May 27, 2009


by Bob Murphy

Corrosion is one of the primary factors causing deterioration of water and wastewater facilities.  From municipal water treatment plants to industrial waste treatment, corrosion is at work breaking down concrete and steel surfaces in clarifiers, piping, storage tanks and containment systems.

Exposure conditions in wastewater facilities have become more severe. In particular, hydrogen sulfide gas and sulfuric acid concentrations have increased. Municipalities have reduced operating costs by constructing larger, more regional facilities. This has resulted in the transportation of wastewater over longer distances. These longer travel distances result in longer detention time for sewage increasing its septic components. It is not uncommon to measure hydrogen sulfide levels as high as several hundred parts per million. This trend toward higher hydrogen sulfide levels has lead to much higher corrosion rates in domestic treatment plants.

Knowing what and where to look for degraded areas in a waste treatment facility can be a daunting task. One must not only determine the area and extent of the degradation. The cause of the degradation must be identified so that the correct solution may be developed.

Owners, engineers, contractors and coating suppliers should work as a team to aid in the development of solutions to corrosion. This “Team” approach draws on the strength of each team member to develop and coatings program that can addressed both current and future needs of the owner.

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