Corrosion, corrosion inhibitor, reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, drinking water, drinking water distribution system, langelier saturation index, anion exchange


The integration of advanced technologies into existing water treatment facilities (WTFs) can improve and enhance water quality; however, these same modifications or improvements may adversely affect finished water provided to the consumer by public water systems (PWSs) that embrace these advanced technologies. Process modification or improvements may unintentionally impact compliance with the provisions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA’s) Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This is especially true with respect to corrosion control, since minor changes in water quality can affect metal release. Changes in metal release can have a direct impact on a water purveyor’s compliance with the SDWA’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). In 2010, the Town of Jupiter (Town) decommissioned its ageing lime softening (LS) plant and integrated a nanofiltration (NF) plant into their WTF. The removal of the LS process subsequently decreased the pH in the existing reverse osmosis (RO) clearwell, leaving only RO permeate and anion exchange (AX) effluent to blend. The Town believed that the RO-AX blend was corrosive in nature and that blending with NF permeate would alleviate their concern. Consequently, a portion of the NF permeate stream was to be split between the existing RO-AX clearwell and a newly constructed NF primary clearwell. The Town requested that the University of Central Florida (UCF) conduct research evaluating how to mitigate negative impacts that may result from changing water quality, should the Town place its AX into ready-reserve. iv The research presented in this document was focused on the evaluation of corrosion control alternatives for the Town, and was segmented into two major components: 1. The first component of the research studied internal corrosion within the existing RO clearwell and appurtenances of the Town’s WTF, should the Town place the AX process on standby. Research related to WTF in-plant corrosion control focused on blending NF and RO permeate, forming a new intermediate blend, and pH-adjusting the resulting mixture to reduce corrosion in the RO clearwell. 2. The second component was implemented with respect to the Town’s potable water distribution system. The distribution system corrosion control research evaluated various phosphate-based corrosion inhibitors to determine their effectiveness in reducing mild steel, lead and copper release in order to maintain the Town’s continual compliance with the LCR. The primary objective of the in-plant corrosion control research was to determine the appropriate ratio of RO to NF permeate and the pH necessary to reduce corrosion in the RO clearwell. In this research, the Langelier saturation index (LSI) was the corrosion index used to evaluate the stability of RO:NF blends. Results indicated that a pH-adjusted blend consisting of 70% RO and 30% NF permeate at 8.8-8.9 pH units would produce an LSI of +0.1, theoretically protecting the RO clearwell from corrosion. The primary objective of the distribution system corrosion control component of the research was to identify a corrosion control inhibitor that would further reduce lead and v copper metal release observed in the Town’s distribution system to below their respective action limits (ALs) as defined in the LCR. Six alternative inhibitors composed of various orthophosphate and polyphosphate (ortho:poly) ratios were evaluated sequentially using a corrosion control test apparatus. The apparatus was designed to house mild steel, lead and copper coupons used for weight loss analysis, as well as mild steel, lead solder and copper electrodes used for linear polarization analysis. One side of the apparatus, referred to as the “control condition,” was fed potable water that did not contain the corrosion inhibitor, while the other side of the corrosion apparatus, termed the “test condition,” was fed potable water that had been dosed with a corrosion inhibitor. Corrosion rate measurements were taken twice per weekday, and water quality was measured twice per week. Inhibitor evaluations were conducted over a span of 55 to 56 days, varying with each inhibitor. Coupons and electrodes were pre-corroded to simulate existing distribution system conditions. Water flow to the apparatus was controlled with an on/off timer to represent variations in the system and homes. Inhibitor comparisons were made based on their effectiveness at reducing lead and copper release after chemical addition. Based on the results obtained from the assessment of corrosion inhibitors for distribution system corrosion control, it appears that Inhibitors 1 and 3 were more successful in reducing lead corrosion rates, and each of these inhibitors reduced copper corrosion rates. Also, it is recommended that consideration be given to use of a redundant single-loop duplicate test apparatus in lieu of a double rack corrosion control test apparatus in experiments where pre-corrosion phases are vi implemented. This recommendation is offered because statistically, the control versus test double loop may not provide relevance in data analysis. The use of the Wilcoxon signed ranks test comparing the initial pre-corroding phase to the inhibitor effectiveness phase has proven to be a more useful analytical method for corrosion studies.


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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

December 2013

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


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