Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Corroding Plumbing Materials Producing Environmental Problems

Date:
July 12, 2002
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Many factors influence the quality of drinking water and a burgeoning new problem is raising concern. Metallic plumbing materials, capable of lasting for centuries, are occasionally corroding at a very fast rate. This deterioration is producing some extraordinary costs and environmental problems to consumers and to industry.

BLACKSBURG, Va., July 10, 2002 -- Many factors influence the quality of drinking water and a burgeoning new problem is raising concern. Metallic plumbing materials, capable of lasting for centuries, are occasionally corroding at a very fast rate. This deterioration is producing some extraordinary costs and environmental problems to consumers and to industry.

Related Articles


To address the resulting health concerns, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a group of researchers at Virginia Tech a first-of-its-kind grant under the new Biocomplexity in the Environment program. This comprehensive project aims to evaluate the costly impacts of corrosion on water quality, drinking water tastes and odors, and home plumbing.

"To my knowledge, no one has funded research to directly protect the consumer's interest in these important issues," says Marc Edwards, professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) at Virginia Tech. A nationally recognized expert on copper corrosion, Edwards has also received a Presidential Fellowship from the NSF for corrosion-based studies.

Members of the research team are: Andrea Dietrich, associate professor of CEE, G. V. Loganathan, associate professor of CEE, Susan Duncan, associate professor of food science and technology, Sharon Dwyer, health educator, and Daryl Bosch, professor of agriculture and applied economics.

Minimal progress has been made in understanding the chemical and biological factors contributing to corrosion of metal plumbing hardware. Diverse residential systems are particularly complicated to identify and restore. As a result, there is no rational basis for making decisions when problems are identified with potable infrastructures, Edwards says.

"At the forefront of concern for water utilities and consumers are the aesthetic qualities of water, such as taste, odor, and color. Aesthetic problems are the ones consumers notice and which create concern and fear about the potability of the water. Scientific and engineering issues associated with sensory perception and corrosion are complex and not easily unraveled. With this innovative NSF grant, our interdisciplinary team will advance the understanding of both water quality and consumer perception," says Dietrich, an expert who studies the causes of tastes and odors in drinking water.

The American Water Works Association (www.awwa.org ) estimates that it will cost U.S. water utilities $325 billion during the next 20 years to replace losses due to corrosion and the need to upgrade water distribution systems. Nationally, corrosion of metals is believed to consume four percent of the gross domestic product.

Serious health and aesthetic problems can occur from microbial growth or contaminant leaching from metallic, plastic, and concrete plumbing material. The environmental impacts from the deteriorated plumbing include holes in pipes formed through corrosion, which allow the influx of contaminants into drinking water systems, the loss of the water resource itself, and resultant property damage.

Researchers will focus on the economic, consumer, and biochemical dimensions of potable water infrastructure corrosion. The findings will especially be of interest to the Environmental Protection Agency, manufacturers of plumbing materials, and the potable water industry.

The NSF grant is part of its Biocomplexity in the Environment program housed in the agency's Materials Uses: Science, Engineering and Society Program. Phase I is a planning grant for $110,000. This year only planning grants were awarded but it is anticipated that future grants for related research will be for several million dollars. Also on Virginia Tech's cross-disciplinary team are the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Global Health Affairs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Water Works Association and its Research Foundation, and the Virginia Water Resource Research Institute, which is part of the Department of the Interior.

Researchers from Montana State University, the University at the Instituto de Nutricion y Tecnologia de los Alimentos in Chile, and Germany will also be involved.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Corroding Plumbing Materials Producing Environmental Problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020712074350.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2002, July 12). Corroding Plumbing Materials Producing Environmental Problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020712074350.htm
Virginia Tech. "Corroding Plumbing Materials Producing Environmental Problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020712074350.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins