Table of Contents
What is Water Corrosion and How to Prevent Health Risks?
Water corrosivity is a condition water takes that causes it to dissolve metals at an excessive rate. All water is corrosive to some extent, but higher temperatures, lower pH values, and lower alkalinity are primary factors that make water highly corrosive.
How Does Water Corrosion Occur?
Water corrosion occurs when the water pipe’s surface begins to deteriorate. Deterioration eventually happens in most pipework systems, but there are ways of slowing deterioration and preventing water corrosion. The most common form of corrosion is iron oxide which is produced when water and iron react to form rusted metal. </p?
Problems that Arise from Corrosive Water
Corrosion within pipes and water systems inevitably leads to metal toxicity as metallic particles from the deterioration of the pipes enter the water supply and ultimately cause a variety of issues.
Not only does water corrosion damage plumbing systems over time, but it also contributes to poor water aesthetics. If you’ve ever had water that tasted metallic-y or bitter, it was likely due to higher levels of copper or iron dissolved within the water due to water corrosion.
Corrosive water, in and of itself, is not a health concern, but the primary health concern is that of the corrosive water dissolving metals from the plumbing system into our homes and water supply. Consuming excessive amounts of these metals can lead to copper toxicity or iron overload, both of which pose serious health risks, such as damage to joints and crucial major organs.
How Should We Mitigate Health Risks from Potential Water Corrosion?
Mitigating these major health concerns associated with water corrosion begins before the installation of water systems. A thorough cleaning of the pipework before it is installed removes debris and extends the lifetime of the system. In addition to cleaning before installation, a few other things can be done to reduce the risk of water corrosion.
- Adjusting alkalinity by means of filtering and adding safe chemicals to the water supply helps to prevent water corrosion, although it results in harder water.
- Adding chlorine to the water supply reduces microbiological contaminations and is effective in preventing water corrosion.
- Phosphates can be added to a water supply to prevent corrosion as they act as an inhibitor by forming an insoluble protective mineral scale layer on the inside of the pipes within the water delivery system.
How You Can Tell if Your Water is Corrosive
There are a few telltale signs that your water is corrosive, and catching these early on can help you eliminate the health risks that come with corrosive water. If you have copper plumbing and notice a buildup of bluish-green stain or orange-brown stain on sinks, showers, or below a leaky faucet, your water is highly corrosive. A blue-green color indicates a high presence of copper oxide, and an orange-brown color indicates a high presence of iron oxide, both of which can contribute to several of the health risks mentioned previously.
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