Impact of an Epoxy Pipe Lining Material on Distribution System Water Quality
Corrosion of iron and copper pipes can produce leaks and loss of efficiency in the water distribution system, elevate levels of contaminants at the tap, and cost billions of dollars annually in pipe replacement or rehabilitation. In situ pipe rehabilitation using cement mortar, polyurethane, and epoxy is a commonly employed method of dealing with aging yet structurally sound pipes because it is less expensive and less invasive than replacing pipe infrastructure. Although epoxy has been shown to be an effective solution to pipe corrosion, little research has been conducted regarding its impact on a comprehensive list of water quality parameters. This research addressed that gap in the literature by conducting short-term immersion tests in which new epoxy linings were exposed to reference tap waters containing one of three disinfectant treatments: no disinfectant, free chlorine, or chloramines. As a comparison, an aged epoxy-lined field sample was also tested. Water exposed to the liners under stagnant conditions was analyzed for the following water quality parameters: pH, ammonia, alkalinity, hardness, metals, disinfectant consumption, total organic carbon (TOC), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), disinfectant byproduct (DBP) formation, and odor. Results of the study showed relatively low impacts on water quality, as all USEPA drinking water regulations were met. Impacts were highest during the first 24 hour exposure period during which time significant disinfectant consumption was shown (> 90% free chlorine consumed, 13% chloramines consumed), high TOC was leached (2.6-6.2 mg/L), trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids were formed (both < 15 ug/L), Bisphenol-A, an endocrine disrupter, was detected (< 35 ug/L), and odor was reported by panelists at a moderate intensity and described as sweet/chemical/burning/chlorinous. Impacts were much less after the initial 24 hours, although odor remained noticeable throughout the 30 day study. Overall, water quality impacts were greatest in chlorinated waters and both new and aged epoxy showed slight differences in results.