Impact of partial lead service line replacement

Doré E, Deshommes E, Laroche L, Nour S, Prévost M. Lead and copper release from full and partially replaced harvested lead service lines: Impact of stagnation time prior to sampling and water quality. Water Research 2018 Dec 3;150:380-391. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2018.11.076.

Partial lead service line replacement (PLSLR) results in the addition of a new galvanic connection and can increase lead concentrations at the tap. Focus has been given to minimizing lead release after PLSLR, but little information is available on the impact of lead remedial actions on copper concentrations, especially before passivation occurs. The impact of water quality (decreased chloride-to-sulfate mass ratio from 0.9 to 0.3; addition of orthoP; pH increase to 8.3) on lead and copper concentrations was investigated after stagnation (30 min-336 h) in a pipe rig comparing full lead service line (LSL), and two configurations of partial LSLs (Cu-Pb and Pb-Cu). Results show different trends for lead and copper: maximum lead concentrations were reached in 16 h while copper concentrations continued to increase over 336 h. Lead release rates were also the highest in the first 16 h of stagnation and were strongly impacted by water quality and the configuration of PLSLR (Cu-Pb vs Pb-Cu). Increasing the sampling flow rate from 5 to 15 LPM drastically increased the particulate lead release (78-fold) in Pb-Cu configurations; this effect was however not observed in 100% Pb or Cu-Pb configurations. High velocity flushing prior to 16 h stagnation decreased total Pb release by a factor of 12-fold for Cu-Pb, 1.6-fold for Pb-Cu and 2.0-fold for 100% Pb. Results support the definition of sampling protocols targeted for the detection of lead and copper sources and the proscription of flushing prior to sampling.

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