ABS DRAIN / WASTE PIPES
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ABS pipe is rigid black plastic pipe used to drain sinks, tubs, showers, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Six class action complaints have been coordinated before the Honorable Mark B. Simons, Contra Costa County Superior Court, State of California, and allege that ABS pipe manufactured at certain times between 1984 and 1990 by Polaris Pipe Co. ("Polaris"), Gable Plastics, Inc. ("Gable"), Centaur Mfg., Inc. ("Centaur"), Centaur Marketing, Inc. a/k/a Phoenix Extrusion Co. ("Phoenix"), and Apache Plastics, Inc. ("Apache") is defective and may leak. The overwhelming majority of the allegedly defective ABS pipe at issue is located in the State of California. All defendants in this action deny all liability and deny that the ABS pipe at issue is defective. The Court has not yet ruled, one way or the other, on the correctness of plaintiffs' claims. In addition, the fact that your residence or building has ABS pipe manufactured by one or more of the defendant manufacturers does not mean that your residence or building has the allegedly defective ABS pipe at issue.
What is ABS pipe?
ABS pipe is black rigid, non-pressurized plastic pipe used to drain your sinks, tubs, showers, toilet and washing machines. It is also used to vent the drain and waste pipes.
What is qualifying ABS pipe?
Qualifying ABS Pipe is pipe that:
1. Has cracked circumferentially adjacent to a joint or "fitting";
2. Has leaked; and
3. Was manufactured by one of the five defendant ABS pipe manufacturers during the relevant time frame.
There are five manufacturers of ABS pipe that for discrete periods of time between 1984 and 1990 that produced ABS pipe that allegedly may crack circumferentially at the joint. Those manufacturers and time periods are:
- Centaur: January 1985 through September 1985
- Phoenix: November 1985 through September 1986
- Gable: Periodically between November 1984 and December 1990
- Polaris: Periodically between January 1984 and December 1990
- Apache: Periodically between November 1984 and December 1990
ABS pipe is marked on the outside wall of the pipe. The markings include the name of the manufacturer, references to code specifications and a date code. The date code, when translated, reveals the date the pipe was manufactured. Here are examples of how the pipe is marked:
Notice that the crack is adjacent to the joint and runs circumferentially around the pipe.
To help you ascertain if you have the defective ABS pipe, please review the above diagram.
How to locate and examine ABS pipe:
- Attic inspection: The most accessible point to examine ABS pipe is usually the attic, where it serves as vents for kitchens, bathrooms and/or other sinks. The pipe can be horizontal or vertical. The vertical sections usually exit through the roof.
- Under sinks: The section of pipe coming out of the wall and connecting to the sink trap may be ABS. If the pipe is threaded or looks molded, then it is not ABS pipe.
- Crawl space: If your house has a raised foundation (has a crawl space under it), then pipe may be identified by looking underneath the house. This will usually give access to large amounts of pipe.
- Cleanout: If your residence has exterior cleanout, the name can sometimes be located at this point.
These are the easiest locations to inspect. Write down all markings on the pipe. ABS pipe comes in different diameters and is joined together by a variety of fittings. The configuration of the fittings, which come in all different shapes and sizes, is not relevant. ABS pipe is always black.
More tips for identifying qualifying ABS pipe:
- Determine when your house was built.
- ABS pipe is black rigid, non-pressurized plastic pipe. If your pipe is flexible or made of metal, such as copper, iron or galvanized steel, or carries pressurized water, it is not ABS pipe.
- Qualifying ABS pipe was first manufactured in 1984. If your plumbing is older than 1984, it cannot have the qualifying ABS pipe.
- Remember: Not all pipe manufactured by the defendant manufacturers during the period will crack and result in leaks. You may have pipe manufactured by one or more of the defendants that will not leak.
Examples of ABS Pipe and Fittings
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Swickard Group, LLC