blended ortho-phosphates, water distribution, reversion, poly-phosphates, pipe material, water quality


Orthophosphates and polyphosphates are rarely present at significant levels in raw water source but are purposefully added to the water in various forms to inhibit corrosion, iron oxidation (red water), or calcium carbonate precipitation (scale formation). Orthophosphates serve as building blocks for polyphosphates, which includes structures in linear chain, branched chains (metaphosphate) and "glassy" polyphosphate polymers. The advantage of polyphosphates over ortho phosphates lies in the fact that they slowly revert to orthophosphates and thus provide corrosion inhibition action over longer period of time in distribution systems. A study was completed for Tampa Bay Water on water distribution systems in a changing water quality environment. Blended orthophosphates was used as one of the corrosion inhibitors to study its effects on metal release and thus justify its application in comparison to other corrosion inhibitors like orthophosphates, zinc orthophosphates and silicates. This work focuses on the study of reversion of polyphosphates to ortho phosphates. A first-order model was developed that quantifies reversion as a function of the hydraulic residence time and initial poly phosphate concentration. The same model was used in two different forms - one for the hybrid lines and the other for single material lines. The results from single material lines (estimated by a non linear least square regression using ANOVA) showed that the reversion rate was highest for galvanized pipe followed by unlined cast iron, lined cast iron and the lowest rate in PVC. The first-order reversion rate constant in PVC was almost two log orders less than galvanized line. A high first-order rate constant for the galvanized pipe could be attributed to a rougher surface, large surface area, reaction with the wall surface, pipe material or a combination of these effects. The results from the hybrid PDSs (estimated by an algebraic manipulation of the first-order reaction) substantially agree with the results obtained from the single material lines, with the exception of the PVC material. The data from the hybrid lines confirms that the reversion rate constant is greatest for exposure to galvanized pipe materials, but the hybrid data indicate that the rate constant associated with PVC is somewhat larger than the constants determined for either LCI or UCI. Once an overall first-order rate expression was established, efforts were made to find a relation between polyphosphate reversions with bulk water quality. None of the major water quality parameters were found to significantly affect the reversion. This observation may be attributable to a similar water quality over the study duration. A positive correlation was found between first-order reversion rate constant and temperature. An empirical equation (modified Arrhenius equation) that relates the first-order reversion rate constant with temperature was developed that showed a strong sensitivity to temperature. The results from this study could be used to predict the stability of polyphosphates in distribution systems with varying pipe materials and temperature.


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Graduation Date





Taylor, James S.


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)