Corrosion, corrosion control, corrosion inhibitor, membranes, reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, linear polarization resistance


The research reported herein describes the study activities performed by University of Central Florida (UCF) on behalf of the Town of Jupiter Water Utilities (Town). The Town recently changed its water treatment operations from a combination of reverse osmosis (RO), lime softening (LS) and anion-exchange (IX) to a combination of RO, IX and nanofiltration (NF). Although this treatment change provided enhanced water to the surrounding community in terms of better contaminant removal and reduced DBP formation potential, integration of the NF process altered finished water quality parameters including pH, alkalinity and hardness. There was concern that these changes could result in secondary impacts related to accelerated corrosion of distribution system components and subsequent regulatory compliance. In addition, replacement of the LS process altered the in-plant blending operations by creating an unstable intermediate blend composed of RO and IX waters. There were concerns that this intermediate blend was affecting the integrity of in-plant hydraulic conveyance components. UCF developed a corrosion monitoring study to assess the potential impacts related to internal corrosion, water quality and regulatory compliance after integrating NF into the existing water supply. The intended purpose was to further highlight the complexities of corrosion, describe a unique approach to corrosion monitoring as well as offer various recommendations for corrosion control in a system that relies on a blended water supply. Research was conducted in three phases to address the in-plant and distribution system corrosion issues separately and identify appropriate corrosion control treatment alternatives. The three test phases included: a baseline conditions assessment to iv compare corrosion of the intermediate RO-IX blend with the finished water blend (ROIX-NF); an in-plant corrosion control evaluation; and a distribution system corrosion control evaluation. A test apparatus was constructed and operated at the Town’s facilities to monitor corrosion activity of mild steel, copper and lead solder metal components. The test apparatus consisted of looped PVC pipe segments housed with electrochemical probes and metal coupons to monitor corrosion rates of the metallic components. Electrochemical probes containing metal electrodes were used to obtain instantaneous corrosion rates by means of the Linear Polarization Resistance (LPR) technique while the metal coupons were gravimetrically evaluated for weight loss. The electrochemical probes permitted daily monitoring of each metal’s corrosion rates while metal coupons were analyzed at the conclusion of testing and used for comparison. Different test waters flowed through the corrosion rack according to each test phase and relative corrosion rates were compared to evaluate corrosion control techniques. Study findings indicated that the intermediate blend was more corrosive, in general, then the final blend; however, research also indicated that the final blend of water was increasing lead and copper concentrations within the distribution system. An orthophosphate corrosion inhibitor was evaluated for in-plant corrosion control. The inhibitor’s performance was assessed by comparing mild steel corrosion rates with and without the chemical. In addition, secondary impacts related to introduction of the chemical were evaluated by pre-corroding the metallic components prior to the introduction of the inhibitor. Results indicated that the inhibitor marginally decreased corrosion rates and increased the turbidity of the water supply. Based on these v observations, it was concluded that the inhibitor was not a viable solution for in-plant corrosion control. To resolve in-plant corrosion issues, recommendations were made for modification of in-plant blending operations to eliminate the corrosive intermediate blend from the process allowing the RO, IX and NF treated waters to be blended in a common location. The effectiveness of a poly/ortho blended phosphate chemical inhibitor was evaluated for reducing lead and copper corrosion to resolve distribution corrosion issues. A 50/50 poly/ortho blend was selected because of its analogous use in similar municipal water facilities. Metallic corrosion rates, particularly lead and copper, were compared with and without the inhibitor to assess the performance of the chemical. Like the previous test phase, the metallic components were pre-corroded prior to the chemical’s introduction to determine if secondary impacts could result from its presence. Results indicated that lead and copper corrosion rates were lower in the presence of the inhibitor, and secondary impacts related to increased turbidity were not observed for this chemical. Based on these results, it was recommended that a poly/ortho blended phosphate be used to decrease lead and copper corrosion within the Town’s distribution system.


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Graduation Date





Duranceau, Steven


Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (M.S.Env.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering








Release Date

August 2012

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic