Ductile iron pipes with cement mortar linings and concrete pipes are used with satisfaction for the transport and distribution of drinking water. The cement-based materials involved in these pipes are very well accepted, being considered as “traditional” and well proven for this application. An interaction with water however exists and two types of questions can be raised: the durability of the material over long periods (more than 50 years) and the preservation of water quality. These two aspects have been deeply investigated in the last 10 years by several European laboratories co-operating with organizations like CEN (European Standardization Committee), CEOCOR, AGHTM, etc. This paper gives an overview of the work which has been done focusing especially on a survey of the behaviour of mortars, made from different type of cements, exposed for more that 15 years to a very soft acidic water the models for calculating the calco-carbonic equilibrium and the main results of a European co-normative research programme carried out to provide information to allow the development of test methods to assess the migration of mineral and organic substances from cement-based materials in contact with drinking water.

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