss per linear foot (meter):
800 ft 13 Btu/h/ft = 10,400 Btu/h piping loss
(244 m

12.5 W/m = 3050 W piping loss)

2. Assume that the hot water return piping system for the
system in no. 1 above has 100 ft (30.5 m) of average in.
(DN15) pipe, 25 ft (7.6 m) of average in. (DN22) pipe, and
75 ft (22.9 m) of average 1 in. (DN28) pipe. From Table 5,
determine the heat loss per linear foot (meter):
100 ft 8 Btu/h/ft = 800 Btu/h piping loss
25 ft 10 Btu/h/ft = 250 Btu/h piping loss
75 ft 10 Btu/h/ft = 750 Btu/h piping loss
1800 Btu/h piping loss
[30.5m7.7W/m= 235Wpipingloss
8 Plumbing Systems & Design DECEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUINg eDUCaTION: Recirculating Domestic hot Water systems





Figure 10 Adjustable Orifce Flow Control Valve.




Figure 11 Adjustable Balancing Valve with Memory Stop.
7.6m9.6W/m= 73Wpipingloss
22.9m9.6W/m= 220 W piping loss
528 W piping loss]
3. Determine the hot water storage tank heat loss. Assume the
system in no. 1 above has a 200-gal (757-L) hot water storage
tank. From Table 6 determine the heat loss of the storage tank
@ 759 Btu/h (222 W).
4. Determine the systems total heat losses:
A. Hot water supply losses 10,400 Btu/h
B. Hot water return losses 1,800 Btu/h
C. Hot water storage tank losses 759 Btu/h
Total system heat losses 12,959 Btu/h
Total system piping heat losses (A + B) = 12,200 Btu/h
[A. Hot water supply losses 3050 W
B. Hot water return losses 528 W
C. Hot water storage tank losses 222 W
Total system heat losses 3800 W
Total system piping heat losses (A + B) = 3578 W]
Note: Te recalculation determined that the hot water system
heat losses remained unchanged and that 4.88 (say 5) gpm (0.29
[say 0.3] L/sec) is the fow rate that is required to maintain the 5F
(3C) temperature drop across the hot water supply system.
It should be stated that engineers use numerous rules of thumb
to size hot water return systems. Tese rules of thumb are all based
on assumptions, however, and are not recommended. It is recom-
mended that the engineer perform the calculations for each project
to establish the required fow rates because, with all the various
capacities of the pumps available today, exact sizing is possible, and
any extra circulated fow caused by the plumbing engineer using a
rule of thumb equates to higher energy costs, to the detriment of
the client.
esTaBLIshINg The heaD CaPaCITy Of The hOT WaTeR
Table 4 Minimum Pipe Insulation Thickness
Required Insulation Thickness for Piping (in.)
Runouts 2
in. or Less
1 in. or Less 12 in. 24 in. 5 & 6 in.
8 in. or
1 1 1 1 1
Note: Data based on fberglass insulation with all-service jacket. Data will change depending on actual type
of insulation used. Data apply to recirculating sections of hot water systems and the frst 3 ft from the storage
tank of uncirculated systems.
Uncirculated pipe branches to individual fxtures (not exceeding 12 ft in length). For lengths longer than 12
ft, use required insulation thickness shown in table.
Table 4(M) Minimum Pipe Insulation Thickness
Required Insulation Thickness for Piping (mm)
DN32 or
DN25 or
DN125 &
DN200 or
13 25 25 40 40 40
Note: Data based on fberglass insulation with all-service jacket. Data will change depending on actual type
of insulation used. Data apply to recirculating sections of hot water systems and the frst 0.9 m from the
storage tank of uncirculated systems.
Uncirculated pipe branches to individual fxtures (not exceeding 3.7 m in length). For lengths longer than 305
mm, use required insulation thickness shown in table.
Table 5 Approximate Insulated Piping Heat Loss and Surface
Nominal Pipe
Size (in.)
Thickness (in.)
Heat Loss
(Btu/h/ linear ft)
1 8 68
1 10 69
1 1 10 69
1 1 13 70
1 1 13 69
2 or less
24 or less 74
2 1 16 70
2 1 12 67
3 1 16 68
4 1 19 69
6 1 27 69
8 1 32 69
10 1 38 69
Note: Figures based on average ambient temperature of 65F and annual average wind
speed of 7.5 mph.
Uncirculating hot water runout branches only.
Table 5(M) Approximate Insulated Piping Heat Loss and Surface
Nominal Pipe
Size (mm)
Thickness (mm)
Heat Loss
DN15 25 7.7 20
DN20 25 9.6 21
DN25 25 9.6 21
DN32 25 12.5 21
DN40 25 12.5 21
DN50 or less 13
23.1 or less 23
DN50 25 15.4 21
DN65 38 11.5 19
DN80 38 15.4 20
DN100 38 18.3 21
DN150 38 26.0 21
DN200 38 30.8 21
DN250 38 36.5 21
Note: Figures based on average ambient temperature of 18C and annual average wind
speed of 12 km/h.
Uncirculating hot water runout branches only.
Table 6 Heat Loss from Various Size Tanks with
Various Insulation Thicknesses
Tank Size
Approx. Energy Loss
from Tank at Hot Water
Temperature 140F (Btu/h)
1 50 468
1 100 736
2 250 759
3 500 759
3 1000 1273
Source: From Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National
Association (SMACNA) Table 2 data.
For unfred tanks, federal standards limit the loss to no more than 6.5
of tank surface.
Table 6(M) Heat Loss from Various Size Tanks with
Various Insulation Thicknesses
Tank Size
Approx. Energy Loss
from Tank at Hot Water
Temperature 60C (W)
25.4 200 137
25.4 400 216
50.8 1000 222
76.2 2000 222
76.2 4000 373
Source: From Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National
Association (SMACNA) Table 2 data.
For unfred tanks, federal standards limit the loss to no more than 1.9
of tank surface.
DECEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 9
Te hot water return circulating pump is selected based on the
required hot water return fow rate (in gpm [L/sec]), calculated using
Equation 2, and the systems pump head. Te pump head is nor-
mally determined by the friction losses through only the hot water
return piping loops and any losses through balancing valves. Te hot
water return piping friction losses usually do not include the friction
losses that occur in the hot water supply piping. Te reason for this is
that the hot water return circulation fow is needed only to keep the
hot water supply system up to the desired temperature when there
is no fow in the hot water supply piping. When people use the hot
water at the fxtures, there is usually sufcient fow in the hot water
supply piping to keep the system hot water supply piping up to the
desired temperature without help from the fow in the hot water
return piping.
Te only exception to the rule of ignoring the friction losses in the
hot water supply piping is a situation where a hot water return pipe
is connected to a relatively small hot water supply line. Relatively
small here means any hot water supply line that is less than one
pipe size larger than the hot water return line. Te problems cre-
ated by this condition are that the hot water supply line will add
additional friction to the head of the hot water circulating pump,
and the hot water circulating pump fow rate can deprive the last
plumbing fxture on this hot water supply line from obtaining its
required fow. It is recommended, therefore, that in such a situation
the hot water supply line supplying each hot water return piping
connection point be increased to prevent these potential problems,
i.e., use in. (DN22) hot water supply piping and in. (DN15) hot
water return piping, or 1 in. (DN28) hot water supply piping and
in. (DN22) hot water return piping, etc.
When selecting the hot water circulating pumps head, the
designer should be sure to calculate only the restrictions encoun-
tered by the circulating pump. A domestic hot water system is nor-
mally considered an open system (i.e., open to the atmosphere).
When the hot water circulating pump is operating, however, it is
assumed that the piping is a closed system. Terefore, the designer
should not include static heads where none exists. For example, in
Figure 1, the hot water circulating pump has to overcome only the
friction in the hot water return piping not the loss of the static head
pumping the water up to the fxtures because in a closed system
the static head loss is ofset by the static head gain in the hot water
return piping.
Most hot water circulating pumps are of the centrifugal type and are
available as either in-line units for small systems or base-mounted
units for large systems. Because of the corrosiveness of hot water
systems, the pumps should be bronze, bronze ftted, or stainless
steel. Conventional, iron bodied pumps, which are not bronze
ftted, are not recommended.
Tere are three major methods commonly used for controlling hot
water circulating pumps: manual, thermostatic (aquastat), and
time clock control. Sometimes more than one of these methods are
used on a system.
1. A manual control runs the hot water circulating pump contin-
uously when the power is turned on. A manual control should
be used only when hot water is needed all the time, 24 h a day,
or during all the periods of a buildings operation. Otherwise,
it is not a cost-efective means of controlling the circulating
pump because it will waste energy.
Note: Te method for applying the on demand concept for
controlling the hot water circulating pump is a manual control.
It can be used very successfully for residential and commercial
2. A thermostatic aquastat is a device that is inserted into the
hot water return line. When the water in the hot water return
system reaches the distribution temperature, it shuts of the
circulating pump until the hot water return system tempera-
ture drops by approximately 10F [5.5C]. With this method,
when there is a large consumption of hot water by the plumb-
ing fxtures, the circulating pump does not operate.
3. A time clock is used to turn the pump on during specifc hours
of operation when people are using the fxtures. Te pump
would not operate, for example, at night in an ofce building
when nobody is using the fxtures.
4. Often an aquastat and a time clock are used in conjunction
so that during the hours a building is not operating the time
clock shuts of the circulating pump, and during the hours the
building is in use the aquastat shuts of the pump when the
system is up to the desired temperature.
In any hot water return circulation system it is very important that
there be a means of eliminating any entrapped air from the hot
water return piping. Air elimination is not required in the hot water
supply piping because the discharge of water from the fxtures will
eliminate any entrapped air. If air is not eliminated from the hot
water return lines, however, it can prevent the proper circulation
of the hot water system. It is imperative that a means of air elimi-
nation be provided at all high points of a hot water return system.
Te plumbing engineer must always give consideration to precisely
where the air elimination devices are to be located and drained. For
example, they should not be located in the unheated attics of build-
ings in cold climates. If the plumbing engineer does not consider
the location of these devices and where they will drain, the result
may be unsightly piping in a building or extra construction costs.
Te use of insulation is very cost-efective. It means paying one time
to save the later cost of signifcant energy lost by the hot water supply
and return piping system. Also, insulation decreases the stresses
on the piping due to thermal expansion and contraction caused
by changes in water temperature. Furthermore, the proper use of
insulation eliminates the possibility of someone getting burned by
a hot, uninsulated water line. See Table 5 for the surface tempera-
tures of insulated lines (versus 140F [60C] for bare piping).
It is recommended that all hot water supply and return piping be
insulated. Tis recommendation exceeds some code requirements.
See Table 4 for the minimum required insulation thicknesses for all
If the insulated piping is installed in a location where it is sub-
jected to rain or other water, the insulation must be sealed with a
watertight covering that will maintain its tightness over time. Wet
insulation not only does not insulate, it also releases considerable
heat energy from the hot water piping, thus wasting energy. Fur-
thermore, the insulation on any outdoor lines that is not sealed
watertight can be plagued by birds or rodents, etc., pecking at the
insulation to use it for their nests. In time, the entire hot water
supply and/or return piping will have no insulation. Such bare hot
water supply and/or return piping will waste considerable energy
and can seriously afect the operation of the hot water system and
water heaters.
Te minimum required insulation thicknesses given in Table 4
are based on insulation having thermal resistivity (R) in the range of
4.0 to 4.6 ft
h (F/Btu) in. (0.028 to 0.032 m


mm) on a
fat surface at a mean temperature of 75F (24C). Minimum insula-
10 Plumbing Systems & Design DECEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
CONTINUINg eDUCaTION: Recirculating Domestic hot Water systems
tion thickness shall be increased for materials having R values less
than 4.0 ft
h (F/Btu) in. (0.028 m


mm) or may be
reduced for materials having R values greater than 4.6 ft
h (F/
Btu) in. (0.032 m


1. For materials with thermal resistivity greater than 4.6
h (F/Btu) in. (0.032 m


mm), the minimum

insulation thickness may be reduced as follows:
4.6 Table 4 thickness
= New minimum thickness
Actual R

Table 4 thickness
= New minimum thickness
Actual R
2. For materials with thermal resistivity less than 4.0 ft
h (F/
Btu) in. (0.028 m

mm), the minimum insulation

thickness shall be increased as follows:
4.0 Table 4 thickness
= New minimum thickness
Actual R
0.028 Table 4 thickness
= New minimum thickness
Actual R
In conclusion, an inappropriate hot water recirculation system can
have serious repercussions for the operation of the water heater
and the sizing of the water heating system. In addition, it can cause
the wastage of vast amounts of energy, water, and time. Terefore,
it is incumbent upon the plumbing designer to design a hot water
recirculation system so that it conserves natural resources and is in
accordance with the recommendations given in this chapter.
1. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Condi-
tioning Engineers. 1993. Pipe sizing. Chapter 33 in Fundamen-
tals Handbook.
2. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Condi-
tioning Engineers. 1993. Termal and water vapor transmis-
sion data. Chapter 22 in Fundamen tals Handbook.
3. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Condi-
tioning Engineers. 1995. Service water heating. Chapter 45 in
Applications Handbook.
4. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Con-
ditioning Engineers. Energy conservation in new build-
ing design. ASHRAE Standards, 90A1980, 90B1975, and
5. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Condi-
tioning Engineers. Energy efcient design of new low rise
residential buildings. ASHRAE Standards, 90.21993.
6. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Condi-
tioning Engineers. New information on service water heating.
Technical Data Bulletin. Vol. 10, No. 2.
7. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Plumbing fxture
fttings. ASME A112.18.1M1989.
8. American Society of Plumbing Engineers. 2000. Cold water
systems. Chapter 5 in ASPE Data Book, Volume 2.
9. American Society of Plumbing Engineers. 1989. Piping sys-
tems. Chapter 10 in ASPE Data Book.
10. American Society of Plumbing Engineers. 1989. Position
paper on hot water temperature limitations.
11. American Society of Plumbing Engineers. 1989. Service hot
water systems. Chapter 4 in ASPE Data Book.
12. American Society of Plumbing Engineers. 1990. Insulation.
Chapter 12 in ASPE Data Book.
13. American Society of Plumbing Engineers. 1990. Pumps. Chap-
ter 11 in ASPE Data Book.
14. American Society of Plumbing Engineers. 2000. Energy con-
servation in plumbing systems. Chapter 7 in ASPE Data Book,
Volume 1.
15. American Water Works Association. 1985. Internal corrosion
of water distribution systems. Research Foundation coopera-
tive research report.
16. Cohen, Arthur. Copper Development Association. 1978.
Copper for hot and cold potable water systems. Heating/
Piping/Air Conditioning Magazine. May.
17. Cohen, Arthur. Copper Development Association. 1993. His-
torical perspective of corrosion by potable waters in building
systems. Paper no. 509 presented at the National Association
of Corrosion Engineers Annual Conference.
18. Copper Development Association. 1993. Copper Tube Hand-
19. International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Of-
cials. 1985. Uniform Plumbing Code Illustrated Training Manual.
20. Konen, Tomas P. 1984. An experimental study of competing
systems for maintaining service water temperature in residen-
tial buildings. In ASPE 1984 Convention Proceedings.
21. Konen, Tomas P. 1994. Impact of water conservation on
interior plumbing. In Technical Proceedings of the 1994 ASPE
22. Saltzberg, Edward. 1988. Te plumbing engineer as a forensic
engineer. In Technical Proceedings of the 1988 ASPE Convention.
23. Saltzberg, Edward. 1993. To combine or not to combine: An
indepth review of standard and combined hydronic heat-
ing systems and their various pitfalls. Paper presented at the
American Society of Plumbing Engineers Symposium, Octo-
ber 2223.
24. Saltzberg, Edward. 1996. Te efects of hot water circulation
systems on hot water heater sizing and piping systems. Tech-
nical presentation given at the American Society of Plumbing
Engineers convention, November 36.
25. Saltzberg, Edward. 1997. In press. New methods for analyzing
hot water systems. Plumbing Engineer Magazine.
26. Saltzberg, Edward. 1997. In press. Prompt delivery of hot
water at fxtures. Plumbing Engineer Magazine.
27. Sealine, David A., Tod Windsor, Al Fehrm, and Greg Wilcox.
1988. Mixing valves and hot water temperature. In Technical
Proceedings of the 1988 ASPE Convention.
28. Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Asso-
ciation. 1982. Retroft of Building Energy Systems and Processes.
29. Steele, Alfred. Engineered Plumbing Design. 2d ed.
30. Steele, Alfred. 1988. Temperature limits in service hot water
systems. In Technical Proceedings of the 1988 ASPE Convention.
31. Wen-Yung, W. Chan, and Milton Meckler. 1983. Pumps and
pump systems. In American Society of Plumbing Engineers
DECEMBER 2007 Plumbing Systems & Design 11
about this issues article
the december 2007 continuing education article is
recirculating domestic Hot Water Systems, Chapter 14
of Domestic Water Heating Design Manual, Second edition.
this chapter addresses the criteria for establishing an
acceptable time delay in delivering hot water to fxtures
and the limitations of the length between a hot water re-
circulation system and plumbing fxtures. it also discusses
the temperature drop across a hot water supply system,
types of hot water recirculation system, and pump selec-
tion criteria, and gives extensive information on the
insulation of hot water supply and return piping.
you may locate this article at
read the article, complete the following exam, and sub-
mit your answer sheet to the aSPe ofce to potentially
receive 0.1 Ceu.

Continuing education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Haig demergian, Pe, CPd
Ce Questionsrecirculating domestic Hot Water Systems (PSd 143)
1. If the balancing valve is also used as the shutof valve, the
balancing valve must have a ___________.
a. long stem
b. fanged end
c. memory stop
d. none of the above
2. The water content of 1-inch Type L copper pipe is
__________ gal/ft.
a. 0.060
b. 0.052
c. 0.043
d. 0.039
3. hot water recirculation systems with circulating pumps are
installed in large buildings to __________.
a. maintain constant hot water pressure at fxtures
b. provide a reasonably prompt hot water supply to fxtures
c. both of the above
d. neither of the above
4. The approximate heat loss of a tank with 1-inch insulation
holding 100 gallons of 140f hot water is __________
a. 736, b. 137, c. 468, d. 1,273
5. The minimum recommended fberglass pipe insulation
thickness for a 2-inch diameter potable hot water pipe is
a. inch
b. 1 inch
c. 1 inches
d. 2 inches
6. The approximate heat loss of 1-inch copper pipe with
1-inch insulation (assuming 65f ambient temperature) is
__________ Btu/h per foot.
a. 8, b. 10, c. 12, d. 14
7. The total estimated heat loss of 520 feet of 1-inch copper
pipe, with 1-inch fberglass insulation, is __________
a. 6,000, b. 6,320, c. 6,760, d. 7,520
8. The approximate time to deliver hot water to a 1.5-gpm
fxture 25 feet from the water heater, using -inch copper
supply pipe, is __________ seconds.
a. 25, b. 30, c. 40, d. 50
9. The gpm of a hot water circulating pump for a system
with a total calculated heat loss of 10,000 Btu/h and 5f
allowable temperature drop between hot water supply
and return is __________.
a. 3, b. 4, c. 7, d. 9
10. The heat required to raise 35 gpm from 50f to 140f is
__________ Btu/h.
a. 895,000
b. 1,270,000
c. 1,575,000
d. 1,625,000
11. Why it is necessary to provide a pressure relief valve on
potable hot water systems?
a. to relieve the water, which expands during the heating
b. to protect the water heater and piping from excessive
c. both of the above
d. neither of the above
12. automatic air vents for air elimination shall be installed on
the high points of __________.
a. hot water supply piping
b. hot water return piping
c. cold water supply piping
d. none of the above
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
now online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located
at Just click on Plumbing Systems & Design
Continuing Education Article and Exam at the top of the page. Te
following exam and application form also may be downloaded from
the website. Reading the article and completing the form will allow
you to apply to ASPE for CEU credit. If you earn a grade of 90 per-
cent or higher on the test, you will be notifed that you have logged
0.1 CEU, which can be applied toward CPD renewal or numerous
regulatory-agency CE programs. (Please note that it is your responsi-
bility to determine the acceptance policy of a particular agency.) CEU
information will be kept on fle at the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
12 Plumbing Systems & Design DECEMBER 2007 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

Fuel Gas
continuing education from Plumbing Systems & Design
diane m. wingard, cpd
Tis chapter describes fuel-gas systems on consumer sites from
the property line to the fnal connection with the most remote gas
appliance or piece of equipment. Te system is intended to provide
sufcient pressure and volume for all uses. Since NG is a nonrenew-
able energy resource, the engineer should design for its efcient
use. Te direct utilization of NG is preferable to the use of electrical
energy when electricity is obtained from the combustion of gas or
oil. However, in many areas, the gas supplier and /or governmental
agencies may impose regulations that restrict the use of natural gas.
Refer to the chapter Energy Conservation in Plumbing Systems in
Plumbing Engineering Design Handbook Volume 1 for information
on appliance efciencies and energy conservation recommenda-
Te composition, specifc gravity, and heating value of NG (NG)
vary depending on the well (or feld) from which the gas is gathered.
NG is a mixture of gases, most of which are hydrocarbons, and the
predominant hydrocarbon is methane. Some natural gases contain
signifcant quantities of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or sulfur (usually
as H
S). Natural gases containing sulfur or carbon dioxide are apt to
be corrosive. Tese corrosive substances are usually eliminated by
treatment of the NG before it is transmitted to the customers. Read-
ily condensable petroleum gases also are usually extracted before
the NG is put into the pipeline to prevent condensation during
transmission. Te physical properties of both NG and liquefed
petroleum gas (LPG) are given in Table 1. NG and LPG are colorless
and odorless, so an additive is added to the gases to detect a leak.
NG is obtained from a franchised public utility obligated to provide
gas to all who request this service. Tere are diferent types of ser-
vices a utility may provide, each with a diferent cost. Tey include
the following:
1. Firm Service. Tis service provides constant supply of gas
under all conditions.
2. Interruptible Service. Tis service allows the utility to stop gas
supply under certain conditions and proper notifcation and
to start service when the conditions no longer exist. Te most
common reason for this interruption is when the ambient
temperature falls below a predetermined point.
3. Light or Heavy Process Service. Tis service is provided for
process or other industrial use. Te quantity of gas must meet
utility company requirements.
4. Commercial or Industrial Service. Tis type of service is used
for heating and cooling loads for this class of building.
5. Transportation Gas Service. Tis is used when the gas is
purchased directly from the producer (or wellhead) and not
directly from the utility company. Te gas actually is carried in
the utility company mains, and there is a charge for this use.
Tere are many gases used as a fuel gas. Where easily and cheaply
available, two major fuel gases, NG and LPG, are preferred. Other
gases are used because of availability. For properties of gases com-
monly available throughout the world, refer to Table 2.
Te American Gas Association, the National Fire Protection
Association, and the American National Standards Associa-
tion do not approve, inspect, or certify installations, proce-
dures, equipment, or materials. Te acceptability of all such
items must comply with the authority having jurisdiction
system operatinG pressure
Te gas pressure in the piping system downstream of the
meter is usually 5 to 14 in. (125 to 356 mm) of water column
(wc). Under these conditions, good engineering practice
limits the pressure losses in the piping to a range between
0.2 to 0.5 in. (5 to 13 mm) wc. However, local codes may
dictate a more stringent pressure drop maximum; these
should be consulted before the system is sized. Most
appliances require approximately 3.5 in. (89 mm) wc. Te
designer must be aware that large appliances, such as boil-
ers, may require high gas pressures to operate properly.
Where appliances require high pressures or where long
distribution lines are involved, it may be necessary to use
higher pressures at the meter outlet to satisfy the appli-
ance requirements or provide for greater pressure losses in
the piping system, thereby allowing economy of pipe size.
Systems often are designed with meter outlet pressures
of 3 to 5 psi (20.7 to 34.5 kPa) and with pressure regula-
tors to reduce the pressure for appliances as required. A
Fuel Gas Piping Systems
Reprinted from Plumbing Engineering Design Handbook, Volume 2: Plumbing Systems, Chapter 7: Fuel Gas Piping Systems.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers , 2005.
Natural gas
Formula C
Molecular weight 44.097 16.402
Melting (or freezing) point, F 305.84 300.54
Boiling point, F 44 258.70
Specifc gravity of gas (air = 1.00) 1.52 0.60
Specifc gravity of liquid 60F/60F (water = 1.00) 0.588 0.30
Latent heat of vaporization at normal boiling point, Btu/lb 183 245
Vapor pressure, lb/in
, gauge at 60F 92
Pounds per gallon of liquid at 60F 4.24 2.51
Gallons per pound of liquid at 60F 0.237
Btu per pound of gas (gross) 21591 23000
Btu per ft
gas at 60F and 30 in mercury 2516 1050
Btu per gallon of gas at 60F 91547
Cubic feet of gas (60F, 30 in Hg)/gal of liquid 36.39 59.0
Cubic feet of gas (60F, 30 in Hg)/lb of liquid 8.58 23.6
Cubic feet of air required to burn 1 ft
gas 23.87 9.53
Flame temperature, F 3595 3416
Octane number (isooctane = 100) 125
Flammability limit in air, upper 9.50 15.0
Flammability limit in air, lower 2.87 5.0
Table 1 Average Physical Properties of Natural Gas and Propane
2 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
majority of times, the utility company will reduce the incoming
pressure to a fgure that is requested by the design engineer at the
start of the project.
Te maximum allowable operating pressure for NG piping sys-
tems inside a building is based on NFPA 54: National Fuel Gas Code,
except when approved by the AHJ or when insurance carriers have
more limiting requirements. NG systems are not permitted to have
more than 5 psig (34.5 kPa) unless all the following are met:
1. Te AHJ will allow a higher pressure.
2. Te distribution piping is welded.
3. Pipe runs are enclosed for protection and located in a venti-
lated place that will not allow gas to accumulate.
4. Te pipe is installed in areas only used for industrial pro-
cesses, research, warehouse, or mechanical equipment
Te maximum LPG pressure of 20 psig (138 kPa) is allowed, pro-
vided the building is used only for research or industrial purposes
and is constructed in accordance with NFPA 58: Liquefed Petro-
leum Gas Code, Chapter 7.
Te diference between the input and the output of any equipment
is the heat lost in the burner, the heat exchanger, and the fue gases.
Water heating and space heating equipment are usually 75 to 85%
efcient, and ratings are given for both input and output. Cooking
and laundry equipment also is usually 75 to 85% efcient, and rat-
ings are given for the input that take into consideration the internal
losses. When only the output required for the appliance is known,
it will be necessary to increase the volume of gas to account for the
loss of efciency.
codes and standards
Te local code in the area where the project is located is the primary
code to be used. Often, this code refers to NFPA 54. Other codes
and standards that may be applicable are ANSI/NFPA 30: Flam-
mable and Combustible Liquids Code, ANSI/NFPA 58, ANSI Z83.3:
Gas Utilization Equipment for Large Boilers, ANSI/UL 144: Pressure
Regulating Valves for LPG, NFPA 88A: Standard for Parking Struc-
tures, and American Gas Association standards. Insurance carriers
such as Industrial Risk Insurers and FM Global also have standards,
which may be in many respects stricter than the applicable code.
Gas meters
Meters are required in all services. To achieve greatest accuracy,
the pressure into the meter must be regulated. Requirements for
various utilities difer regarding the placement and arrangement of
the meter assembly. Te assembly could consist of flters, valves,
regulators, and relief valves. It could be placed indoors, on a slab
outdoors aboveground, or underground in an outdoor pit. Te
plumbing contractor is usually responsible for a pit, if required, a
slab, telephone outlet, and electrical outlet adjacent to the meter.
Te utility company almost always supplies the meter. Te utility
company usually runs the service on the consumers site up to the
meter, terminating with a shutof valve.
pressure reGulatinG valves
A pressure regulator is a device for reducing a variable high inlet
pressure to a constant lower outlet pressure. Te line regulator
is used to reduce supply line pressure from generally 2550 psig
(170345 kPa) to an intermediate pressure of about 35 psig (2135
kPa). If used, it is usually placed outside before the meter and
selected by the utility company. If installed inside the building, a
relief vent will be necessary. An intermediate regulator is used to
Table 2 Physical and Combustion Properties of Commonly Available Fuel Gases
No. Gas
Heating value
Heat release, Btu
lb per ft
Gross Net Gross Net Per ft
air Per lb air
1 Acetylene 1,498 1,447 21,569 20,837 125.8 1677 0.91 0.07 14.4
2 Blast furnace gas 92 92 1,178 1,178 135.3 1804 1.02 0.078 12.8
3 Butane 3,225 2,977 21,640 19,976 105.8 1411 1.95 0.149 6.71
4 Butylene (hutene) 3,077 2,876 20,780 19,420 107.6 1435 1.94 0.148 6.74
5 Carbon monoxide 323 323 4,368 4,368 135.7 1809 0.97 0.074 13.5
6 Carburetted water gas 550 508 11,440 10,566 119.6 1595 0.63 0.048 20.8
7 Coke oven gas 574 514 17,048 15,266 115.0 1533 0.44 0.034 29.7
8 Digester (sewage) gas 690 621 11,316 10,184 107.6 1407 0.80 0.062 16.3
9 Ethane 1,783 1,630 22,198 20,295 106.9 1425 1.05 0.080 12.5
10 Hydrogen 325 275 61,084 51,628 136.6 1821 0.07 0.0054 186.9
11 Methane 1,011 910 23,811 21,433 106.1 1415 0.55 0.042 23.8
12 Natural (Birmingham, AL) 1,002 904 21,844 19,707 106.5 1420 0.60 0.046 21.8
13 Natural (Pittsburgh, PA) 1,129 1,021 24,161 21,849 106.7 1423 0.61 0.047 21.4
14 Natural (Los Angeles, CA) 1,073 971 20,065 18,158 106.8 1424 0.70 0.054 18.7
15 Natural (Kansas City, MO) 974 879 20,259 18,283 106.7 1423 0.63 0.048 20.8
16 Natural (Groningen, Netherlands) 941 849 19,599 17,678 111.9 1492 0.64 0.048 20.7
17 Natural (Midlands Grid, U.K.) 1,035 902 22,500 19,609 105.6 1408 0.61. 0.046 21.8
18 Producer (Wellman-Galusha) 167 156 2,650 2,476 128.5 1713 0.84 0.065 15.4
19 Propane 2,572 2,365 21,500 19,770 108 1440 1.52 0.116 8.61
20 Propylene (Propane) 2,332 2,181 20,990 19,030 108.8 1451 1.45 0.111 9.02
21 Sasol (South Africa) 500 443 14,550 13,016 116.3 1551 0.42 0.032 31.3
22 Water gas (bituminous) 261 239 4,881 4,469 129.9 1732 0.71 0.054 18.7
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 3
further reduce the pressure from 35 psig (2135 kPa) to one that
can be used by terminal equipment, which is approximately 7 in.
(178 mm) wc. Diferent types of valves may require a relief vent. An
appliance regulator connects the supply to the terminal equipment
and may be provided by the equipment manufacturer, usually on
gas trains where equipment has one. Types of appliance regula-
tors are a zero governer, a backpressure regulator, and a diferential
When regulators are installed inside a building and require a
vent, these vents often must be routed to the atmosphere. Te vents
from individual regulators may not be combined. When bottled gas
is used, the tank can have as much as 150 psi (1034.6 kPa) pressure
to be reduced to the burner design pressure of 11 in. (279.4 mm)
wc. Te regulator normally is located at the tank for this pressure
pressure control valves
An excess fow valve is a device that shuts of the fow of gas if there
is a much larger fow through the pipe or service than designed
for. In some parts of the country, particularly in areas where earth-
quakes may occur, excessive fow valves are necessary to guard
against the possibility of a break during such an event. In other
cases, where danger exists for equipment such as large boilers,
installation should be considered.
A low pressure cutof shall be installed between the meter and
appliance where the operation of a device, such as a gas compres-
sor, appliance, or a boiler, could produce a vacuum or dangerous
vacuum condition in the piping system.
appliance control valves
An appliance shutof valve shall be installed at all gas appliances
prior to any fexible hose used to connect the appliance to the
building gas supply.
An automatic interlock, connected to the automatic fre extinguish-
ing system, is required to shut of the gas supply to all equipment in
a kitchen when there is a discharge in the event of a fre. In earth-
quake-prone areas, an interlock is required to shut of the supply of
gas if the disturbance may rupture the pipe or separate pipe from
any equipment.
Appliances are listed by types and categories that shall be used in
the design of vents. Tese vents shall be sized and located in accor-
dance with NFPA 54.
Most manufacturers of gas appliances rate their equipment by
the gas consumption values that are used to determine the maxi-
mum gas fow rate in the piping. Table 3 shows the approximate
gas consumption for some common appliances. To fnd the fow
rate of gas required, use the consumption from the manufacturer
and divide by 1,000. If the equipment is a water heater, multiply the
fgure by the weight of water (8.48 lbs).
Te products of combustion from an appliance must be safely
exhausted to the outside. Tis is accomplished with a gas vent
system in most cases. Where an appliance has a very low rate of
gas consumption (e.g., Bunsen burner or countertop cofee maker)
or where an appliance has an exhaust system associated with the
appliance (e.g., gas clothes dryer or range) and the room size and
ventilation are adequate, a separate gas vent system may not be
required. Current practice usually dictates the use of factory-fab-
ricated and listed vents for small to medium-size appliances. Large
appliances and equipment may require specially designed venting
or exhaust systems. It is not the plumbing engineers responsibility
to design and specify gas vents. Tis is done by either the HVAC
department or the manufacturer.
Where the ratings of the appliances are not known, they shall
comply with the typical demand of appliances by types as indicated
in NFPA 54.
allowable Gas pressure
Te gas outlet pressure in the piping system downstream of the
meter that is supplied by the utility is mostly in the range of 414
in. (102356 mm) wc, with approximately 7 in. (178 mm) wc being
a common fgure. Good engineering practice limits the pressure
losses in the piping to approximately 0.20.5 in. (512.7 mm) wc
depending on the outlet pressure, with 0.3 in. (7.6 mm) wc being
the most commonly used number. However, local codes may dic-
tate a more stringent pressure drop maximum. Te AHJ should
be consulted before the system is sized. Most appliances require
approximately 3.5 in. (89 mm) wc; however, the designer must be
Table 3 Approximate Gas Demand for Common Appliances
Btu/h (mJ/h)
Commercial kitchen equipment
Small broiler 30,000 (31.7)
Large broiler 60,000 (63.3)
Combination broiler and roaster 66,000 (69.6)
Cofee maker, 3-burner 18,000 (19)
Cofee maker, 4-burner 24,000 (25.3)
Deep fat fryer, 45 lb (20.4 kg) of fat 50,000 (52.8)
Deep fat fryer, 75 lb (34.1 kg) of fat 75,000 (79.1)
Doughnut fryer, 200 lb (90.8 kg) of fat 72,000 (76)
2-deck baking and roasting oven 100,000 (105.5)
3-deck baking oven 96,000 (101.3)
Revolving oven, 4 or 5 trays 210,000 (221.6)
Range with hot top and oven 90,000 (95)
Range with hot top 45,000 (47.5)
Range with fry top and oven 100,000 (105.5)
Range with fry top 50,000 (52.8)
Cofee urn, single, 5-gal (18.9 L) 28,000 (29.5)
Cofee urn, twin, 10-gal. (37.9 L) 56,000 (59.1)
Cofee urn, twin, 15-gal (56.8 L) 84,000 (88.6)
Stackable convection oven, per section of oven 60,000 (63.3)
Residential equipment
Clothes dryer (Type I) 35,000 (36.9)
Range 65,000 (68.6)
Stove-top burners (each) 40,000 (42.2)
Oven 25,000 (26.4)
30-gal (113.6-L) water heater 30,000 (31.7)
40 to 50-gal (151.4 to 189.3-L) water heater 50,000 (52.8)
Log lighter 25,000 (26.4)
Barbecue 50,000 (52.8)
Miscellaneous equipment
Commercial log lighter 50,000 (52.8)
Bunsen burner 5,000 (5.3)
Gas engine, per horsepower (745.7 W) 10,000 (10.6)
Steam boiler, per horsepower (745.7 W) 50,000 (52.8)
Commercial clothes dryer (Type 2)
See manufacturers
The values given in this table should be used only when the manufacturers data are not available.
4 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
aware that large appliances, such as boilers, may require higher
gas pressures to operate properly. Where appliances require higher
pressures or where long distribution lines are involved, it may be
necessary to use higher pressures at the meter outlet to satisfy
the appliance requirements or provide for greater pressure losses
in the piping system. If greater pressure at the meter outlet can
be attained, a greater pressure drop can be allowed in the piping
system. If the greater pressure drop design can be used, a more eco-
nomical piping system is possible.
laboratory usaGe
NG is the primary gas used in laboratories at lab benches for
Bunsen burners. Where NG is not available, propane gas is used,
but this generally requires the manufacturer to be advised due
to the Bunsen burner requiring a smaller orifce. Typical Bunsen
burners consume either 5 cfh (0.15 m
/h) (small burners) or 10 cfh
(0.30 m
/h) (large burners).Te maximum pressure at the burner
should not exceed 14 in. (355.6 mm) wc. 10 cfh (0.30 m
/h) is more
commonly used.
Some local codes require laboratory gas systems, especially those
in schools or universities, to be supplied with emergency gas shutof
valves on the supply to each laboratory. Te valve normally should
be closed and opened only when the gas is being used. It should be
located inside the laboratory and used in conjunction with shut-
of valves at the benches or equipment, which may be required by
other codes. Te designer should ensure locations meet local code
Te following diversities, found in Table 4, shall be applied where
fow will be from Bunsen burners:
Branch piping that serves one or two laboratory classrooms
should be sized for 100% usage regardless of the number of outlets.
Use factors should be modifed to suit special conditions and must
be used with judgment after consultation with the owner and /or
Gas reGulator relief vents
Guidelines for the use of relief vents from pressure regulators, also
referred to as gas-train vents, can be found in the latest editions of
NFPA 54 and FM Global Loss Prevention Data Sheet 6-4: Oil- and
Gas-Fired Single-Burner Boilers, as well as in other publications of
industry standards, such as those issued by Industrial Risk Insurers
and the American Gas Association.
It should be noted that when the pressure regulators discharge,
large amounts of fuel gas may be released. It is not uncommon for
a local fre department to be summoned to investigate an odor of
gas caused by a gas-train vent discharge. Every attempt should be
made to locate the terminal point of the vents above the line of the
roof and away from doors, windows, and fresh-air intakes. It also
should be located on a side of the building that is not protected
from the wind. Refer to NFPA 54 and local codes for vent locations.
altitude deratinG factor
NG has a reduced density at a higher altitude that must be allowed
for when the project location is more than 2,000 feet above sea level.
Tis altitude correction factor shall be multiplied by the gas input at
sea level to determine the correct input at full load capacity. Refer
to Figure 1 to determining the derating factor for NG.
pipinG system materials
Te following piping materials are the most often used for both NG
and propane.
Pipe Steel (galvanized, plastic-wrapped, or black), brass, and
copper. Black steel is the most commonly used pipe. Cast-iron pipe
shall not be used.
Tubing Semi-rigid copper type K or L.
Plastic pipe and tubing (polyethylene) Plastic pipe may be used
outside and underground only.
flexible hose
corruGated stainless steel tubinG
Indoor Indoor gas hose connectors may be used with laboratory or
shop and other equipment that requires mobility during operation
or installation, if listed for this application. A shutof valve must be
installed where the connector is attached to the building piping.
Te connector must be of minimum length but shall not exceed 6 ft
(1.8 m). Te connector must not be concealed and must not extend
from one room to another nor pass through wall partitions, ceil-
ings, or foors.
Outdoor Outdoor gas hose connectors may be used to connect
portable outdoor gas-fred appliances, if listed for this application.
A shutof valve or a listed quick-disconnect device must be installed
where the connector is attached to the supply piping and in such a
manner as to prevent the accumulation of water or foreign matter.
Figure 1 Altitude Correction Factor
The Altitude Correction Factor (ACF) should be multiplied by the gas input at sea level to determine
the corrected input. Sizing of the equipment is then performed utilizing this corrected input
multiplied by the full load efcency.
Table 4 Laboratory Diversity Factors
Number of
Flow cfh
18 100 9 (0.26)
916 90 15 (0.43)
1729 80 24 (0.68)
3079 60 48 (1.36)
80162 50 82 (2.32)
163325 45 107 (3.03)
326742 40 131 (3.71)
7431,570 30 260 (7.36)
1,5712,900 25 472 (13.37)
2,901 and up 20 726 (20.56)
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 5
Tis connection must be made only in the outdoor area where the
appliance is to be used.
Fittings and joints for low-pressure piping, 3 psi (21 kPa) or
less Steel pipe may be threaded, fanged, or welded. Cast or mal-
leable iron threaded fttings are the most commonly used. Tubing
may be soldered or brazed using wrought copper or copper alloy
fttings and no fux. Brazing alloy must not contain phosphorous.
Fittings and joints for high pressure piping greater than 3 psi
(21 kPa) Steel pipe and fttings 4 in. (100 mm) and larger shall be
Tubing joints Tubing usually is needed for the fexible connec-
tions to equipment. For pressures normally encountered in the uti-
lization of NG and LPG, the most often used joints are screwed.
desiGn considerations
Te fact that LPG vapors are heavier than air has a practical bearing
on several items. For one thing, LPG systems are located in such a
manner that the hazard of escaping gas is kept at a minimum.
Since the heavier-than-air gas tends to settle in low places, the
vent termination of relief valves must be located at a safe distance
from openings into buildings that are below the level of such valves.
With many gas systems, both the gas pressure regulator and the fuel
containers are installed adjacent to the building they serve. Tis
distance must be a least 3 ft (0.91 m) measured horizontally. How-
ever, the required clearances vary according to the tank size and the
adjacent activities. Te designer should refer to the local code and
NFPA 54 for these clearances.
When LPG piping is installed in crawl spaces or in pipe tunnels,
the engineer may consider a snifer system, which automatically
shuts down the gas supply, sounds an alarm, and activates an
exhaust system to purge the escaping gas from the area upon detec-
tion of gas in the space due to a breach in the piping system.
A gas booster is a pump that increases the pressure of gas. It is used
when there is insufcient pressure available from the gas utility or
LPG storage device to supply the necessary pressure to the equip-
ment at hand. It is important to note that the gas service must be
capable of the volumetric fow rate required at the boosted level. A
booster cannot overcome an inadequate volumetric supply.
Gas boosters for natural or liquefed petroleum gas Boosters
for natural or utility-supplied gas are hermetically sealed and are
equipped to deliver a volumetric fow rate (user defned but within
the boosters rated capacity) to an elevated pressure beyond the
supply pressure. Te outlet pressure usually remains at a constant
diferential above the supply pressure within a reasonable range.
Te discharge pressure is the sum of the incoming gas pressure and
the booster-added pressure at the chosen fow rate. Te incoming
gas pressure usually has an upper safety limit as stipulated by the
hermetic gas booster manufacturer. Terefore, in the engineering
literature from the manufacturer, the engineer may fnd cautions
or warnings about the upper limits of incoming pressure, usually
about 5 psi (34.5 kPa).
materials of construction
Housing and rotor Boosters used for fuel gas must be Underwrit-
ers Laboratories (UL) listed for the specifc duty intended and shall
be hermetically sealed. Casings on standard boosters usually are
constructed of carbon steel, depending on the equipment supplier.
Booster casings are also available in stainless steel and aluminum.
Inlet and outlet connections are threaded or fanged, depending on
the pipe size connection and the manufacturer selected, and the
casings are constructed leak tight. Drive impellers are contained
within the casing and always manufactured of a spark-resistant
material such as aluminum.
Discharge-type check valves are furnished on the booster inlet
and on the booster bypass. It is important that these valves are
listed and approved for use on the gas service at hand. Te fan,
control panel, valves, piping, and interelectrical connections can
be specifed as a skid-mounted package at the discretion of the
designer. Tis allows for UL listing of the entire package rather than
of individual components.
Electrical components Motor housings for gas booster systems
are designed for explosion-proof (XP) construction and are rated
per National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Class
1, Division 1, Group D classifcation with thermal overload protec-
tion. A factory UL-listed junction box with a protected, sealed inlet
is necessary for wiring connections.
Figure 2 Variations of a Basic Simplex Booster System: (A) Standby Generator Application with Accumulator Tank Having a Limitation on Maximum
6 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
Other electrical ancillary equipment Boosters are equipped
with low pressure switches that monitor the incoming gas pressure.
Te switch is designed to shut down the booster should the utility-
supplied pressure fall below a preset limit. Te set point is usually
about 3 in. (76 mm) wc, but the designer should verify the limit with
the local gas provider. Te switch must be UL listed for use with the
gas service at hand. When the switch opens, it de-energizes the
motor control circuit and simultaneously outputs both audible and
visual signals, which require manual resetting. Te booster can be
equipped with an optional high/low gas pressure switch. Tis fea-
ture equips the booster to run only when adequate supply pressure
is available. Te switch shuts the booster down at the maximum
discharge setpoint pressure at the output line pressure.
Minimum gas fow Gas boosters normally require a minimum
gas fow that serves as an internal cooling medium. For example, a
booster sized at a fow rate of 10,000 cfh (283.2 m
/h) has an inher-
ent minimum turndown based on the minimum fow required to
cool the unit. Tis rate, in the example, may be 2,000 cfh (566.3
/h) (see Figure 2). Should the unit be required to run below this
turndown rate, additional supplemental cooling systems must be
incorporated into the booster design. Te heat exchangers normally
rated for this use are water cooled.
Figure 2 Variations of a Basic Simplex Booster System: (B) Dual Booster System for Critical Systems Like Those in Hospitals, (C) Heat Exchanger Loop
ExampleRequired for High Flow Range with Low Minimum Flow.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 7
Intrinsic safety Electrical connections are made through a
sealed, explosion-proof conduit to the XP junction box on the
booster unit. Control panels are rated NEMA 4 for outdoor use and
NEMA 12 for indoor use unless the booster system is to be located
in a hazardous area, which may have additional requirements.
Te panel, as an assembly, must display a UL label specifc for its
intended use.
Gas laws for boosters
Pressure/volume relationships Te gas laws apply to the relation-
ship of the incoming gas supply and the boosted service. Te stan-
dard law for compressed gas relationships is as follows:
Equation 1
P = Pressure, psi or in. wc (kPa or mm wc)
V = Volume, cfh (m
R = Constant for the gas/air mixture used
T = Temperature, F (C)
Usually the temperature of the gas remains relatively constant
and can be ignored in the relationship. Terefore, the pressure
times the volume is proportional to a constant R. Further, the pres-
sure/volume ratios before and after the booster are proportional,
that is:
Equation 2
= P
= Pressure at a point prior to the booster
= Pressure at a point after the booster
For almost every case, the volumetric rating of gas-fred equip-
ment is in Btu/h, which can readily be converted to cfh. In the
booster application, sizing criteria should be approached from a
standard cfh (scfh) not an actual cfh (acfh) rating.
Gas temperatures and density As stated, the temperature of the
gas is usually constant. However, in the event that the gas is to be
heated or cooled, the previously mentioned gas laws are afected
by temperature. Gas density changes afect the constant but usu-
ally do not afect the relationship since the same mixture is boosted
across the fan.
High-rise building issues Consideration must be given to the
rise efect in available gas pressure as gas rises in the piping through
a high-rise building. Terefore, if the gas system supplies a kitchen
on the frst level and a boiler in the penthouse of a 50-story build-
ing, it may be necessary to boost the supply to the kitchen but not to
the boiler. Te gas rises to the penthouse through the piping system
because of the density diferential; its rising is dependent on this
stack efect, which is directly related to the piping system layout.
Design considerations Although a gas booster is a basic
mechanical piece of equipment, there are signifcant design con-
siderations that should be taken into account when applying it:
1. Indoor vs. outdoor location. Tis may be driven by local code
or the end user. An indoor location involves a lower initial
cost and lower costs for long-term maintenance. Outdoor
locations are inherently safer.
2. Access. Te location should be accessible for installation,
inspection, and maintenance. Te unit should not be so
accessible as to create a security issue. Keep the equipment
out of trafc patterns and protect it from heavy equipment.
3. Minimum and maximum fow rates. Boosters usually have
a minimum fow rate that must be maintained so that the
boosters motor is kept cool. When specifying a booster,
always indicate the minimum fow required in addition to
other design parameters. Cooling devices and bypass loops
may be required if the application requires a turndown in fow
(lowest fow expected) that is higher than the boosters mini-
mum fow.
4. Controls and interlocking. Determine how the application
should be controlled and what demands the application will
put on the system. Te control philosophy, method of electri-
cally interlocking the system to the gas-fred equipment, and
physical hardware will vary based on the application.
For some specifc examples, see the schematics in Figure 2, which
shows variations of a basic simplex booster system for an emer-
gency generator. In Figure 2(A), the regulator controls maximum
delivered pressure, and a combination high/low pressure switch on
the tank cycles the booster to ensure emergency startup pressure
within a design deadband for the generator. Oversized piping, in
this case, can be substituted for the tank itself. Provide adequate
volume so that the generator can fre and deliver standby power
back to the booster system to continue operation during main
power interrupt. In Figure 2(B), a dual booster system, the booster
is controlled in a lead/lag control scenario. Should one booster
fail, the second is started automatically. Unit operation is rotated
automatically via the control panel to share the duty and to keep
both units in operating order. Te booster with a heat exchanger
loop shown in Figure 2(C) has a potential of up to 15 psi (103.4 kPa)
and down to 28 in. (711.2 mm) wc supply pressure. Te system
automatically diverts gas around the booster if there is sufcient
supply pressure. While these illustrations obviously do not cover
all the potential applications, they are provided to give the system
designer some guidance.
Sizing a gas booster A gas boosters main purpose is to elevate
the pressure of a volume of gas to overcome a supply pressure def-
ciency. When sizing a booster, an engineer needs to understand the
following terms and issues:
Maximum design fow (Q
) Te sum of all gas loads at the
maximum capacity rating (MCR) for all equipment downstream of
the booster that could possibly be required to operate simultane-
Minimum design fow (Q
) Te minimum volumetric fow that
could exist while the booster is operating. Tis fow is not always
associated with the smallest Btu/h-rated piece of equipment. For
example, when evaluating a 75,000,000 Btu/h (22 MW) boiler with a
10:1 turndown ratio in comparison to a 1.0 Btu/h (0.3 W) hot water
heater that is on/of in operation, the larger Btu/h (W)-rated boiler
has the smaller fow of 0.75 Btu/h (0.2 W) at its minimum fring
Turndown (TD) ratio Te ratio of the MCR input to the equip-
ments minimum, or low-fre, input. For example, a 100 Btu/h (29.3
W) burner that can fre at a minimum rate of 20 Btu/h (5.9 W) has
a TD ratio of 5:1.
Pressure droop and peak consumption Pressure droop is the
inability of a supply system to maintain a steady or consistent inlet
pressure as an increase in volumetric fow is demanded. Often, in
areas where boosters are applied, the supply pressure in of-peak
months when gas is not in such demand can be sufcient to run a
system. As the local demand for gas increases, the supply system
no longer can provide the gas efciently and the pressure falls of or
droops. It is the boosters function to overcome the droop (or exces-
sive pressure drop) of the supply system during such times.
Flow rate relationships Do your fows for separate pieces of
equipment relate to each other? In other words, do the three boil-
8 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
ers always operate in unison while another process machine always
operates of peak and alone? Relationships among the equipment
can signifcantly afect both maximum and minimum fow rates.
Test block A factor of safety added to design criteria. Typically,
a minimum of 5% added volume and 10% added static pressure
should be applied to the design criteria. When specifying the equip-
ment, ensure that you note both the design and test block condi-
tions. Tis makes other people working on the system aware and
ensures that safety factors are not applied to criteria that already
include safety factors.
Minimum inlet pressure (P
) What is the minimum supply
pressure in in. (mm) wc gauge? Tis must be evaluated during peak
fow demands both for the equipment and for the local area. Always
evaluate during fow, not static, conditions. It is also important to
know how high the inlet pressure is expected to rise during of-peak
periods. A booster is typically rated to about 5 psi (34.5 kPa). It may
be possible to exceed this rating during of-peak demand periods;
therefore, a bypass system or other means of protection is required.
Often this pressure can be specifed by the local gas company as the
minimum guaranteed gas pressure from their supply system. Also,
the maximum inlet pressure (P
) must be determined.
Maximum outlet pressure (P
) List all maximum and
required supply pressures for the various pieces of equipment being
supplied gas from the booster. Determine the diferential between
the highest expected gas pressure supply to the booster (e.g., 8 in.
[203.2 mm] wc) and the lowest maximum supply pressure rating
to a piece of equipment (e.g., 18 in. [457.2 mm] wc). Te boosters
pressure gain should not exceed this diferential (for the above
example, 18 8 = 10 in. [457.2 203.2 = 254 mm] wc) unless other
means of protecting the downstream equipment are provided.
Outlet pressure protection Tere are several ways to protect
equipment downstream of a booster should it be necessary due
to potential over-pressurization during of-peak periods. If all the
equipment being serviced operates at nominally the same pressure,
install a regulator on the inlet or outlet of the booster to maintain a
controlled maximum outlet pressure. If the equipment being ser-
viced operates at various inlet pressures, it may be best to supply a
regulator for each piece of equipment. Most often, packaged equip-
ment is supplied with its own regulator. If this is the case, review the
equipment regulators maximum inlet pressure.
To perform an evaluation of system requirements, do the following:
1. Establish design Q
and Q
per the previously discussed
defnitions while evaluating TD requirements.
2. Establish P
and P
per the previously discussed defni-
3. Defne maximum inlet pressure requirements to equipment
4. Defne piping pressure losses (P
) from the gas booster loca-
tion to each piece of equipment.
5. Design fow rate (Q
) = Q
to Q
, cfh (m
6. Design pressure boost (DP) = P
+ P
7. Test block fow (Q
) = (1.05 Q
) to (1.05 Q
8. Test block pressure boost: 1.10 DP = P
+ P
= Pressure losses, psi (kPa)
interior nG pipe sizinG
To accurately size all elements of the piping system, calculate or
obtain the following information:
1. Te information needed by both the utility company and the
2. Te gas pressure available after the meter assembly.
3. Te allowable friction loss through the piping system.
4. A piping layout that shows all the connected equipment,
allowing determination of the measured length of piping to
the furthest connection. Tis, in turn, gives the equivalent
length of piping.
5. Te maximum probable demand.
6. A pipe sizing method acceptable to the AHJ or local code.
Te information needed by both the utility company and the
engineer Te following are intended to be complete lists of items.
Not all items will be necessary for all projects.
Te following criteria and information shall be obtained in writ-
ing from the public utility company and given to the engineer:
1. BTU content of the gas provided.
2. Minimum pressure of the gas at the outlet of the meter.
3. Extent of the installation work done by the utility company
and the point of connection to the meter by the facility con-
struction contractor.
4. Te location of the utility supply main and the proposed run
of pipe on the site by the utility company. Tis shall be in the
form of a marked-up plan or description of the work. Include
the expected date of installation if no gas is available.
5. Acceptable location of the meter and /or regulator assembly
or a request to locate the meter at a particular location.
6. Any work required by the owner to allow the meter assembly
to be installed (such as a meter pit or slab on grade).
7. Types of gas service available and the cost of each.
For the utility company to provide this data, the fol lowing infor-
mation must be provided to them:
1. Te total connected load. Te utility will use its own diversity
factor to calculate the size of the service line. For the design
of the projects interior piping, the design engineer will select
the diversity factor involved.
2. Minimum pressure requirements for the most demanding
3. Site plan indicating the location of the proposed building on
the site and the specifc area of the building where the pro-
posed NG service will enter the building.
4. Preferred location of the meter/regulator assembly
5. Expected date of the start of construction.
6. Diferent requirements for pressure.
7. Two site plans, one to be marked up and returned to the engi-
8. If any equipment has pilot lights.
9. Te hours of operation for the diferent types of equipment.
10. Future equipment and capacities, if any, known at this time.
Te pressure available after the meter shall be established in
writing from the utility at the start of the project. If boilers or other
major equipment is being used, the pressure requirements and the
fow rate for that equipment must be provided to the utility.
Te allowable friction loss through the entire piping system
shall be established by the engineer. Tis value depends on the
pressure provided by the utility company. Te most often selected
value under average conditions is 0.3 in. (7.6 mm) wc, with a range
of 0.20.5 in. (513 mm) wc. Te residential appliances (range and
dryer) require a pressure of 3.5 in. (89 mm) wc. If the pressure from
the utility company is around 7 in. (178 mm) wc, a higher friction
loss allowance could be used for economy in pipe sizing. If the
pressure from the utility company is 4 in. (102 mm) wc, a 0.2 in. (5
mm) wc is recommended.
A piping layout and the equivalent length of piping A piping
layout is necessary to show the run of the whole piping system and
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 9
all the connected appliances and equipment. Te equivalent length
of piping is calculated by measuring the actual length of proposed
piping from the meter to the furthest connection and then adding
50% of the measured length to fnd the equivalent length. If a very
accurate determination of the equivalent length is necessary, it will
be necessary to count the fttings and valves and then add those to
the measured length. Refer to Table 5 for the equivalent amount of
pipe to be added for various valves and fttings.
It is common practice not to use the vertical length in either
calculation because NG is lighter than air. It expands at the rate of
1 in. (25.4 mm) wc for each 15 ft of elevation as the gas rises. Te
increase in pressure due to the height will ofset any friction loss in
the piping.
Te maximum probable demand is calculated by the engineer
with input from the owner if necessary. Te primary usage of gas is
for cooking and clothes drying at residences, for Bunsen burners
or heating (boilers) in laboratories, or cooling equipment in indus-
trial projects. For residential usage, Figure 3 for large residences
and Figure 4 for smaller projects give a direct reading of the usage
in cfh (m
/hr). Tese direct reading tables give fow rate usage by
using the number of apartments. Figure 5 is a riser diagram of mul-
tiple dwellings that gives the size of gas risers used for cooking and
drying for both single and back-to-back installations. For laborato-
ries, use Table 5 for the diversity factor. For schools, use no diversity
factor for individual classrooms. Use no diversity factor for groups
of classrooms if information of proposed usage is not conclusive
or available from the owner. For industrial usage, a diversity factor
generally is not used because of the possibility that all equipment
may be in use at one time.
For a listing of input requirements for common appliances, refer
to Table 3.
nG pipe sizinG methods
A number of formulas can be used to calculate the capacity of NG
piping based on such variables as delivery pressure, pressure drop
through the piping system, pipe size, pipe material, and length of
piping. Tese formulas are referenced in numerous current model
Table 5 Equivalent Lengths for Various Valve and Fitting Sizes
Pipe Size, in. (mm)
(19.1) 1 (25.4) 1(38.1) 2 (50.8) 2(63.5) 3 (76.2) 4 (101.6) 5 (127) 6 (152.4) 8 (203.2)
Equivalent Lengths, ft (m)
90 elbow
1.00 (0.3) 2.00 (0.61) 2.50 (0.76) 3.00 (0.91) 4.00 (1.22) 5.50 (1.68) 6.50 (1.98) 9.00 (2.74) 12.0 (3.66) 15.0 (4.57)
Tee (run)
0.50 (0.15) 0.75 (0.23) 1.00 (0.3) 1.50 (0.46) 2.00 (0.61) 3.00 (0.91) 3.50 (1.07) 4.50 (1.37) 6.00 (1.83) 7.00 (2.13)
Tee (branch)
2.50 (0.76) 3.50 (1.07) 4.50 (1.37) 5.00 (1.52) 6.00 (1.83) 11.0 (3.35) 13.0 (3.96) 18.0 (5.49) 24.0 (7.32) 30.0 (9.14)
Gas cock (approx.)
4.00 (1.22) 5.00 (1.52) 7.50 (2.29) 9.00 (2.74) 12.0 (3.66) 17.0 (5.18) 20.0 (6.1) 28.0 (8.53) 37.0 (11.28) 46.0 (14.02)
Note: The pressure drop through valves should be taken from manufacturers published data rather than using the equivalent lengths, since the various patterns of gas cocks can vary greatly.
Figure 3 Gas Demand for Multiple-unit Dwellings with More Than 50 Apartments
10 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
codes as well as in NFPA 54. Te most commonly referenced for-
mula for gas pressures under 1 psi (10.3 kPa) is the Spitzglass
formula. Te other commonly referenced equation for pressures of
1 psi (10.3 kPa) and more is the Weymouth formula. Using these
formulas for sizing is a very cumbersome task, so they are rarely, if
ever, used. However, they were used as a basis for the sizing tables
that are included in this chapter and reproduced with permission
from the NFPA. Tese tables are regarded as the most conserva-
tive method for sizing NG pipe. Proprietary tables and calculators
are available from various organizations and are considered more
accurate than those shown here.
Te tables are based on Schedule 40 steel pipe, cfh of gas, and a
specifc gravity of 0.60. Te initial pressures are diferent, and the
friction loss allowable is indicated. Te following tables are pro-
Table 6 pressure less than 2 psi (14 kPa), loss of 0.3 in. (7.5 mm)
Table 7 pressure less than 2 psi (14 kPa), loss of 0.5 in. (12.5 mm)
Table 8 pressure of 5 psi (35 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Table 9 pressure 10 psi (70 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Table 10 pressure 20 psi (140 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Table 11 pressure 50 psi (350 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Note 1 cfh gas = 0.3 m
To determine the size of each section of pipe in a gas supply
system using the gas pipe sizing tables, the following method
should be used:
1. Measure the length of the pipe from the gas meter location
to the most remote outlet on the system. Add a ftting allow-
ance of 50% of the measured length. Tis now gives you the
equivalent length of pipe. For natural gas, the vertical portion
of piping is not considered due to the pressure gained as the
gas rises. Tis very closely approximates the friction loss in the
2. Select the column showing the distance that is equal to or
more than the equivalent length just calculated.
3. Use the vertical column to locate all gas demand fgures for
this particular system. Tis is the only column to use. Start-
ing at the most remote outlet, fnd in the vertical column the
calculated gas demand for that design point. If the exact fgure
is not shown, choose the fgure closest to or more than the
calculated demand.
4. Opposite this demand fgure selected, in the column at the
left, fnd the correct size of pipe.
5. Proceed for each design point and each section of pipe. For
each section of pipe, determine the total gas demand supplied
by that section.
If the gas used for the system has a diferent specifc gravity than
natural gas, obtain that fgure from Table 12 and use this as a multi-
plier for the specifc gas selected.
Figure 5 Gas Riser Pipe Sizing for Multiple Dwellings
Figure 4 Gas Demand for Multiple-unit Dwellings with Less than 50 Apartments
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 11
To convert gas pressure to various designations, refer to Table
Liquefed petroleum gas (LPG) is a refned NG developed mainly
for use beyond the utilities gas mains, but it has proven to be com-
petitive in areas not covered by mains in rural areas. It is chiefy
a blend of propane and butane with traces of other hydrocarbons
remaining from the various production methods. Te exact blend
is controlled by the LPG distributor to match the climatic condi-
tions of the area served. For this reason, the engineer must confrm
the heat value of the supplied gas. Unlike natural gas, 100 percent
propane has a specifc gravity of 1.53 and a rating of 2,500 Btu/cf
(93 MJ/cm
Easy storage for relatively large quantities of energy has led to
widespread acceptance and usage of LPG in all areas previously
served by utilities providing NG to users, including automotive
purposes. In addition, a principal use is for the heating of industrial
projects. It does not take the place of NG but provides an alternative
energy source when the owners want to use a low, interruptible rate
for heating purposes. When used for this purpose, experience has
shown that the mixing with air should produce a gas with the heat-
ing value of 1,500 Btu/cf (a specifc gravity of 1.30) for ease of burn-
ing and ignition. Use Table 12 for the factor to be used for sizing.
LPG storage tanks can be provided by the vendor or the customer
and are subject to the regulations of the U.S. Department of Trans-
portation (DOT) and the local authority, as well as NFPA standards,
Table 6 Pressure less than 2 psi (14 kPa), loss of 0.3 in. (7.5 mm) wc
Pipe Size (in.)
4 1 1
4 1
2 2 2
2 3 4 5 6 8 10 12
Actual ID 0.622 0.824 1.049 1.380 1.610 2.067 2.469 3.068 4.026 5.047 6.065 7.981 10.020 11.938
Length (ft) Capacity in Cubic Feet of Gas per Hour
10 131 273 514 1,060 1,580 3,050 4,860 8,580 17,500 31,700 51,300 105,000 191,000 303,000
20 90 188 353 726 1,090 2,090 3,340 5,900 12,000 21,800 35,300 72,400 132,000 208,000
30 72 151 284 583 873 1,680 2,680 4,740 9,660 17,500 28,300 58,200 106,000 167,000
40 62 129 243 499 747 1,440 2,290 4,050 8,270 15,000 24,200 49,800 90,400 143,000
50 55 114 215 442 662 1,280 2,030 3,590 7,330 13,300 21,500 44,100 80,100 127,000
60 50 104 195 400 600 1,160 1,840 3,260 6,640 12,000 19,500 40,000 72,600 115,000
70 46 95 179 368 552 1,060 1,690 3,000 6,110 11,100 17,900 36,800 66,800 106,000
80 42 89 167 343 514 989 1,580 2,790 5,680 10,300 16,700 34,200 62,100 98,400
90 40 83 157 322 482 928 1,480 2,610 5,330 9,650 15,600 32,100 58,300 92,300
100 38 79 148 304 455 877 1,400 2,470 5,040 9,110 14,800 30,300 55,100 87,200
125 33 70 131 269 403 777 1,240 2,190 4,460 8,080 13,100 26,900 48,800 77,300
150 30 63 119 244 366 704 1,120 1,980 4,050 7,320 11,900 24,300 44,200 70,000
175 28 58 109 224 336 648 1,030 1,820 3,720 6,730 10,900 22,400 40,700 64,400
200 26 54 102 209 313 602 960 1,700 3,460 6,260 10,100 20,800 37,900 59,900
250 23 48 90 185 277 534 851 1,500 3,070 5,550 8,990 18,500 33,500 53,100
300 21 43 82 168 251 484 771 1,360 2,780 5,030 8,150 16,700 30,400 48,100
350 19 40 75 154 231 445 709 1,250 2,560 4,630 7,490 15,400 28,000 44,300
400 18 37 70 143 215 414 660 1,170 2,380 4,310 6,970 14,300 26,000 41,200
450 17 35 66 135 202 389 619 1,090 2,230 4,040 6,540 13,400 24,400 38,600
500 16 33 62 127 191 367 585 1,030 2,110 3,820 6,180 12,700 23,100 36,500
550 15 31 59 121 181 349 556 982 2,000 3,620 5,870 12,100 21,900 34,700
600 14 30 56 115 173 333 530 937 1,910 3,460 5,600 11,500 20,900 33,100
650 14 29 54 110 165 318 508 897 1,830 3,310 5,360 11,000 20,000 31,700
700 13 27 52 106 159 306 488 862 1,760 3,180 5,150 10,600 19,200 30,400
750 13 26 50 102 153 295 470 830 1,690 3,060 4,960 10,200 18,500 29,300
800 12 26 48 99 148 285 454 802 1,640 2,960 4,790 9,840 17,900 28,300
850 12 25 46 95 143 275 439 776 1,580 2,860 4,640 9,530 17,300 27,400
900 11 24 45 93 139 267 426 752 1,530 2,780 4,500 9,240 16,800 26,600
950 11 23 44 90 135 259 413 731 1,490 2,700 4,370 8,970 16,300 25,800
1,000 11 23 43 87 131 252 402 711 1,450 2,620 4,250 8,720 15,800 25,100
1,100 10 21 40 83 124 240 382 675 1,380 2,490 4,030 8,290 15,100 23,800
1,200 NA 20 39 79 119 229 364 644 1,310 2,380 3,850 7,910 14,400 22,700
1,300 NA 20 37 76 114 219 349 617 1,260 2,280 3,680 7,570 13,700 21,800
1,400 NA 19 35 73 109 210 335 592 1,210 2,190 3,540 7,270 13,200 20,900
1,500 NA 18 34 70 105 203 323 571 1,160 2,110 3,410 7,010 12,700 20,100
1,600 NA 18 33 68 102 196 312 551 1,120 2,030 3,290 6,770 12,300 19,500
1,700 NA 17 32 66 98 189 302 533 1,090 1,970 3,190 6,550 11,900 18,800
1,800 NA 16 31 64 95 184 293 517 1,050 1,910 3,090 6,350 11,500 18,300
1,900 NA 16 30 62 93 178 284 502 1,020 1,850 3,000 6,170 11,200 17,700
2,000 NA 16 29 60 90 173 276 488 1,000 1,800 2,920 6,000 10,900 17,200
12 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
so the plumbing designer has little opportunity to design storage
tanks and piping, per se. Normally, the designer starts at the storage
supply outlet, and the piping system is generally in a low pressure
range of 20 psig to 11 in wc.
Te pressure of LPG is set by the supplier or the engineer. If the
piping is to be run on the site, the pressure would be set higher for
economy of pipe sizing, and a regulator would be provided to lower
the pressure to a value that would be compatible with equipment
served. A lower pressure would be used within a building.
Propane gas shall be sized in accordance with. Tables 14 and 15
that have been developed by the NFPA. Table 14 is based on an
outlet pressure of 11 in. wc.(280 mm) that would be suitable for
interior piping. Table 15 is based on a higher outlet pressure more
suitable for site mains. Te engineer shall obtain or request the
pressure provided by the supplier and decide upon the pressure
drop in the piping system that would be appropriate. Te AHJ shall
be consulted regarding acceptance of any pressure selected.
Small tanks (for example, those for residential cooking and heat-
ing) are allowed to be located in close proximity to buildings. Large
tanks (e.g., for industrial or multiple building use), however, have
strict requirements governing their locations in relation to build-
ings, public use areas, and property lines. If large leaks occur, the
heavier-than-air gas will hug the ground and form a fog. Te poten-
tial for a hazardous condition could exist. Proper safety precautions
and equipment, as well as good judgment, must be utilized when
Table 7 pressure less than 2 psi (14 kPa), loss of 0.5 in. (12.5 mm) wc
Pipe Size (in.)
4 1 1
4 1
2 2 2
2 3 4 5 6 8 10 12
Actual ID 0.622 0.824 1.049 1.380 1.610 2.067 2.469 3.068 4.026 5.047 6.065 7.981 10.020 11.938
Length (ft) Capacity in Cubic Feet of Gas per Hour
10 172 360 678 1,390 2,090 4,020 6,400 11,300 23,100 41,800 67,600 139,000 252,000 399,000
20 118 247 466 957 1,430 2,760 4,400 7,780 15,900 28,700 46,500 95,500 173,000 275,000
30 95 199 374 768 1150 2,220 3,530 6,250 12,700 23,000 37,300 76,700 139,000 220,000
40 81 170 320 657 985 1,900 3,020 5,350 10,900 19,700 31,900 65,600 119,000 189,000
50 72 151 284 583 873 1,680 2,680 4,740 9,660 17,500 28,300 58,200 106,000 167,000
60 65 137 257 528 791 1,520 2,430 4,290 8,760 15,800 25,600 52,700 95,700 152,000
70 60 126 237 486 728 1,400 2,230 3,950 8,050 14,600 23,600 48,500 88,100 13,900
80 56 117 220 452 677 1300 2,080 3,670 7,490 13,600 22,000 45,100 81,900 130,000
90 52 110 207 424 635 1220 1,950 3,450 7,030 12,700 20,600 42,300 76,900 122,000
100 50 104 195 400 600 1160 1,840 3,260 6,640 12,000 19,500 40,000 72,600 115,000
125 44 92 173 355 532 1020 1,630 2,890 5,890 10,600 17,200 35,400 64,300 102,000
150 40 83 157 322 482 928 1,480 2,610 5,330 9,650 15,600 32,100 58,300 92,300
175 37 77 144 296 443 854 1,360 2,410 4,910 8,880 14,400 29,500 53,600 84,900
200 34 71 134 275 412 794 1270 2,240 4,560 8,260 13,400 27,500 49,900 79,000
250 30 63 119 244 366 704 1120 1,980 4,050 7,320 11,900 24,300 44,200 70,000
300 27 57 108 221 331 638 1020 1,800 3,670 6,630 10,700 22,100 40,100 63,400
350 25 53 99 203 305 587 935 1,650 3,370 6,100 9,880 20,300 36,900 58,400
400 23 49 92 189 283 546 870 1,540 3,140 5,680 9,190 18,900 34,300 54,300
450 22 46 83 177 266 512 816 1,440 2,940 5,330 8,620 17,700 32,200 50,900
500 21 43 82 168 251 484 771 1,360 2,780 5,030 8,150 16,700 30,400 48,100
550 20 41 78 159 239 459 732 1290 2,640 4,780 7,740 15,900 28,900 45,700
600 19 39 74 152 228 438 699 1240 2,520 4,560 7,380 15,200 27,500 43,600
650 18 38 71 145 218 420 669 1180 2,410 4,360 7,070 14,500 26,400 41,800
700 17 36 68 140 209 403 643 1140 2,320 4,190 6,790 14,000 25,300 40,100
750 17 35 66 135 202 389 619 1090 2,230 4,040 6,540 13,400 24,400 38,600
800 16 34 63 130 195 375 598 1060 2,160 3,900 6,320 13,000 23,600 37,300
850 16 33 61 126 189 363 579 1020 2,090 3,780 6,110 12,600 22,800 36,100
900 15 32 59 122 183 352 561 992 2,020 3,660 5,930 12,200 22,100 35,000
950 15 31 58 118 178 342 545 963 1,960 3,550 5,760 11,800 21,500 34,000
1,000 14 30 56 115 173 333 530 937 1,910 3,460 5,600 11,500 20,900 33,100
1,100 14 28 53 109 164 316 503 890 1,810 3,280 5,320 10,900 19,800 31,400
1,200 13 27 51 104 156 301 480 849 1,730 3,130 5,070 10,400 18,900 30,000
1,300 12 26 49 100 150 289 460 813 1,660 3,000 4,860 9,980 18,100 28,700
1,400 12 25 47 96 144 277 442 781 1,590 2,880 4,670 9,590 17,400 27,600
1,500 11 24 45 93 139 267 426 752 1,530 2,780 4,500 9,240 16,800 26,600
1,600 11 23 44 89 134 258 411 727 1,480 2,680 4,340 8,920 16,200 25,600
1,700 11 22 42 86 130 250 398 703 1,430 2,590 4,200 8,630 15,700 24,800
1,800 10 22 41 84 126 242 386 682 1,390 2,520 4,070 8,370 15,200 24,100
1,900 10 21 40 81 122 235 375 662 1,350 2,440 3,960 8,130 14,800 23,400
2,000 NA 20 39 79 119 229 364 644 1,310 2,380 3,850 7,910 14,400 22,700
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 13
Table 8 Pressure of 5 psi (35 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Pipe Size of
Schedule 40
Pipe (in.)
Diameter (in.)
Total Equivalent Length of Pipe (ft)
50 100 150 200 250 300 400 500 1000 1500 2000
1.00 1.049 1,989 1,367 1,098 940 833 755 646 572 393 316 270
1.25 1.380 4,084 2,807 2,254 1,929 1,710 1,549 1,326 1,175 808 649 555
1.50 1.610 6,120 4,206 3,378 2,891 2,562 2,321 1,987 1,761 1,210 972 832
2.00 2.067 11,786 8,101 6,505 5,567 4,934 4,471 3,827 3,391 2,331 1,872 1,602
2.50 2.469 18,785 12,911 10,368 8,874 7,865 7,126 6,099 5,405 3,715 2,983 2,553
3.00 3.068 33,209 22,824 18,329 15,687 13,903 12,597 10,782 9,559 6,568 5,274 4,514
3.50 3.548 48,623 33,418 26,836 22,968 20,356 18,444 15,786 13,991 9,616 7,722 6,609
4.00 4.026 67,736 46,555 37,385 31,997 28,358 25,694 21,991 19,490 13,396 10,757 9,207
5.00 5.047 122,544 84,224 67,635 57,887 51,304 46,485 39,785 35,261 24,235 19,461 16,656
6.00 6.065 198,427 136,378 109,516 93,732 83,073 75,270 64,421 57,095 39,241 31,512 26,970
8.00 7.981 407,692 280,204 225,014 192,583 170,683 154,651 132,361 117,309 80,626 64,745 55,414
10.00 10.020 740,477 508,926 408,686 349,782 310,005 280,887 240,403 213,065 146,438 117,595 100,646
12.00 11.938 1,172,269 805,694 647,001 553,749 490,777 444,680 380,588 337,309 231,830 186,168 159,336
Pressure 5.0 PSI (35 kPa)
Pressure Drop of 10%
Table 10 Pressure 20 psi (140 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Pipe Size of
Schedule 40
Pipe (in.)
Diameter (in.)
Total Equivalent Length of Pipe (ft)
50 100 150 200 250 300 400 500 1000 1500 2000
1.00 1.049 5,674 3,900 3,132 2,680 2,375 2,152 1,842 1,633 1,122 901 771
1.25 1.380 11,649 8,006 6,429 5,503 4,877 4,419 3,782 3,352 2,304 1,850 1,583
1.50 1.610 17,454 11,996 9,633 8,245 7,307 6,621 5,667 5,022 3,452 2,772 2,372
2.00 2.067 33,615 23,103 18,553 15,879 14,073 12,751 10,913 9,672 6,648 5,338 4,569
2.50 2.469 53,577 36,823 29,570 25,308 22,430 20,323 17,394 15,416 10,595 8,509 7,282
3.00 3.068 94,714 65,097 52,275 44,741 39,653 35,928 30,750 27,253 18,731 15,042 12,874
3.50 3.548 138,676 95,311 76,538 65,507 58,058 52,604 45,023 39,903 27,425 22,023 18,849
4.00 4.026 193,187 132,777 106,624 91,257 80,879 73,282 62,720 55,538 38,205 30,680 26,258
5.00 5.047 349,503 240,211 192,898 165,096 146,322 132,578 113,370 100,566 69,118 55,505 47,505
6.00 6.065 565,926 388,958 312,347 267,329 236,928 214,674 183,733 162,840 111,919 89,875 76,921
8.00 7.981 1,162,762 799,160 641,754 549,258 486,797 441,074 377,502 334,573 229,950 184,658 158,043
10.00 10.020 2,111,887 1,451,488 1,165,596 997,600 884,154 801,108 685,645 607,674 417,651 335,388 287,049
12.00 11.938 3,343,383 2,297,888 1,845,285 1,579,326 1,399,727 1,268,254 1,085,462 962,025 661,194 530,962 454,435
Pressure 20.0 PSI (140 kPa)
Pressure Drop of 10%
Table 9 Pressure 10 psi (70 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Pipe Size of
Schedule 40
Pipe (in.)
Total Equivalent Length of Pipe (ft)
50 100 150 200 250 300 400 500 1000 1500 2000
1.00 1.049 3,259 2,240 1,789 1,539 1,364 1,236 1,058 938 644 517 443
1.25 1.380 6,690 4,598 3,692 3,160 2,801 2,538 2,172 1,925 1,323 1,062 909
1.50 1.610 10,024 6,889 5,532 4,735 4,197 3,802 3,254 2,884 1,982 1,592 1,362
2.00 2.067 19,305 13,268 10,655 9,119 8,082 7,323 6,268 5,555 3,818 3,066 2,624
2.50 2.469 30,769 21,148 16,982 14,535 12,882 11,672 9,990 8,854 6,085 4,886 4,182
3.00 3.068 54,395 37,385 30,022 25,695 22,773 20,634 17,660 15,652 10,757 8,638 7,393
3.50 3.548 79,642 54,737 43,956 37,621 33,343 30,211 25,857 22,916 15,750 12,648 10,825
4.00 4.026 110,948 76,254 61,235 52,409 46,449 42,086 36,020 31,924 21,941 17,620 15,080
5.00 5.047 200,720 137,954 110,782 94,815 84,033 76,140 65,166 57,755 39,695 31,876 27,282
6.00 6.065 325,013 223,379 179,382 153,527 136,068 123,288 105,518 93,519 64,275 51,615 44,176
8.00 7.981 667,777 458,959 368,561 315,440 279,569 253,310 216,800 192,146 132,061 106,050 90,765
10.00 10.020 1,212,861 833,593 669,404 572,924 507,772 460,078 393,767 348,988 239,858 192,614 164,853
12.00 11.938 1,920,112 1,319,682 1,059,751 907,010 803,866 728,361 623,383 552,493 379,725 304,933 260,983
Pressure 10.0 PSI (70 kPa)
Pressure Drop of 10%
14 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
locating large LPG storage tanks. Te lines also have
to be purged of air prior to the startup of the facil-
Btu Abbreviation for British thermal unit, the
quantity of heat required to raise the temperature
of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Boiling point Te temperature of a liquid at
which the internal vapor pressure is equal to the
external pressure exerted on the surface of the
Burner A device for the fnal conveyance of gas,
or a mixture of gas and air, to the combustion zone.
Butane (C
) A saturated aliphatic hydrocar-
bon existing in two isomeric forms and used as a
fuel and a chemical intermediate.
Caloric value See heating value.
Chimney A vertical shaft enclosing one or more
fues for conveying fue gases to the outside atmo-
Condensate Te liquid that separates from a gas
(including fue gas) due to a reduction in tempera-
Cubic foot (meter) of gas Te amount of gas that
would occupy 1 cubic foot (cubic meter) when at a
temperature of 60F (15.6C), saturated with water
vapor, and under a pressure equivalent to that of 30
in. of mercury (101.3 kPa).
Demand Te maximum amount of gas per unit
time, usually expressed in cubic feet per hour (liters
per minute) or Btu (watts) per hour, required for the
operation of the appliance(s) supplied.
Dilution air Air that enters a draft hood or draft
regulator and mixes with the fue gases.
Diversity factor Te ratio of the maximum prob-
able demand to the maximum possible demand.
Draft hood A device built into an appliance, or
made a part of the vent connector from an appli-
ance, that is designed to:
Table 11 Pressure 50 psi (350 kPa), loss of 10 percent
Pipe Size of
Schedule 40
Pipe (in.)
Total Equivalent Length of Pipe (ft)
50 100 150 200 250 300 400 500 1000 1500 2000
1.00 1.049 12,993 8,930 7,171 6,138 5,440 4,929 4,218 3,739 2,570 2,063 1,766
1.25 1.380 26,676 18,335 14,723 12,601 11,168 10,119 8,661 7,676 5,276 4,236 3,626
1.50 1.610 39,970 27,471 22,060 18,881 16,733 15,162 12,976 11,501 7,904 6,348 5,433
2.00 2.067 76,977 52,906 42,485 36,362 32,227 29,200 24,991 22,149 15,223 12,225 10,463
2.50 2.469 122,690 84,324 67,715 57,955 51,365 46,540 39,832 35,303 24,263 19,484 16,676
3.00 3.068 216,893 149,070 119,708 102,455 90,804 82,275 70,417 62,409 42,893 34,445 29,480
3.50 3.548 317,564 218,260 175,271 150,009 132,950 120,463 103,100 91,376 62,802 50,432 43,164
4.00 4.026 442,393 304,054 244,166 208,975 185,211 167,814 143,627 127,294 87,489 70,256 60,130
5.00 5.047 800,352 550,077 441,732 378,065 335,072 303,600 259,842 230,293 158,279 127,104 108,784
6.00 6.065 1,295,955 890,703 715,266 612,175 542,559 491,598 420,744 372,898 256,291 205,810 176,147
8.00 7.981 2,662,693 1,830,054 1,469,598 1,257,785 1,114,752 1,010,046 864,469 766,163 526,579 422,862 361,915
10.00 10.020 4,836,161 3,323,866 2,669,182 2,284,474 2,024,687 1,834,514 1,570,106 1,391,556 956,409 768,030 657,334
12.00 11.938 7,656,252 5,262,099 4,225,651 3,616,611 3,205,335 2,904,266 2,485,676 2,203,009 1,514,115 1,215,888 1,040,643
Table 12 Specifc Gravity Multipliers
0.35 1.310 0.75 0.895 1.40 0.655
0.40 1.230 0.80 0.867 1.50 0.633
0.45 1.160 0.85 0.841 1.60 0.612
0.50 1.100 0.90 0.817 1.70 0.594
0.55 1.040 1.00 0.775 1.80 0.577
0.60 1.000 1.10 0.740 1.90 0.565
0.65 0.962 1.20 0.707 2.00 0.547
0.70 0.926 1.30 0.680 2.10 0.535
Table 13 Conversion of Gas Prcssurc to Various Designations
Pressure per
square inch
Pressure per
square inch
kP Water Mercury Pounds Ounces Water Mercury Pounds Ounces
0.002 0.01 0.007 0.0036 0.0577 8.0 0.588 0.289 4.62 2.0
0.05 0.20 0.015 0.0072 0.115 9.0 0.662 0.325 5.20 2.2
0.07 0.30 0.022 0.0108 0.173
0.10 0.40 0.029 0.0145 0.231 10.0 0.74 0.361 5.77 2.5
11.0 0.81 0.397 6.34 2.7
0.12 0.50 0.037 0.0181 0.239 12.0 0.88 0.433 3.0
0.15 0.60 0.044 0.0217 0.346 13.0 0.96 0.469 7.50 3.2
0.17 0.70 0.051 0.0253 0.404
0.19 0.80 0.059 0.0289 0.462 13.6 1.00 0.491 7.86 3.37
0.22 0.90 0.066 0.0325 0.520 13.9 1.02 0.500 8.00 3.4
14.0 1.06 0.505 8.08 3.5
0.25 1.00 0.074 0.036 0.577
0.3 1.36 0.100 0.049 0.785 15.0 1.10 0.542 8.7 3.7
0.4 1.74 0.128 0.067 1.00 16.0 1.18 0.578 9.2 4.0
0.5 2.00 0.147 0.072 1.15 17.0 1.25 0.614 9.8 4.2
0.72 2.77 0.203 0.100 1.60 18.0 1.33 0.650 10.4 4.5
0.76 3.00 0.221 0.109 1.73 19.0 1.40 0.686 10.9 4.7
1.0 4.00 0.294 0.144 2.31
20.0 1.47 0.722 11.5 5.0
1.2 5.0 0.368 0.181 2.89 0.903 14.4 6.2
1.5 6.0 0.442 0.217 3.46 25.0 1.84 0.975 15.7 6.7
1.7 7.0 0.515 0.253 4.04 27.2 2.00 1.00 16.0 6.9
27.7 2.03
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 15
1. Provide for the ready escape of the fue gases from the
appliance in the event of no draft, backdraft, or stoppage
beyond the draft hood.
2. Prevent a backdraft from entering the appliance.
3. Neutralize the efect of stack action of the chimney or gas
vent upon the operation of the appliance.
Excess air Air that passes through the combustion chamber and
the appliance fues in excess of that which is theoretically required
for complete combustion.
Flue gases Te products of combustion plus the excess air in
appliance fues or heat exchangers (before the draft hood or draft
Fuel gas A gaseous compound used as fuel to generate heat. It
may be known variously as utility gas, natural gas, liquefed petero-
leum gas, propane, butane, methane, or a combination of the above.
It has a caloric value that corresponds to the specifc compound or
combination of compounds. Care must be exercised in determin-
ing the caloric value for design purposes.
Gas log An unvented, open-fame-type room heater consisting
of a metal frame or base supporting simulated logs designed for
installation in a freplace.
Gas train A series of devices pertaining to a fuel gas appliance
located on the upstream side of the unit. Typically, it consists of
a combination of devices and may include pipe, fttings, fuel, air-
supervisory switches (e.g., pressure regulators), and safety shutof
Gas-train vent A piped vent to atmosphere from a device on a
gas train.
Gas vents Factory-built vent piping and vent fttings listed by a
nationally recognized testing agency, assembled and used in accor-
dance with the terms of their listings, used for conveying fue gases
to the outside atmosphere.
1. Type B gas vent. A gas vent for venting gas appliances with
draft hoods and other gas appliances listed for use with
type B gas vents.
2. Type B-W gas vent. A gas vent for venting listed gas-fred
vented wall furnaces.
3. Type L vent. A gas vent for venting gas appliances listed
for use with type L vents.
Heating value (total) Te number of British thermal units
produced by the combustion, at constant pressure, of 1 cubic foot
(cubic meter) of gas when the products of combustion are cooled
to the initial temperature of the gas and air; the water vapor formed
during combustion is condensed; and all the necessary corrections
have been applied.
LPG Liquefed petroleum gas, a mixture of propane and
Loads, connected Te sum of the rated Btu input to individual
gas utilization equipment connected to a piping system. May be
expressed in cubic feet (cubic meters) per hour.
Meter set assembly Te piping and fttings installed by the serv-
ing gas supplier to connect the inlet side of the meter to the gas ser-
vice and the outlet side of the meter to the customers building or
yard piping.
Pipe, equivalent length Te resistance of valves, controls, and
fttings to gas fow, expressed as equivalent length of straight pipe.
Pressure drop Te loss in static pressure due to friction or
obstruction during fow through pipe, valves, fttings, regulators,
and burners.
Propane (C
) A gaseous hydrocarbon of the methane series,
found in petroleum.
Regulator, gas pressure A device for controlling and maintain-
ing a uniform gas pressure. Tis pressure is always lower than the
supply pressure at the inlet of the regulator.
Safety shutof device A device that is designed to shut of the
gas supply to the controlled burner(s) or appliance(s) in the event
that the source of ignition fails. Tis device may interrupt the fow of
gas to the main burner(s) only or to the pilot(s) and main burner(s)
under its supervision.
Specifc gravity Te ratio of the weight of a given volume of gas
to that of the same volume of air, both measured under the same
Vent connector Tat portion of the venting system that connects
the gas appliance to the gas vent, chimney, or single-wall metal
Vent gases Te products of combustion from a gas appliance
plus the excess air and the dilution air in the venting system above
the draft hood or draft regulator.
Table 14 100% Propane for Interior Piping
4 1 1
4 1
2 2 2
2 3 4
Actual 0.622 0.824 1.049 1.380 1.610 2.067 2.469 3.068 4.026
Lenth (ft) Capacity in Thousands of Btu per Hour
10 291 608 1,150 2,350 3,520 6,790 10,800 19,100 39,000
20 200 418 787 1,620 2,420 4,660 7,430 13,100 26,800
30 160 336 632 1,300 1,940 3,750 5,970 10,600 21,500
40 137 287 541 1,110 1,660 3,210 5,110 9,030 18,400
50 122 255 480 985 1,480 2,840 4,530 8,000 16,300
60 110 231 434 892 1,340 2,570 4,100 7,250 14,800
80 101 212 400 821 1,230 2,370 3,770 6,670 13,600
100 94 197 372 763 1,140 2,200 3,510 6,210 12,700
125 89 185 349 716 1,070 2,070 3,290 5,820 11,900
150 84 175 330 677 1,010 1,950 3,110 5,500 11,200
175 74 155 292 600 899 1,730 2,760 4,880 9,950
200 67 140 265 543 814 1,570 2,500 4,420 9,010
250 62 129 243 500 749 1,440 2,300 4,060 8,290
300 58 120 227 465 697 1,340 2,140 3,780 7,710
350 51 107 201 412 618 1,190 1,900 3,350 6,840
400 46 97 182 373 560 1,080 1,720 3,040 6,190
450 42 89 167 344 515 991 1,580 2,790 5,700
500 40 83 156 320 479 922 1,470 2,600 5,300
550 37 78 146 300 449 865 1,380 2,440 4,970
600 35 73 138 283 424 817 1,300 2,300 4,700
650 33 70 131 269 403 776 1,240 2,190 4,460
700 32 66 125 257 385 741 1,180 2,090 4,260
750 30 64 120 246 368 709 1,130 2,000 4,080
800 29 61 115 236 354 681 1,090 1,920 3,920
850 28 59 111 227 341 656 1,050 1,850 3,770
900 27 57 107 220 329 634 1,010 1,790 3,640
950 26 55 104 213 319 613 978 1,730 3,530
1,000 25 53 100 206 309 595 948 1,680 3,420
1,100 25 52 97 200 300 578 921 1,630 3,320
1,200 24 50 95 195 292 562 895 1,580 3,230
1,300 23 48 90 185 277 534 850 1,500 3,070
1,400 22 46 86 176 264 509 811 1,430 2,930
1,500 21 44 82 169 253 487 777 1,370 2,800
1,600 20 42 79 162 243 468 746 1,320 2,690
1,700 19 40 76 156 234 451 719 1,270 2,590
1,800 19 39 74 151 226 436 694 1,230 2,500
1,900 18 38 71 146 219 422 672 1,190 2,420
2,000 18 37 69 142 212 409 652 1,150 2,350
100% Propane, Pressure 11 in wc, Pressure Drop 0.5 in wc
16 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
1. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Condition-
ing Engineers. Handbooks. Fundamentals and Equipment
Vols. Latest ed. New York.
2. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Fuel gas
piping. ASME B31.2.
3. Ingersoll-Rand Company. 1969. Compressed air and gas data.
New York.
4. International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Ofcials
(IAPMO) Code.
5. n.a. 1994. Mechanical engineering reference manual. 9th ed.
Professional Publications.
6. Mohinder Nayer ed, . 1998. Piping handbook. New York:
7. National Fire Protection Association. Cutting and welding pro-
cesses. NFPA 51B. Boston, Mass.
8. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). LP-gases at utility
gas plants. NFPA 59. Boston Mass.
9. National Fire Protection Association. National fuel gas code.
NFPA 54. Boston, Mass.
10. National Fire Protection Association. Oxygen-fuel gas
systems for weldings and cuttings. NFPA 51. Boston.
11. National Fire Protection Association. Powered indus-
trial trucks. NFPA 505. Boston.
12. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manual.
13. Frankel, M., Facility Piping Systems Handbook, 2002,
McGraw Hill, New York City
Te material reproduced from the NFPA is not the of-
cial and complete position of the NFPA on the referenced
subject which is presented only by the standard in its
Table 15 100% Propane for Site Mains
4 1 1
4 1
2 2 2
2 3 4
Actual 0.622 0.824 1.049 1.380 1.610 2.067 2.469 3.068 4.026
Lenth (ft) Capacity in Thousands of Btu per Hour
10 5,890 12,300 23,200 47,600 71,300 137,000 219,000 387,000 789,000
20 4,050 8,460 15,900 32,700 49,000 94,400 150,000 266,000 543,000
30 3,250 6,790 12,800 26,300 39,400 75,800 121,000 214,000 436,000
40 2,780 5,810 11,000 22,500 33,700 64,900 103,000 183,000 373,000
50 2,460 5,150 9,710 19,900 29,900 57,500 91,600 162,000 330,000
60 2,230 4,670 8,790 18,100 27,100 52,100 83,000 147,000 299,000
70 2,050 4,300 8,090 16,600 24,900 47,900 76,400 135,000 275,000
80 1,910 4,000 7,530 15,500 23,200 44,600 71,100 126,000 256,000
90 1,790 3,750 7,060 14,500 21,700 41,800 66,700 118,000 240,000
100 1,690 3,540 6,670 13,700 20,500 39,500 63,000 111,000 227,000
125 1,500 3,140 5,910 12,100 18,200 35,000 55,800 98,700 201,000
150 1,360 2,840 5,360 11,000 16,500 31,700 50,600 89,400 182,000
175 1,250 2.620 4,930 10,100 15,200 29,200 46,500 82,300 167,800
200 1,160 2,430 4,580 9,410 14,100 27,200 43,300 76,500 156,100
250 1,030 2,160 4,060 8,340 12,500 24,100 38,400 67,800 138,400
300 935 1,950 3,680 7,560 11,300 21,800 34,800 61,500 125,400
350 860 1,800 3,390 6,950 10,400 20,100 32,000 56,500 115,300
400 800 1,670 3,150 6,470 9,690 18,700 29,800 52,600 107,300
450 751 1,570 2,960 6,070 9,090 17,500 27,900 49,400 100,700
500 709 1,480 2,790 5,730 8,590 16,500 26,400 46,600 95,100
550 673 1,410 2,650 5,450 8,160 15,700 25,000 44,300 90,300
600 642 1,340 2,530 5,200 7,780 15,000 23,900 42,200 86,200
650 615 1,290 2,420 4,980 7,450 14,400 22,900 40,500 82,500
700 591 1,240 2,330 4,780 7,160 13,800 22,000 38,900 79,300
750 569 1,190 2,240 4,600 6,900 13,300 21,200 37,400 76,400
800 550 1,50 2,170 4,450 6,660 12,800 20,500 36,200 73,700
850 532 1,110 2,100 4,300 6,450 12,400 19,800 35,000 71,400
900 516 1,080 2,030 4,170 6,250 12,000 19,200 33,900 69,200
950 501 1,050 1,970 4,050 6,070 11,700 18,600 32,900 67,200
1,000 487 1,020 1,920 3,940 5,900 11,400 18,100 32,000 65,400
1,100 463 968 1,820 3,740 5,610 10,800 17,200 30,400 62,100
1,200 442 923 1,740 3,570 5,350 10,300 16,400 29,000 59,200
1,300 423 884 1,670 3,420 5,120 9,870 15,700 27,800 56,700
1,400 406 849 1,600 3,280 4,920 9,480 15,100 26,700 54,500
1,500 391 818 1,540 3,160 4,740 9,130 14,600 25,700 52,500
1,600 378 790 1,490 3,060 4,580 8,820 14,100 24,800 50,700
1,700 366 765 1,440 2,960 4,430 8,530 13,600 24,000 49,000
1,800 355 741 1,400 2,870 4,300 8,270 13,200 23,300 47,600
1,900 344 720 1,360 2,780 4,170 8,040 12,800 22,600 46,200
2,000 335 700 1,320 2,710 4,060 7,820 12,500 22,000 44,900
100% Propane
Pressure 10 PSI (70 kPa)
Pressure Loss 3.0 PSI (21 kPa)
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 17
about this issues article
the January/february 2008 continuing education article is
fuel Gas piping systems, chapter 7 of Plumbing Engineering
Design Handbook, Volume 2: Plumbing Systems.
this chapter describes fuel gas systems on consumer sites
from the property line to the fnal connection with the most
remote gas appliance or piece of equip ment. the system is
intended to provide sufcient pressure and volume for all uses.
since natural gas (nG) is a nonrenewable energy resource, the
engineer should design for its efcient use. the direct utilization
of nG is preferable to the use of electrical energy when electric-
ity is obtained from the combustion of gas or oil. however, in
many areas, the gas supplier and/or governmental agencies
may impose regulations that restrict the use of natural gas.
you may locate this article at read
the article, complete the following exam, and submit your an-
swer sheet to the aspe ofce to potentially receive 0.1 ceu.

continuing education from Plumbing Systems & Design
diane m. wingard, cpd
ce Questionsfuel Gas piping systems (psd 144)
1. The maximum allowable operating pressure for NG
piping inside a building is ______.
a. 0.5 psig
b. determined by the authority having jurisdiction
c. 5.0 psig
d. no limit
2. Which of the following is true when installing a
pressure regulator?
a. if located indoors, a relief vent may be required.
b. it is provided to reduce the pressure of the incoming
service to a safe operating pressure at the appliance.
c. it normally is located outside before the meter.
d. all of the above are true.
3. NG systems should be designed with an allowable
pressure drop of ______.
a. 0.20.5 inch w.c.
b. 5.0 inches w.c.
c. 10 psi
d. none of the above
4. Which of the following is an acceptable material for
fuel gas piping?
a. black steel
b. type l copper
c. corrugated stainless steel tubing
d. all of the above
5. LP gas can be stored in tanks at a pressure of ______.
a. 300 psi, b. 150 psi, c. 250 psi, d. 1,000 psi
6. Which of the following is true for a fuel gas system?
a. the fow rate of an appliance is equal to the
consumption divided by 1,000.
b. natural gas is stored on site in large tanks.
c. Gas systems always should be vented.
d. Gas that is vented through regulators can always
discharge into occupied space.
7. LPG ______.
a. needs to be alarmed when installed in crawl spaces
b. is heavier than air
c. vents shall be terminated a minimum of 3 feet
horizontally from an opening
d. slope on grade at the site
8. The purpose of a gas booster is ______.
a. to increase the volumetric supply
b. to increase the pressure
c. to maintain the pressure delivered by the supplier
d. none of the above
9. When providing a booster, ______.
a. it is important to provide a regulator to protect the
appliances from high pressure during times of low
b. the equipment needs to be shut down during low
demand periods
c. it needs to be located outside of the building
d. it is sized and provided by the gas supplier
10. Which of the following is required to size a system?
a. allowable friction loss
b. pipe layout
c. probable demand
d. all of the above
11. Which standard is referenced for fuel gas systems?
a. nfpa 99
b. nfpa 101
c. nfpa 54
d. nfpa 13
12. Large LPG tanks must be located ______.
a. away from the building in case of leaks
b. near the appliances being served
c. inside the building in a fre-rated enclosure
d. underground
Do you fnd it difcult to obtain continuing education units (CEUs)?
Trough this special section in every issue of PS&D, ASPE can help
you accumulate the CEUs required for maintaining your Certifed in
Plumbing Design (CPD) status.
now online!
Te technical article you must read to complete the exam is located at Just click on Plumbing Systems & Design Con-
tinuing Education Article and Exam at the top of the page. Te follow-
ing exam and application form also may be downloaded from the
website. Reading the article and completing the form will allow you to
apply to ASPE for CEU credit. If you earn a grade of 90 percent or high-
er on the test, you will be notifed that you have logged 0.1 CEU, which
can be applied toward CPD renewal or numerous regulatory-agency
CE programs. (Please note that it is your responsibility to determine
the acceptance policy of a particular agency.) CEU information will be
kept on fle at the ASPE ofce for three years.
Note: In determining your answers to the CE questions, use only the material
presented in the corresponding continuing education article. Using information
from other materials may result in a wrong answer.
18 Plumbing Systems & Design JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG

continuing education from Plumbing Systems & Design
Sanitary Drainage anD Vent SyStemS
Te design of the domestic sanitary-drainage and vent systems are
standard plumbing systems, with efuent discharging directly into
the public sanitary sewer. All plumbing fxtures and equipment
and all sanitary-drainage piping shall be designed and installed
in strict conformance with the applicable plumbing code for the
project location. In terms of the design of these systems, there is
nothing unique to pharmaceutical facilities that is not applicable
to conventional plumbing systems.
It is good practice to have the sanitary house sewer and the dis-
charge from an acid-neutralizing basin run separately outside
the building then combine to dilute the neutralized acid efuent
as much as possible prior to its discharge into a public sanitary
Special plumbing-Fixture requirementS
One unique requirement of pharmaceutical clean rooms is a
hand-washing sink in the gowning area at the entrance to the
clean room. To be efective, the sink water-supply controls shall
be capable of being operated without having hands touch them.
Current practice uses proximity devices to turn the water on when
hands are placed under the spout.
Laboratory Drainage anD Vent SyStemS
A laboratory is generally considered to be any room or area
within a building where investigation, testing, experiments, and/
or research is conducted. Pharmaceutical facilities generally pre-
pare, manufacture, and package drugs and devices of all kinds.
Manufacturing is generally considered to be any facility where
a product is the end result of having material or components
packaged or assembled from parts obtained elsewhere or made
within the facility.
Te purpose of the drainage system installed in a typical chemis-
try or physics laboratory is to collect and transport liquid wastes
from the laboratory fxtures and equipment for discharge into a
facility chemical-waste treatment system for appropriate treat-
ment and disposal or into the acid-waste treatment system for
neutralization and eventual discharge into the public sanitary
sewer. Te acid vent system equalizes fow in the drainage system
and maintains constant atmospheric pressure in the same man-
ner as the sanitary drainage vent system does.
Laboratory waste consists primarily of dilute and concentrated
mixtures of liquid chemical substances of mineral and organic
origin and water. Acids of many types are usually present. Labo-
ratory waste is discharged from sinks, cup sinks, fume hoods,
and other similar fxtures and equipment. Discharge from foor
drains, autoclaves, and glass washers, and condensed water from
various sources are also included. Except for exotic discharges,
laboratory waste is assumed to have the viscosity of water. Te
drainage piping is sized based on that assumption.
Te above defnition of a laboratory and the classifcation of
so-called typical laboratory waste is meant to be used only for
this manual to distinguish this type of efuent from that of other
waste-drainage systems.
pH deFinition
Any dissolved impurity in water separates to form negative and
positive charged atoms called ions. Negative ions are called
cations because they migrate to the cathode and positive ions
are called anions because they migrate to the anode.
All acid compounds consist of hydrogen combined with an acid
radical. In a mix ture of acid and water, hydrogen ions result. pH is
a measure ment of the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution.
Since the balance of hydroxyl (cation) and hydrogen (anion) ions
must be constant, changes in one ion concentration produce cor-
responding changes in the other. Te pH value is calculated from
the logarithmic reciprocal of the hydrogen-ion concentration in
water. Te pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being acid, 14 be-
ing al kaline, and 7.0 being neutral. A change of 1 unit represents
a tenfold increase (or decrease) in strength. pH is not a measure
of alkalinity.
Selection oF piping and Joint material
Te majority of the efuent from an average laboratory consists
primarily of a mixture of water and acid. Te chemicals used, if
toxic to the staf, are confned to fume hoods. Information regard-
ing the extent and concentration of all the chemicals expected
to be used in the laboratory should be obtained from the end
user. At one time or another, these chemicals will fnd their way
into the drain pipe. Te piping system and jointing method must
resist them all.
An often-used material for piping above the foor drainage and
vent piping from laboratory fxtures is fre-retardant polypropyl-
ene (PP), with either heat-fused socket or proprietary screwed-
mechanical type joints. Other acceptable materials are glass with
compression-sleeve joints and high-silicon cast-iron with caulked
or compression-gasket joints. Although Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
and Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) pipe have the lowest
initial cost, they also have a limited range of chemical compat-
ibility, with PVC having a low temperature rating. Polyvinylidene
Flouride (PYDF) pipe had higher chemical resistancy and tem-
perature ratings than PP, PVC or CPVC pipe but also has higher
costs. Polytetrafuoroethylene (PTFE) is the most resistant to the
widest variety of chemicals, has the highest temperature rating,
and has the highest cost.
Piping underground could also be polypropylene with heat-fused
socket joints or high-silicon cast iron with compression-gasket
joints. Glass piping should be encased in a continuous sleeve of
polyethylene for protection.
Vent pipe shall be the same material as the drain pipe. Te vent
shall be carried up to above the roof level. Vent piping penetrating
Drainage Systems
Reprinted from Pharmaceutical Facilities Handbook, Chapter 2: Drainage Systems by Michael Frankel, CPD.
American Society of Plumbing Engineers , 2005.
2 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
ContinUing eDUCation
the roof shall not be glass. An adapter can be used and any other
acceptable acid-resistant pipe material can be provided through
the roof penetration.
SyStem deSign conSiderationS
Te same general system design considerations apply to the labo-
ratory drainage system as apply to the sanitary drainage system,
including placement of cleanouts. Each fxture shall be individu-
ally trapped and vented. Clean water, such as is discharged from
air compressors and other condensate drains, could also spill
into the laboratory drainage system when convenient. Because
of possible stoppages that could food all the pipe, the entire
laboratory waste system shall be the of the same acid-resistant
piping material.
Where the only waste discharge is from laboratory fxtures, the
use of fxture unit schedules for pipe sizing is acceptable, except
that simultaneous use should be factored into the sizing process.
When the efuent is from a discharge whose fow is known (in
gpm), base the size on that gpm and the equivalent gpm from
the fxtures. Te pipe shall be sized using the actual pitch and a
half-full pipe. Table 1 gives the capacity of horizontal drainage
piping fowing half full at various slopes. Table 2 gives the capac-
ity of vertical stacks.
Te laboratory drainage and vent system shall be
separate from all other systems. Te acid drainage
shall be adequately treated and run separately out-
side the building, then combined on the site with the
sanitary waste line.
laboratory acid-WaSte treatment
All acid waste requires neutralization to a pH of be-
tween 7.5 and 4.0 before it is permitted to discharge
into any public sewer for disposal. Commonly ac-
cepted practice permits local authorities to allow
primary treated efuent to discharge directly into the
public sanitary sewer system after only pH treatment. Te most
often-used primary procedures are direct, continuous contact
with limestone chips in an acid-neutralizing basin or continu-
ous or batch treatment in an automated neutralization system
utilizing chemical-feed neutralizing.
An acid-neutralizing basin operates on the principle of a chemical
reaction between the acid and the limestone chips. Each basin
shall be designed by the manufacturer to allow sufcient contact
time for the chemical reaction to accomplish complete neutral-
ization based on the maximum fow rate anticipated. Actual tests
have shown that 100 lb. of limestone chips treat 97 lb. of sulfuric
acid and 75 lb. of hydrochloric acid. Efuent consisting mostly of
sulfuric acid should be treated with dolomite limestone chips.
For general laboratory waste, several devices for treatment using
limestone chips are available. For single, isolated sinks, an acid-
neutralizing trap should be considered. For a small number of
sinks in a cluster, a shelf-mounted, small-diameter basin could be
used. It should be limited to the treatment of acids from a small
number of fxtures and used only in remote locations. A larger
basin, such as that illustrated in Figure 1, is available to treat the
efuent from a large number of laboratory sinks. If the discharge
of oil or grease is expected in the laboratory waste stream, the
installation of an interceptor basin before the
acid sump is recommended. Some objection-
able contaminants can coat individual chips and
prevent the proper chemical action required to
neutralize the acid.
For a larger number of fxtures or equipment
and where treatment by limestone chips alone
is not practical, a system consisting of single or
multiple basins and/or a mixing tank should be
installed. If the system is located at a low level,
a pump will be required to discharge up to the
level of the sewer. A sophisticated arrangement
of probes, chemical feed pumps, level indicators,
and alarms will be required. An agitator or mixer
may be installed in the basin to mix the acid with
the caustic. Te addition of a recorder may be
desired. Te acid-neutralizing system operates
on the principle of automatically adding proper
amounts of caustic to the incoming acid waste,
thereby neutralizing the acid. Te probe is con-
nected to an automatic caustic feed pump that
introduces the proper amount of neutralizing
liquid into the basin or mixing tank. Te most
Table 2 Drainage Capacity of Stacks
Pipe diameter, in. 1 1 2 2 3 4 5 6 8
Capacity, gpm 6.5 10.5 22.6 41 67.2 143 261 423 915
Table 1 Capacity of Horizontal Drainage Piping Flowing Half Full
of Pipe,
16 in./ft Slope
8 in./ft Slope in./ft Slope in./ft Slope
1 3.40 1.78
1 3.91 1.42 5.53 2.01
2 8.42 1.72 11.9 2.43
2 10.8 1.41 15.3 1.99 21.6 2.82
3 17.6 1.59 24.8 2.25 35.1 3.19
4 26.70 1.36 37.8 1.93 53.4 2.73 75.5 3.86
5 48.3 1.58 68.3 2.23 96.6 3.16 137.0 4.47
6 78.5 1.78 111.0 2.52 157.0 3.57 222.0 5.04
8 170.0 2.17 240.0 3.07 340.0 4.34 480.0 6.13
10 308.0 2.52 436.0 3.56 616.0 5.04 872.0 7.12
12 500.0 2.83 707.0 4.01 999.0 5.67 1413.0 8.02
computed from the Manning Formula for -full pipe, n = 0.015. For -full pipe, multiply discharge by 0.274; multiply velocity by
0.701. For -full pipe, multiply discharge by 1.82; multiply velocity by 1.13. For full pipe, multiply discharge by 2.00; multiply velocity
by 1.00. For smoother pipe, multiply discharge and velocity by 0.015 and divide by n value of smoother pipe.
Figure 1 Large Acid-Neutralizing Basin
JULY/AUGUST 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 3
commonly used neutralizing chemical is caustic soda. Continu-
ous treatment may also require additional downstream sensing
probes and chemical additive locations to ensure that the dis-
charge is within acceptable limits. Figure 2 illustrates a typical
continuous waste-treatment system. Various manufacturers have
numerous proven and successful methods of acid treatment.
It is good engineering practice to have the discharge from the
neutralizer routed separately into the sanitary house drain out-
side a building for dilution prior to its ultimate discharge into the
public sewer. Tis may also be necessary for local authorities to
monitor the waste stream without entering a building.
For a preliminary determination of the number of sinks required
for an average laboratory, allow 1 sink for each 200 ft2 of labora-
tory area. Each sink will discharge 1 gpm. Cup sinks will discharge
0.5 gpm. For a maximum fow rate, assume that 50% of the sinks
could discharge simultaneously.
aCiD-WaSte Drainage
Acid waste from pharmaceutical facilities consists of accidental
spills originating from tanks and piping and anticipated waste
from equipment discharging into drains. Very often, the drainage
piping has to carry any of the acids used as part of the process.
Where spills are directed into holding tanks, the drainage piping,
tanks, pumps, and piping necessary to convey the efuent to
treatment facilities is normally part of the plumbing engineers
Te most important considerations in the selection of piping,
valves, and tanks for acid are the concentration and temperature
of the acid. Acid waste water from chemical and other facilities
must be neutralized to a pH of 4.0 or higher prior to discharge
into the sanitary system.
HealtH and SaFety concernS
All grades and concentrations of acids
can cause severe damage to the eyes
and tissues of the body. Contact with
the skin will cause irritation and burns.
Contact with the eyes could cause blind-
ness. Inhalation of the mist or vapors
could cause lung irritation or burns.
Ingestion will destroy the tissue of the
mouth, throat, and stomach. Extreme
care should be exercised in the handling
and cleanup of all acids.
Tis mandates that emergency drench
equipment be provided immediately ad-
jacent to all hazards and locations where
spills and other accidents could occur. If
several people are normally present at
a hazardous location, multiple drench
equipment should be provided. Where
fumes may be given off, emergency
breathing apparatus shall be provided.
For the laboratory environment, emer-
gency showers shall be provided im-
mediately outside every room. Where
rooms are adjacent, a single shower is
accepted. Floor drains are not required but will prevent the foor
surrounding the shower from becoming wet and a hazard to help-
ing individuals. Every room shall have an emergency eyewash
inside the room, usually mounted on a sink or free standing if
sink mounting is not practical.
Where vapor is possible, fog nozzles using water to suppress the
vapor and foam systems to prevent vapor from rising should be
common acidS
Acids are widely used in the pharmaceutical-processing industry.
Te acid most often used is sulfuric acid (H
). Sulfuric acid is
commercially available in many concentrations and as various
percentages of oleum. Oleum is sulfuric acid containing sulfur
trioxide dissolved in the acid; these grades are called fuming
Selection oF equipment, piping, and Joint materialS
Generally recommended piping materials for these acids at low
temperatures (140F and lower) and up to 90% concentration are
PVC, CPVC, PP, Polyvinylidene Flouride (PVDF), Ethylenetetra-
fuoroethylene (ETFE) and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
plastic, glass, alloy 20, duriron and Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP)
piping with special resins. At 90% and higher concentration,
carbon steel schedule 80 is often used. Stainless steel is generally
unsuitable, except for olium greater than 103% concentration.
Vent lines should be of the same material as the drain line.
Valve types include ball, gate, and diaphragm, with gate valves
being the most commonly used. For low pressure and tempera-
tures suitable for specifc plastic pipe, plastic is often used. For
higher temperatures and pressures, alloy 20 is preferred. In all
cases, because of diferences in manufacturing, pipe vendors
should be consulted as to the suitability of materials for specifc
acid piping service.
Figure 2 Continuous Acid-Neutralizing System
Note: Variations of this setup are available, including one large tank with three compartments instead of three separate tanks.
4 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
ContinUing eDUCation: Drainage Systems
Centrifugal pumps constructed of SS alloy 320 with Tefon pack-
ing are in common use. Other manufacturers use FRP and plastic
pumps. Also available are metallic pumps lined with plastic or
glass. Temperature limits should be carefully checked for mate-
rial suitability.
accident conSiderationS
Spills of concentrated acids from tanks onto foors and equipment
should be immediately washed of and fooded with water, which
is then routed to the acid drainage system for neutralization.
Tanks that contain this spillage should be of a suitable plastic.
Since water reacts rapidly with the acid and splatters, caution
should be exercised. Heat and fumes are also given of. Breathing
the fumes will cause throat and lung injury. Where this situation
is possible, suitable emergency breathing apparatus should be
provided. An emergency shower should be provided in the im-
mediate vicinity of acid storage and pipe routing.
Sulfuric acid is nonfammable but highly reactive. Below a con-
centration of 75% it reacts with carbon steel and other metals to
form hydrogen. It is particularly hazardous when in contact with
carbides, chlorates, nitrates, fulminates, picrates, and powdered
metals. In higher concentrations it will ignite combustible ma-
terials such as oily rags and sawdust. Dry chemicals or carbon
dioxide are the fre-suppression methods of choice.
Oleum spills, because of the danger of fumes, should be contained
by curbs and the liquid diverted away from the area of a spill to
a containment area where the liquid will be neutralized. Te
resulting liquid should be absorbed with diatomaceous earth,
expanded clay, or another nonreactive material. Tis material
should be carted away for suitable disposal.
raDioaCtiVe-WaSte Drainage anD Vent SyStemS
Radioactive materials are used for various types of procedures.
When pharmaceutical facilities use them, they generate low
quantities of radioactive waste and use materials with low levels of
radioactivity. Terefore, a less stringent set of regulatory require-
ments is necessary compared to those for facilities discharging or
producing large quantities of radioactive wastes. Te principles
of drainage-system design apply to all kinds of systems, though
some may have signifcantly higher levels of radiation than most.
Te design philosophy is the same, but the documentation that
must be submitted for the protection of the public and workers
in the event of any accident is considerably more complex for
facilities having higher quantities of radioactive material and
levels of radiation. Because of the small amount of radioactive
material present at pharmaceutical facilities, larger storage and
treatment systems are not provided and severe safety require-
ments are not necessary.
With the exception of providing radiation shielding where neces-
sary, the requirements for the use of radioisotopes in laboratories
are essentially no diferent than the requirements for other labora-
tories handling toxic chemicals or pathogens. Te ideal objective
is to keep the exposure of workers, staf, and the general public to
zero. Since this is not realistic, it is required not only to prevent
overexposure but to keep any exposure to radiation as low as is
reasonably achievable. Te design shall implement criteria that
will eliminate or reduce to allowable levels the radiation exposure
of workers and maintenance personnel and prevent exposure
of the general public to unacceptable amounts of radiation by
waterborne radioactive waste (radwaste).
tHe nature oF radiation
Radioactivity is the spontaneous emission of harmful par-
ticles from the unstable nucleus of an atom changing its atomic
structure and creating a new element. Tere are many interme-
diate steps in the stabilization cycle that include the formation
of other less complex radioactive byproducts called isotopes.
Tese byproducts in turn decay to form other unstable isotopes
as the cycle continues. Te end result is an element that is highly
stable. As an example, the end product of uranium is lead. One
of the intermediate byproducts of uranium is radon.
Radiation is a general term that means any or all of the fol-
lowing: alpha rays, beta rays, gamma rays, neutrons, x-rays, and
other atomic particles. Tere are three general classifcations
of radiation of concern, namely alpha, beta and gamma. Alpha
radiation is actually a helium atom with a high velocity. Beta
radiation is an electron with a high velocity. Gamma radiation
is a particle similar to a photon, which is light. Alpha and beta
radiation can generally be stopped by the skin or clothing, paper,
or another similar light material. Alpha loses energy very quickly
in air and is no practical concern for distances greater than 12 in.
High-energy beta radiation is commonly contained by only 1 in.
of solid, dense plastic. Beta is denser, carries more energy greater
distances than Alpha, and will burn bare skin and in particular,
damage the eye, but will generally not penetrate into the body to
cause any internal damage. Te greatest danger with beta radia-
tion is to the eyes, particularly when the eye is directly exposed
close to the source.
Gamma radiation is electromagnetic in nature. It carries the most
energy and therefore is the most dangerous to humans. Its wave-
length is shorter than light waves. When generated, it is similar
to x-rays and behaves in a manner similar to light waves. When
released from a source, gamma rays have a mass and velocity that
has a measurable energy potential.
radiation meaSurement
Radioactivity is a general term used for the total release of radia-
tion of all types from a source. Its is measured in disintegrations
per second (dps). Tis measurement is possible for gamma radia-
tion because in most radioactive materials, dps also produces a
known amount of gamma radiation. However, the best manner
of measuring gamma radiation is from the energy it produces per
kilogram of air. Because the instruments needed to measure ra-
diation this way are very expensive, this method is not widely used
outside the laboratory. Te so-called Geiger-Mueller counter is
the most common method of measuring radiation. It measures
the penetration of ionizing radiation particles that enter a sealed
tube where the particles strike the gas creating an electrical im-
pulse between two electrodes connected to a suitable counting
device. If an amplifcation device is used, the electrical impulses
can be heard in the form of static. Te more modern instruments
have a digital readout.
Units of Radiation dose
Particulate radiation is measured by the number of disintegra-
tions per unit of time. A curie is equal to 3.710
per second. One millicurie is 0.001 curie, or 3.710
dps. One
rad is defned as the dose corresponding to the absorption of
JULY/AUGUST 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 5
100 ergs/gram of tissue. A roentgen measures ions carrying a
total of 2.5810
coulombs of electrical energy.
Since the term radiation is a general one, a more specific
method must be used to measure its efect on humans. Tat
measurement is called a dose. A dose is defned as the total
quantity of radiation absorbed by the body or any portion of the
body. Much of the time, the dose is modifed by reference to a
unit of time. Tis difers from radioactivity because all radiation
is not absorbed by the body.
A rad is a measure of the dose to body tissue in terms of energy
absorbed per unit mass. Gamma radiation is the most common
type of radiation measured.
Te most important measurement is the radiation equivalent to
man, or rem. A rem is the measure of ionizing radiation pass-
ing through or absorbed by the body in terms of the biological
efect relative to a dose of 1 roentgen of x-rays. Te relation of the
rem to other dose units depends upon the actual biological efect
to the particular part of the body being studied and the actual
conditions and amount of time of the irradiation. One rem is the
equivalent of 1 roentgen due to x or gamma radiation, and also
1 rad due to x, gamma, or beta radiation. One rem of high-fux
neutrons is roughly equivalent to 14 million neutrons per cm

incident to the body.
alloWable radiation levelS
Tere is no exact radiation level that is certain to cause any indi-
vidual permanent harm. Many scientists believe there is no level
below which radiation is harmless. Tere is a background level of
radiation that exists all over the world. Te most common source
is the sun, which produces what is called cosmic radiation. In
addition, there are many substances that emit radiation, such
as fy ash from burning organic fuels (particularly coal), granite,
and many other natural substances that contain trace isotopes
of elements. One of the most common of these trace elements is
carbon 14, used by scientists to date many materials.
Te Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is a governmental
body that has the responsibility for establishing criteria for the
feld of radioactivity. Tese criteria appear in the federal govern-
ments Code of Federal Regulations.
All personnel working at any site that has a possibility of exposure
to radiation are required to wear some type of exposure detec-
tion device that allows accurate determination of their actual
exposure. Te photographic badge is the most common device
and is used where sensitivity is required. A pen-shaped device
called a dosimeter is commonly used where there is less need
for accuracy. It is used where the instantaneous determination
of dose is necessary.
An unrestricted area is any area within a facility that is not spe-
cifcally controlled for the purpose of protecting any individual
from radiation or radioactive materials. A restricted area is
access controlled. Another term, environs, may also be used to
describe areas adjacent to a restricted or high-radiation area.
A high-radiation area is defned as any accessible area within a
facility that is capable of allowing the body to receive 100 millirem
(mrem) of radiation in a 1-hour period.
Te purpose of shielding is to reduce or eliminate radiation
emanating from any source within the facility. Te greater the
density, the more efective the material, so lead is universally
used for this purpose. Another commonly used material is con-
crete. In terms of shielding, 0.1576 in. of lead is the equivalent of
12 in. of concrete. Te basic philosophy is that concrete used as
a structural element of the building serves a second purpose as
a very good shielding material. It is up to the Radiological Safety
Ofcer (RSO), whose responsibilities we discuss later, to deter-
mine the type and placement of shielding to lower radiation in
specifc areas. Radiation travels in a straight line, therefore, if a
tank or a length of pipe has to be shielded, the proper manner is
to form a labyrinth, so that the shine from the tank cant escape
in a straight line.
Te materials most commonly used for shielding purposes are
concrete and sheet lead. Other materials that have proven efec-
tive include: (1) lead-lined concrete blocks, (2) lead-lined lath for
plaster, and (3) lead-lined panels and gypsum boards.
Two levels of barrier are set up to reduce radiation levels: primary
barriers, which are the frst line of defense, and secondary barri-
ers, which are used to eliminate leakage radiation and scattered
radiation where it may possibly exist.
radioactive materialS
Radioactive materials are used for the following fve general
1. Imaging sciences.
2. Diagnostic purposes.
3. Treatment purposes.
4. Industrial uses.
5. Research.
Almost all of the materials used are isotopes. An isotope is a
form of an element with a diferent (or excess) number of neutrons
in its nucleus. Because of this diference, the atom is unstable.
Isotopes are identifed by their atomic weight, which is the num-
ber of neutrons and protons in the nucleus.
Tere are a great number of isotopes in use today. Some of the
more common are:
1. Iodine 131 (8-day half-life).
2. Phosphorus 32.
3. Technetium 99 (6-hour half-life).
4. Calcium 45.
5. Carbon 14.
6. Strontium 90.
7. Radium 226.
Since radioactive materials of any given amount remain active
for diferent periods of time, it is not possible to predict when any
material will become completely stable. Te method used is to
determine when a specifc material loses one half of its radioac-
tivity. Tis is called its half-life.
SyStem deSign
the appRoval pRocess and application
Te use of any radioactive material requires the licensing of the
site for a specifc purpose, quantity, and amount of radioactive
6 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
ContinUing eDUCation: Drainage Systems
material. Application for this license is made to either the NRC
or a particular state. Tose states that have elected to adapt the
NRC regulations and provide their own staf for the purpose of
issuing and approving licenses are called agreement states. In
some cases, these states make additional regulations of their own.
Tose states that rely on the NRC to review and issue licenses
are non-agreement states. Te application is made to the ap-
propriate party.
Te duties of the Radiological Safety Ofcer (RSO) include admin-
istration, monitoring personnel exposure limits, and controlling
any release of radio nuclides to the sewer system. In addition, it is
the RSO who usually works with engineers in the design phase of
the facility to ensure that the piping runs and all other mechanical
work will result in a low exposure to people within the facility. For
the most part, this work is meant to ensure that facility personnel
do not exceed the maximum permissible radiation dose allowed
under the applicable codes for any particular type of radioactive
material present and that non-staf members are not subject to
unacceptable levels of radiation. Te RSO is also responsible for
the following:
1. Teaching facility staf of the potential dangers.
2. Keeping the necessary records for the facility.
3. Keeping inventory of material and records disposal.
4. Te concentration of materials at the facility.
5. Assisting engineers in the design of mechanical systems.
6. Designating areas within the facility to be restricted.
GeneRal desiGn cRiteRia and consideRations
Te prime consideration in the design of any facility is a con-
cept concerning the exposure of personnel to radiation called
ALARA, which is an acronym for as low as reasonably achiev-
able. Adherence to this concept requires that in the design of the
facility consideration must be given to every reasonable method
to limit the possible exposure of personnel inside the facility and
keep the presence of radioactivity in any unrestricted area to a
level that is as low as reasonably achievable. Te designer must
take into account the current state of technology, the economics
of further improvements in relation to benefts to the public health
and safety, and other socioeconomic considerations relating to
the utilization of radioactive material in the general public inter-
est. Te designer of the facility must also make a reasonable efort
to eliminate residual radiation. One of the overriding concepts is
the worst-case possibility, wherein the worst possible combina-
tion of circumstances is used to determine the possible level of
radiation and the amount of exposure during a period of time.
Tis concept should not be overused; a general rule is to have only
one accident at a time. As an example, a serious spill and a fre
would not be considered as likely to occur simultaneously.
Human or animal waste, even that contaminated with radioactiv-
ity, is exempt from all NRC regulations, requiring only compliance
with local codes as far as disposal, sizing, and all other criteria
applicable to standard drainage systems. Also many isotopes
are exempt from regulations regarding disposal into the public
Another requirement is that the liquid radwaste to be discharged
shall be diluted with the ordinary waste efuent from the rest of
the facility before being discharged to the public sewer system.
Tis usually requires that the radwaste piping frst be kept sepa-
rate from the rest of the facilitys efuent but then be combined
before leaving the building for discharge into a public sewer. A
method should be provided for the RSO to take a grab sample of
the radwaste stream if desired, such as a valved outlet from both
the radwaste line and the combined discharge.
Te pitch of the piping should be kept as steep as possible in order
to empty the pipe quickly and allow a scouring action to keep the
radioactive solids in suspension.
It is common practice to have high levels of radiation confned to
glove boxes or protected fume hoods. Te small amount of liquid
waste produced from this equipment would be stored in shielded
containers below the equipment and removed periodically. If
storage of larger quantities of low-level radwaste is required, the
radwaste is piped to a holding tank. A common holding time is
ten half-lives of the efuent. Usually, radwaste is stored for dis-
posal on the site, outside of a building and where easy transfer of
the radwaste is possible. Te removal must be done by licensed
waste-disposal contractors who remove the waste from the hold-
ing tank into a special truck, which transports the liquid waste
to a designated site suitable for disposal of low-level radwaste.
Te solid wastes, such as gloves, wipes, and the like, are stored in
special containers, which are removed to the disposal area with
the liquid radwaste.
Floor drains are normally not desired in laboratories. If there
is a spill of radioactive material, it is wiped up by hand using
absorbent material, and the solid containing the spill is put in a
special radwaste holding container within the lab. If, however, a
foor drain is to be installed, all the major manufacturers make
stainless steel drains. For testing purposes and to close of a drain
when it is not expected to be used, each drain should be supplied
with a closure plug. If there are areas that may have a spill, the
foor must be pitched to a foor drain. A generally accepted value
for the pitch of the foor is 1 in. per 20 ft. Te thickness of the slab
must be closely coordinated because the slab should be thinnest
at the drain and thicker at the ends of the area served to make up
the pitch. It is not practical to cast the slab evenly and add a top-
ping because there is a tendency for thin set topping to crack and
chip and create the possibility of a radioactive spill permeate the
top coating. It is necessary to indicate the top of drain elevation
at each drain since the slab depth is greater the longer the run to
the drain. Tis also makes it easier for the shop fabricator to make
up accurate pipe spools and foor drain extension collars.
Drains also require special treatment. Tey should also be manu-
factured of stainless steel. Tere will be diferent types of drains in
diferent areas, and they may be installed at diferent elevations.
Because of this and the probability that the piping will be made
in spools (preassembled sections of piping), it is a good idea to
number all the individual drains on the design drawings. A tag
next to each drain can be used to provide information regarding
type, number, and elevation.
Since fttings are a natural crud trap, avoid running piping in, un-
der, over, or adjacent to unrestricted areas in a facility. If this is not
possible, place the line where additional shielding can be added
either at the time of construction or after the start of actual use,
when the RSO may determine by survey that additional shielding
is necessary. Much of the time, the ability to take apart the joint
and fush out any crud is an advantage. Any of the popular joints
for no-hub or grooved pipe are acceptable, as well as glass pipe
if used in a laboratory for chemical resistance.
JULY/AUGUST 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 7
Be generous with cleanouts. Tey may be needed to fush out
the line to reduce spot high radiation rather than having to rod
it out.
pipe mateRial selection
Te pipe selected for the radioactive drainage system depends
upon the type of radiation and the level of radioactivity, which, in
turn, depends upon the amount and type of radioactive material
at the facility. In general, an ideal radwaste drainage pipe should
have the following properties:
1. It must be nonporous.
2. It must be easy to clean and decontaminate.
3. It should be acid resistant.
4. It should be nonoxidizing.
5. Te joints should not form crud traps.
6. Joint materials must not be afected by radiation exposure.
It is possible in very high radiation areas to have a pipe afected by
the radiation present. Te oxides of the pipe can become radioac-
tive or the pipe itself could be weakened. Another consideration
is the weakening of elastomeric seals or gaskets because of high
levels of radiation. For this reason, Tefon is never used where
anything more than a very low level of radiation is present. Other
materials should be investigated regarding suitability of use for
the levels anticipated.
All the commonly used materials (cast iron, ductile iron, copper,
steel, and glass) and the joints normally used to put the pipes
together fall far short of the ideal. However, they are all suitable
for low-level waste and the radioactive source materials found in
facilities with a low level of radiation. Plastic piping is not accept-
able for radwaste systems due to the possibility that the plastic
may be afected by the radiation. It is only when the radiation
levels of the waste materials reach the high radiation category
that they fail one or more of these conditions. As a result, stainless
steel with welded joints has emerged as the material of choice
for all industrial type waste products. Type 316L is the most
commonly used.
A welded joint is the only type of joint that meets the criteria for
not allowing a crud trap. Te orbital welding process is often used
since it produces the cleanest interior weld surface. Te proper
weld end preparation is critical to proper welding and must be
diagrammed or described in the specifcations.
Tere are two types of joint used for drainage pipe: butt welded
and socket welded. Butt welded is a term used to describe two
pipes placed end to end and joined with no overlapping. Socket
welded describes the joint that results when one pipe is placed
inside the other and only one end of the exposed pipe is actually
welded around the exterior of the pipe. Tis is like a coupling,
with only the joint on the outside of the pipe welded. In general,
only pipe 2 in. and less are socket welded. Pipe this small (2 in.
and under) is called small bore pipe.
Specifcations for, and approval of, the entire welding process
for both shop welding and feld welding are necessary. It is also
necessary to qualify welding personnel to ensure that they have
sufcient training and knowledge to produce a weld of the re-
quired quality called for in the specifcations. Qualifcations of
welding personnel are difcult to assess. High-temperature, high-
pressure pipe is covered by ASME codes that specify the selection
of successive welding type passes, fller metal composition, joint
preparation, movement and handling of the pipe, tack welding
and clamping, welding currents, metal deposit rates, and weld
inspection. None of these code requirements apply to welded,
non-pressure drainage pipe. If the engineer does not have the
knowledge to specify the minimum requirements for welders and
the welding process, it could be left to the contractor to determine
the correct specifcations for the project and recommend them
to the engineer for approval. When this is done, the contractor
establishes the minimum criteria that qualify any individual for
welding on this particular project. It is then up to the contractor
to test a welders ability to make sound welds under the actual
working conditions and using the same equipment expected to
be used on the job and to certify that person as qualifed. Tese
criteria should be reviewed by the engineer for acceptability. It
is common practice to use an outside, knowledgeable third party
for this review process.
Te defects in welded piping must be found and corrected. All of
them center around the fact that the weld does not actually create
a monolithic piece of pipe. Te faws are cracks or voids in the
joint. Te testing methods, which are of the nondestructive type
(NDT), are as follows:
1. Visual inspection of the weld.
2. Dye penetrate.
3. Magnetic testing.
4. Ultrasonic testing.
5. X-ray.
infeCtioUS anD bioLogiCaL-WaSte Drainage
Biological waste has the same basic characteristics as other
laboratory and production facility waste but with the addition
of biohazardous material. Biohazardous material consists of live
organisms that are suspended in the waste stream and, if not
contained, have the potential to cause infection, sickness, and
other very serious diseases. Tis waste is discharged by gravity
and under pressure from many sources, including:
1. Fermentation tanks and equipment.
2. Process centrifuges.
3. Sinks, both hand washing and process.
4. Containment-area foor drains.
5. Janitor closet drains.
6. Necropsy table drains.
7. Autoclave drains.
8. Contaminated condensate drains.
Containment is the method used to isolate and confne biohaz-
ardous material. Te facility equipment and design shall conform
to acceptable and appropriate containment practices based on
the hazard potential. A containment category is used to describe
an assembly of both primary and secondary preventive measures
that provide personnel, environmental, and experimental protec-
tion. Primary barriers are specifc pieces of equipment, such as
the biological safety cabinet (which is the biologists equivalent
of the chemists fume hood) and glove boxes. Secondary contain-
ment consists of features of the facility design that surround and
support the primary containment. Tese features are described
and classifed in publications of the National Institutes of Health
among other publications.
8 Plumbing Systems & Design JULY/AUGUST 2008 PSDMAGAZINE.ORG
ContinUing eDUCation: Drainage Systems
Te classifcations for biological containment in laboratories
comprise four biosafety levels, BL1 through BL4. Publications
describe the work practices, equipment, and BL selection criteria
based on the activity of a particular laboratory. If the laboratory
or production facility produces or uses greater than 10 L involving
viable organisms, the facility may be classifed as a large scale
(LS) biosafety level. Tis is noted as BL2 LS.
Manufacturing standards shall conform to good large scale pro-
duction (GLSP) standards. Te same standards apply to both
small and large-scale facilities.
Facility types of work are outlined later in this chapter in a very
abbreviated form.
CoDeS anD StanDarDS
Mandated guidelines and regulations include the following:
1. OSHA bloodborne pathogen regulations.
2. NIH guidelines for the use of recombinant microorganisms.
3. FDA cGMP regulations.
4. CDC/NIH guidelines for biosafety in microbiological and bio-
medical laboratories.
bioLogiCaL Safety LeVeLS
CDC/NIH guidelines for biosafety in microbiological and bio-
medical laboratories are summarized in the following laboratory
containment levels.
Biosafety Level 1 (BL1) containment. Tis classifcation is
the typical biological research facility classifcation for work
with low-hazard agents. Viable microorganisms not known
to cause disease in healthy adults are used at this level. Work
is done on an open bench and any hazard present can be
controlled by using standard laboratory practice. Standard fea-
tures consist of impervious and easily sanitized bench surfaces
separated from general ofces, animal rooms, and production
areas. Contaminated liquid and solid waste shall be treated to
remove biological hazards before disposal. Wastes containing
DNA materials or potentially infectious microorganisms shall
be decontaminated before disposal. Hand wash facilities are
required in each laboratory.
Biosafety Level 2 (BL2) containment. Construction of this
level facility is similar to that for a BL1 facility, except that the
microorganisms may pose some risk and safety cabinets are
often present. Equipment and work surfaces shall be wiped
down with a suitable disinfectant. Sinks shall be scrubbed
daily with a chlorine containing abrasive and fushed with a
suitable disinfectant. All liquid waste shall be immediately
decontaminated by mixing with a suitable disinfectant.
Nearly all laboratories operate under levels 1 or 2 containment.
At these levels, the facility is engaged in research, diagnostic,
or production activities thought to pose little or minimal risk to
Biosafety Level 3 (BL3) containment. Level 3 activity
involves organisms that pose a signifcant risk or represent a
potentially serious threat to health and safety. Biosafety cabi-
nets are required and all penetrations to outside the facility
must be sealed to prevent leakage. Tese seals must be capable
of being cleaned. Liquid waste is kept within the laboratory
or facility and steam sterilized prior to discharge or disposal.
Vacuum inlets must be protected by appropriate flters and/
or disinfectant traps. Laboratory animals require special hous-
ing or, if conventional housing is used, personnel must be
appropriately protected with full suits and respirators. A hand-
washing sink that is routed to sterilization shall be located
adjacent to the facility exit. Vents from plumbing fxtures must
be fltered.
Biosafety Level 4 (BL4) containment. Tis rarely used classi-
fcation is reserved for facilities whose activities require a very
high level of containment. Te organisms have a life-threaten-
ing potential and may initiate a serious epidemic disease. All of
the BL3 requirements apply. In addition, showers shall be pro-
vided for personnel at the airlock where clothes are changed
upon entry or exit. Breathing air is generated outside the BL
4 unit and provided directly to full protective suits. Nothing is
allowed outside the facility. A biowaste treatment system shall
be provided within the facility to sterilize liquid waste.
LiqUiD-WaSte DeContamination SyStem
A liquid-waste decontamination system (LWDS) collects and
sterilizes (decontaminates) liquid waste. Efuent containing
potentially hazardous biomatter is collected in a dedicated
drainage system generally discharging by gravity into a sump
below the foor level within the facility. From the sump, efuent
is pumped into a kill tank where the actual sterilization occurs.
A kill tank is a vessel into which steam or chemical disinfectant
can be injected to kill any organism. Te kill-tank system shall be
qualifed to the same biosafety level as the facility that it receives
its discharge from. Te kill-tank system must be a batch-process
system, since time, based on the process used, is needed to com-
plete the sterilization and decontamination.
SyStem componentS
In addition to piping, the system consists of the sump or tank to
receive contaminated discharge from the drains and equipment
of the facility, a pump to remove the contaminated efuent from
the sump and into the kill tank(s), and the kill tanks that will
decontaminate and sterilize the efuent to a point permitting
disposal into the same system as the sanitary waste from the
facility, generally into a public sanitary sewer.
sUmp pit
Te sump pit into which the efuent drains shall have a gasketed,
waterproof cover. Te controls are similar to those provided on a
plumbing sump pump and shall be capable of being chemically or
steam sterilized. Te sizing of the pit is done in conjunction with
the sizing of the pump so that the pump stays on for a minimum
of 1 min to avoid frequent starting. Other considerations, such
as having the pit contain one batch of product if necessary, may
be considered.
Kill-tanK assembly
Te kill-tank component has a duplex-tank arrangement, which
allows one batch to be decontaminated while the second tank is
flling. Te size of the tanks varies based on the individual facility,
but common practice is to have each tank capable of containing
one days efuent plus the chemicals used for decontamina-
tion. Another consideration is to have sufcient size to hold a
catastrophic spill. Tere is usually an agitator to mix the efuent
with the deactivation chemicals to accelerate the treatment pro-
cess. In addition to the kill tanks, tanks containing disinfectant
chemicals to be injected are required. A fully automatic control
system must be provided to ensure the timely addition of the
required chemicals in the correct amounts and for the required
JULY/AUGUST 2008 Plumbing Systems & Design 9
duration of deactivation of the biomatter. Alarms and status shall
be displayed on an appropriate panel located in a facility control
room or monitoring areas.
dRainaGe system and components
Te drainage system must be closed, which requires sealed foor
drains and valved connections to equipment when not in use,
since the ventilation system maintains a negative pressure within
the space. It is important that the trap on all foor drains have a
seal 2 in. deeper than the negative diference in air pressure.
Te traps of foor drains shall be flled with a disinfectant solution
when not being used to discharge waste to eliminate the possibil-
ity of spreading organisms between diferent areas served by the
same connected sections of the piping system.
Te drainage piping material is based on the expected composi-
tion of efuent chemicals and the sterilization method to be used.
If the local authorities determine that the biowaste is hazardous,
a double-contained piping system with leak detection may be
required. Stainless steel or PTFE pipe is usually chosen where
higher-temperature efuent may be discharged or steam ster-
ilization may be required. PVC, CPVC, polypropylene, or lined
Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) pipe could be used where efuent
temperatures are lower and where chemicals will provide the
method of sterilization.
If waste from pressurized equipment is discharged into a gravity
system, the system must be adequately sized to convey the fow
at the proposed fow rate with the gravity system pipe