Plumbing code variance

I have conflict to resolve. Following my basic environmental impact research on sewer pipes, I would prefer to use HDPE based materials. The Chicago plumbing code, on the other hand, calls for cast iron soil pipe (CISP).

What options do I have? Well, none – other than applying for a plumbing code variance on environmental grounds.

My chances? Probably very slim. I hear through the grape vine that some forces in the Department of Water Management would like to update the plumbing code so that it better reflects sustainable building technologies. Others apparently don’t want any of it. Well, I guess it doesn’t hurt asking for a variance.

I wrote up my rationales on material performance, longevity and environmental footprint, included the carbon footprint calculations and sent it off to the Department of Water Management.

The Result? My variance request was denied. So far I have not received any reasons as to why, and I don’t know if I ever will. At least I tried.

The replacement sewers that will be installed under the basement slab will now be CISP. I decided to stop worrying about it. It may not be the perfect material, but I have been assured from many sides that it should outlive us. This is somewhat reassuring. But what about the next generation? Don’t they deserve some consideration?

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.