Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) piping were produced experimentally in the 19th century, hit the US in the 1950’s, and is most commonly used in today's sewer systems. While PVC or ABS pipe can last for decades, the thin-walled pipe can be damaged by inadequate bedding/fill or ground settling and heavy root growth. Once a section of plastic pipe is damaged, the other connections may deteriorate over time or roots will damage another section of the line. This type of piping can last a long time if it is a quality pipe and the installation was done properly. Thinner-walled pipe flexes and is more susceptible to premature problems.
Most large cities today pipe solid wastes to sewage treatment plants in order to separate and partially purify the water, before emptying into streams or other bodies of water. For potable water use, galvanized iron piping was commonplace in the United States from the late 1800s until around 1960. After that period, copper piping took over, first soft copper with flared fittings, then with rigid copper tubing utilizing soldered fittings.