Van Leeuwen
The path traveled by drinking water before it reaches our tap

The path traveled by drinking water before it reaches our tap

We all grew up in an era where all we had to do is open up a tap to get a drink of water. But did you ever ask yourself what all goes into making sure you can get safe drinking water from your tap? Steel pipes like ours play an important role in the drinking water supply. When you consider that drinking water is distributed by pipelines, you can well imagine what this all involves. Before a pipeline can be built, a fairly specific and often lengthy process, invisible to most people, must first be completed. In this blog, specialists Cindy Euser and Kevin Kooijmans are happy to tell you more about this.

Cindy Euser has worked for Van Leeuwen since 1995. She was involved in the procurement of pipes from the very beginning. She often forms part of specially composed teams responsible for carrying out projects for water supply companies. Kevin Kooijmans joined Van Leeuwen as a result of the acquisition of Ferrostaal Piping Supply by Van Leeuwen in 2018 and is Account Manager. He has been working in the world of pipes for 12 years and specializes in the pipeline segment.

To acquire a water supply pipeline project requires much time, knowledge and experience

Acquiring a water supply pipeline project often is a lengthy process. Drinking water companies are part of the public sector. Projects of this nature generally come with an extensive program of requirements. Topics such as the environment, safety and certification play an important role in this regard. We extensively consult the customer about this in the preliminary preparation phase and prepare various plans and proposals. Due to our experience and knowledge, we are virtually always able to meet all requirements. We achieve the desired environmental objectives and energy savings through, for example, an ingenious logistics plan with the least possible transport movements between the various parties and locations. The use of trains or the far less polluting Euro 6 trucks make a significant contribution to this.

Global procurement network is indispensable

Different capacities come into play during the project’s implementation phase. Of course, supplying the right pipes is of the utmost importance. As a pipe and tube specialist with almost 100 years of experience, we are obviously very good at this. Water supply pipeline projects always require large quantities of pipes that must meet specific requirements. Often occurring standards include EN 10224 and ISO 3183, with L245 or L355 material grade properties. Due to the varying requirements, the pipes must always be ordered separately. We use our global procurement network to find the best mill(s) for each project. Not only the required specifications and other material requirements play a role in this regard, but also the required delivery time.

Pipelines for water must virtually always be coated. We have a network of excellent suppliers for this as well. Depending on the installation of the water supply pipeline (above or below ground), the outside of the pipe is protected by, for example, polypropylene, polyethylene or fusion-bonded epoxy. The inside of the pipes should be coated too, in case of water supply pipes often with cement.

Logistics service provider

Project management and managing the supply chain play a very important role in a project’s implementation phase. This is where our experience as a logistics service provider comes into play. The materials for large water supply pipelines are never delivered to the project site all at once. The customer is constantly consulted about scheduling the partial deliveries. The scheduling regularly changes during these projects. This requires effective project management on our side and constant interaction with all involved parties. Flexibility and teamwork are key words in this regard!

The relationship with suppliers is very important

So, what are some of the changes that can occur during the course of a project? We often experience that more pipes than initially ordered are required at short notice. It also frequently happens that the pipes that are manufactured must be stored temporarily, while this was not part of the original plan.

When you have a good relationship with your suppliers, you can always find a solution together. Van Leeuwen often arranges for temporary storage locations on its own or in cooperation with suppliers. For example, we recently stored a large quantity of coated pipes with a diameter of 2.1 meter at our own site in Zwijndrecht. We specially prepared a part our outside stockyard with sand ridges to do this safely. We created a short video for this special project, please click here if you are interested!


A pipeline project involves a great deal of communication. To make sure communication is clear and to the point, Van Leeuwen always designates a single central point of contact for the customer. This person ensures that all of the customer’s information is shared with the project team and that this is followed up with the right actions. The customer is regularly informed of these actions. Through effectively streamlined communication, we as much as possible avoid any delays during a project and therefore avoid unnecessary costs for the customer.

In short, our tap water has to go through an elaborate process before it comes out of our tap. Cindy and Kevin are proud of the fact that on the basis of their knowledge and experience, they are able to contribute to this process. 

If you would like more information about Van Leeuwen or if you have any questions about our products and services in the water supply pipeline segment, please contact us.




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