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Expanded Summary -- Control of New Copper Corrosion in High-Alkalinity Drinking Water

  • Author(s): Grace, Stephen; Lytle, Darren A.; Goltz, Mark N.
  • Publications: Journal - American Water Works Association
  • Issue Date: January 2012
  • Volume / Number: 104, Number 1
  • Page(s): 39-40
  • DOI:
  • Product Number: JAW_0076858
Full Text: pdf

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Research and field experience have shown that high-alkalinity waters can be associated with elevated copper levels in drinking water. The objective of this study was to document the application of orthophosphate (PO4) to the distribution system of a building with a copper problem associated with high-alkalinity source water. The alkalinity and pH of the water were 273 mg/L calcium carbonate and 7.4, respectively, and copper levels at taps ranged from 1.4 to 2.4 mg/L. Experimental bench-scale jar tests proved to be useful for establishing an appropriate orthophosphate dose. A simple chemical feed system delivered orthophosphate to the building at a dose of approximately 3 mg/L PO4. Within several weeks, copper levels throughout the building dropped below the Lead and Copper Rule copper action level of 1.3 mg/L. Orthophosphate levels remained consistent across the building and did not change during stagnation. The addition of orthophosphate also increased the chlorine residuals of flushed water samples.

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