Impact of water quality on corrosion of cast iron pipes

Hu J, Dong H, Xu Q, Ling W, Qu J, Qiang Z. Impacts of water quality on the corrosion of cast iron pipes for water distribution and proposed source water switch strategy. Water research. 2017 Oct 31;129:428-435. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.10.065.

Switch of source water may induce “red water” episodes. This study investigated the impacts of water quality on iron release, dissolved oxygen consumption (ΔDO), corrosion scale evolution and bacterial community succession in cast iron pipes used for drinking water distribution at pilot scale, and proposed a source water switch strategy accordingly. Three sets of old cast iron pipe section (named BP, SP and GP) were excavated on site and assembled in a test base, which had historically transported blended water, surface water and groundwater, respectively. Results indicate that an increasing Cl or SO42- concentration accelerated iron release, but alkalinity and calcium hardness exhibited an opposite tendency. Disinfectant shift from free chlorine to monochloramine slightly inhibited iron release, while the impact of peroxymonosulfate depended on the source water historically transported in the test pipes. The ΔDO was highly consistent with iron release in all three pipe systems. The mass ratio of magnetite to goethite in the corrosion scales of SP was higher than those of BP and GP and kept almost unchanged over the whole operation period. Siderite and calcite formation confirmed that an increasing alkalinity and hardness inhibited iron release. Iron-reducing bacteria decreased in the BP but increased in the SP and GP; meanwhile, sulfur-oxidizing, sulfate-reducing and iron oxidizing bacteria increased in all three pipe systems. To avoid the occurrence of “red water”, a source water switch strategy was proposed based on the difference between local and foreign water qualities.

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