Clay - The Permanent Solution

For information about purchasing pipe, please contact one of our member companies.

Qualifies for PDH Credits



The Member Companies of NCPI were the first manufacturers of infrastructure products to be certified under the third party audited system of MTS .  The Vitrified Clay Pipe manufacturers of NCPI have achieved GOLD certification under the SMaRT (Sustainable Material Rating Technology) system.


THE Longest-Lasting Material Available:  Environmentally Responsible and Cost Effective


Sustainability doesn't hinge on one characteristic or a small part of the products overall life cycle as some seem to think.  Claims of "sustainable manufacturing" only consider a limited window of the product's total environmental impact.  When the full impact of "cradle to grave" effects on the planet are considered, no sewer pipe product can meet the environmental standard set by vitrified clay pipe.


Cradle - The Raw Materials


Clay pipe products are made from various types of shale and clay, which are the natural decomposition product of stone.  It is an abundant, naturally occurring group of materials found all over the country. All we add is a little water.


Manufacture of the Product


Compression and heat are added to the raw materials to convert them into a chemically inert ceramic.  There is zero waste generated in the manufacture of clay pipe and total Embodied Energy has been shown to be roughly half that of the manufacture of other materials. 


Service Life


Of course, lifecycle and durability are a critically important component of the actual environmental, economic and social impact of any product.  This has always been one of the strongest arguments for specifying clay pipe.  Only clay pipe has a demonstrated performance history of more than four millennia on which it can be judged.


The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers assumes a one hundred year service life for VCP while the Canadian National Research Council/Institute for Construction Research estimates that service life at 132 years.  We believe these estimates are very conservative.  Terry Martin, Seattle Public Utilities, projected an expected service life of the clay pipe in his system at between 300 and 400 years in a paper presented at the ASCE Pipelines Conference in 2008.


Grave - End of Life Issues


Vitrified Clay Pipe is as close to permanent as any material can be for gravity sewer applications.  Due to the long life cycle for VCP, the fact that it is chemically inert and it does not change over time, there are no long-term disposal or decay concerns.


In the end, it's not easy being Sustainable.  Vitrified Clay Pipe is, and always has been, the most environmentally friendly and sustainable product available. We welcome your questions on our environmental credentials.  Contact us at or 262-742-2904.


For full transparency of all environmental claims made by VCP manufacturers, see the documentation here:


SMaRT Summary


SMaRT Brochure


SMaRT Score Card


SMaRT Certification


NCPI VCP Health Product Declaration (HPD)  (For more information about the Health Product Declaration Collaborative visit their website)




Find out more about professional certification and environmental standards created specifically for the Infrastructure professional by visiting the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.



NCPI National Office:

850 N. Wisconsin St.  Ste 102

Elkhorn, WI  53121


©  2021 National Clay Pipe Institute. All rights reserved

Information provided on this website is informational only and should not be substituted for the guidance of a qualified professional.